Osheaga: A music festival for QL
Unlike our globetrotting peers at the Castle, I spent this summer working at home. It was a wicked experience, though the FOMO-inducing social media updates from Europe left something to be desired.
So at the start of August I decided to go on my own adventure: I went to Osheaga in Montreal.
I had a great experience for the short time that I was there, and I would recommend it to anyone at Queen’s. Osheaga offers the kind of diversity that is reflected in QL students. Culturally, we share a hodgepodge of interests and tastes, and we are always willing to learn. Last school year, I recall a free-flow of music recommendations traded amongst peers, which helped solidify ties and inform our collective identity.
The festival breaks the standard mould by bringing in a variety of A-list acts from different genres. The eclectic mix of rap, EDM and alternative music is a big selling point in and of itself. Another benefit from the diverse music is the type of crowd Osheaga attracts.
The typical audience member is an open-minded person in their mid-twenties. I noticed a number of different sub-cultures, and I was impressed by the respect and positivity people showed to one another. While walking from stage to stage in droves, personal space was nonexistent. Yet the crowds seemed to make the most of it.
I found that strangers would discuss the performances and welcome deeper conversation. It seemed like we were a part of a transitory community. This was a nice change from single genre festivals like VELD or OVO where the crowd is generally more homogenous and the experience, while certainly exciting, turns out to be less communal in nature.
How were the acts? Sadly, I was only there on Saturday, so I can’t speak of the big hitters that performed on Friday and Sunday—but that doesn’t mean I left Osheaga disappointed.
In a nutshell, Milky Chance put on an impressive show in the blazing-hot midday sun. Nas was a bit disappointing in my opinion; he lacked the energy and stamina I expected of him. To be fair, it was pouring buckets during his set. Kygo was unbelievable; he brought out a stellar mix punctuated by the visual effects EDM is famous for. Kendrick Lamar was by far the best. He ran through many crowd pleasers from his 2012 album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, and played a few from To Pimp a Butterfly.
As a final note, it is worth mentioning that Osheaga is not a pioneer by offering multi-genre music. If anything it is the northern counterpart to California’s Coachella—arguably the biggest multi-genre music festival in (world, North America?). Though much smaller than Coachella, it is clear that Osheaga provides something unique to the Canadian festival scene and is worth your time for next summer.