Parc St-Drapeau, Montreal’s island park, was transformed over the weekend to a six stage mecca for music lovers. People from all over Montreal, Canada, the US and other tourists flocked to Quebec’s biggest city for the three day OSHEAGA 2015 Festival de Musique et Arts. This year marked the 10th Anniversary celebration of the festival. I headed there on Sunday for the closing day and night. By the looks of the crowd, it would appear that the site was at its attendance capacity of 40,000 people. A mostly friendly throng, the festival’s audience eminated a energetic, exuberant and passionate vibe.
It was a humid, hot day and a balmy night but the rain kept at bay. Whilst it was pretty crowded in the general admission area and there were long lineups at water stations, food and drink stalls and at ‘portaloos’, the music more than made up for it. There were a lot of happy people and many smiling faces in the crowd. Having a GOLD pass meant I could retreat to a private area where it was easiest to get a drink, go to the toilet, put down my bag and make new friends. For this reason, it will be GOLD all the way for me from now on. Throughout the festival site, ATM’s were readily available, helping you to spend more money and Virgin Mobile charging stations helped you out when you needed to charge your phone.
One of Canada’s idiosyncrasies is the amount of people, especially the young, who have tattoos. It’s considered trendy and hipster and it’s not uncommon to see ‘sleeves’ and a range of bodyart many times a day. If you can imagine it, it exists. The country’s fettish with tattoos is clearly evident by the line-up at the #DIESELTATTOO stand at the festival. The ink-loving demographic lined up to show their tattoo for a chance to win DIESEL fragrances. A clever, but questionable, PR stunt?
Quieter places around the festival were the chill out WI-FI zones in the shade, handy places to check in online in a chair or hammock, the Expo Musique Sur Papier and the Scene Des Arbes. The H&M Store was a popular destination, as was Scene Picnik Electronik, which was true to theme and going strong, hard and happy from early afternoon.
A touching moment occurred during the performance of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, when a disabled man in his wheelchair was crowd surfed to the front of the crowd. After being brought up onto the stage, Edward Sharpe dedicated the rest of the song to the man. There were tears in the crowd and it brought the set to a climatic emotional high. It was a great end to the night with The Black Keys, who brought the event to a successful close with classics such as Lonely Boy (who could forget the music clip) and Gold on the Ceiling.
The crowd dissapated on friendly, organised terms and the metro system and staff did a good job of clearing most the mass of the waiting visitors out of the station within 45 minutes of closing. All that was left were the tractors, production crew zipping around on golf buggies, the stages ready for dismantling, the clean up crew and tonnes upon tonnes of cups, cans, bottles (which I was assured would be recycled), food scraps and the odd random personal item. With them, the festival goers took away some really priceless memories and no doubt some dirty shoes.
The festival is in the calendar for next year!
Links for further info:
Surviving OSHEGA (for next year’s planning)