Strong comeback for Osheaga

Two headliners to replace, other bands unable to come, a worrying seventh wave of COVID. In its 15th edition, the organization of the Osheaga Festival did not have an easy time. But just hours before the start of the festival – the first at maximum capacity in three years – the excitement on the grounds of Parc Jean-Drapeau was palpable.

• Also read: Festivals resume in Quebec: 15 unmissable events to enjoy the summer

“I couldn’t remember what a ‘real’ festival was like!” said an Osheaga staffer when the media visited the festival site. It is correct that the last presented “normal” Osheaga comes from the year 2019. Evenko presented a reduced edition with the name last year reunion.

This year we return to the usual program: a hundred groups from all corners of the world. But with COVID still being part of our lives, the puzzle was much more complex this year.

While in a normal year last-minute cancellations are in the order of one or two artists, this year it’s at least half a dozen. On Thursday, Osheaga again announced that Anfisa Letyago and AMA LOU could no longer attend the festival. Damso, Lil Tjay and Beabadoobee have also retired in recent weeks.

“It’s the reality of what we live”

This does not include the headliner Foo Fighters [en raison du décès du batteur Taylor Hawkins] and A$AP Rocky [pour ses problèmes judiciaires] which also had to be exchanged.

“A year like this, we hope we don’t have it again,” said Osheaga program manager Nick Farkas. We could be totally depressed. But we have no choice. The show must go on, like you said. That is the reality of what we are going through right now.”

Osheaga program manager Nick Farkas said he was

Photo Pierre Paul Poulin

Osheaga program manager Nick Farkas said he was “stressed and excited” on the eve of the festival.

The programmer is not discouraged by this bad news, which makes his work even more difficult. And he hopes festival-goers will be lenient. “With what we’ve been through [avec la pandémie], I think people are used to seeing business changes. We are doing our best to proceed with the programming we plan to do. But it certainly adds a level of complexity to something that is already hyper-complex. »

Artist ready “just in case”

With more cancellations coming in the next few hours, the Osheaga team has asked some artists to stand by. “We like it fuse Just in case, says Nick Farkas. You are on the site [pendant le festival] and are ready to play if we ever need them.

The recent news from the Festival d’été de Québec, which has been the scene of multiple COVID-19 outbreaks, has Osheaga organizers worried. But unless there is a strict public health or government request, no new health measures will be taken during the event, says Nick Farkas. “However, people are encouraged to put on masks if they feel more comfortable doing so.”

►The 15th edition of the Osheaga Festival will be held from Friday to Sunday at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Some novelties for the 15th edition of the popular festival

Festival-goers visiting the Osheaga site at Parc Jean-Drapeau this year will see 2019 a slightly improved festival compared to last year when the site was packed to capacity.

That year, the promoter evenko inaugurated the new version of the Île Sainte-Hélène website, which he had redesigned for several million dollars. After two years of forced closure due to the pandemic, the second edition will take place on the renovated site this year. The total capacity is now 55,000 people per day.

During the traditional media visit on Thursday morning, the organizers were very proud that they managed to move the sound desks, which are normally placed directly in front of the main stages and block a good part of the view for some spectators. This time, these consoles will be placed a little to the side so that the spectators at the bottom of the hill can see the two main stages in full.

Other suggestions

On the Plaine des Jeux side, we have chosen to place the Green and Valley stages side by side, like the main stages. Festival-goers therefore have no downtime between shows.

Finally, the range of food has been greatly improved. In addition to traditional snack bars, Osheaga will host several Montreal restaurants at its YUL EAT Gardens.

7 shows to watch


Photo courtesy of Jimmy Fontaine

The Baltimore hardcore punk band received rave reviews for their third album, SHINE ON, published last year. The musicians, known for their frenzied performances, recently played at the Coachella festival, where viewers didn’t shy away from shoving each other. “This style of music is my childhood,” says Nick Farkas. I come from this world. I started rock. I’m always happy to be able to present this kind of group at the festival.

► Friday evening, 7:05 p.m., Vallée Stage

arcade fire

Photo courtesy of Michael Marcelle

We should have the Foo Fighters, we have the local favorites instead. Arcade Fire replaces Dave Grohl’s band, who canceled all of their shows following the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins, and return to Osheaga for the first time since 2010. “It was really magical [cette année-là], says programmer Nick Farkas. Having her back for this strange and difficult year is special.” The group will come to perform their new songs from the album WE, published last May. Moment Factory also collaborated on the visual part. We also heard between branches that during their show in Osheaga tonight, Arcade Fire was to announce the holding of another concert in the metropolis later this year.

► Friday night, 8:55 p.m., River Stage


Photo courtesy of Ebru Yildiz

The 31-year-old Japanese-American artist has six career albums to his credit. His two youngest Be the cowboy (2018) and laurel hell (2022), received excellent reviews. “My 15-year-old daughter loves it,” says Nick Farkas. I’ve heard a lot about Mitski over the last year. I find the last disc really extraordinary. I missed her when she was last in Osheaga in 2019 and everyone who saw her freaked out.”

► Saturday, 6:35 p.m., mountain stage

100 Gecs

Photo courtesy of Osheaga

“I think this is going to be one of the shows of the weekend,” says Nick Farkas of this fascinating St. Louis-based American duo. When you look at their music videos, it’s completely different than most things that are happening in music right now. 100 Gecs do hyperpop and like to mix genres in music that has been described as chaotic but catchy. The group received great reviews for their debut album in 2019.

► Saturday, 7:50 p.m., Green Stage

wet leg

Photo courtesy of Hollie Fernando

This is one of the concerts most likely to cause congestion in the circulation of the Osheaga crowd this weekend. Performed in the small Scène des Arbres, this British duo’s two musicians saw their popularity reach dazzling proportions with the release of their first-ever album in April. The reason? Your ultra eye-catching piece lounge chair, which festival-goers will definitely want to sing along to. “When we programmed them, they only had three songs on Spotify!” said Nick Farkas.

► Sunday, 8 p.m., Scène des Arbres

Dua Lipa

Photo courtesy of Osheaga

Six days after the Bell Center was set on fire, Dua Lipa does it again at the end of the festival. “It’s not ideal to have your festival’s headliner in town a few days early! recognizes Nick Farkas. But we really wanted to keep the show at the Bell Center for those who bought tickets [le concert était d’abord prévu le 22 février et avait été reporté].” The pop star, whose popularity has exploded during the pandemic, will come to perform songs from his excellent album nostalgia of the futureits hits Float, don’t start now and break my heart. Expect choreography to very catchy beats.

► Sunday, 9:20 p.m., River Stage


Photo courtesy of Osheaga

Like Turnstile, Idles is one of the most intense bands to step onto the Osheaga boards this year. Nick Farkas, as I’m sure many other festival-goers will be, will be torn by Sunday night’s program that pits Idles against Dua Lipa. “Of course, music fans will have conflicts throughout the schedule, but we’re doing our best to minimize them by using disparate artists at the same time. In the case of Idles and Dua Lipa, we couldn’t have two different artists! But I’m a fan of both.

► Sunday, 9:20 p.m., Green Stage

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