It takes more than bad weather to keep 100,000+ fans from Montreal's Osheaga Festival

The 12th edition of OSHEAGA, Montreal’s legendary 'Musique et Arts' Festival attracted a crowd of approximately 135,000 music fans at its brand-new site on Île Notre-Dame earlier this summer.

Lorde at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Lorde at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki

Despite having to deal with some heavy rainfall throughout the first day, and inadvertently sidelining much of the afternoon programming (along with my camera gear) it certainly did not deter music lovers far and wide from enjoying this highly anticipated annual event once again.

Atlanta-based rapper, 6lack, at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Atlanta-based rapper, 6lack, at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki

Established back in 2006, the festival mandate has always been to showcase emerging talent on a local and national level, offering them unparalleled exposure and the opportunity to open for some of the biggest names in music. This year was certainly no exception with over 100 bands taking to the various stages across a more lineal island site North of the Casino de Montreal, and East of it's original home in Parc Jean-Drapeau. The festival also included satellite events scheduled throughout the city over the course of several days.

Stuart Murdoch and Stevie Jackson from the Scottish Band, Belle and Sebastian, at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki.
Stuart Murdoch and Stevie Jackson from the Scottish Band, Belle and Sebastian, at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki.

The 2017 edition posed some major logistical challenges due to the relocation of the site to Île Notre-Dame, making it extremely difficult to access the site from the Jean-Drapeau metro station this time around, as concert goers were directed through a series of narrow maze like thoroughfares, complete with a makeshift scaffold bridge over an existing roadway before a long traverse over a water gap before finally entering out into the park itself.

Hannah Reid from the British band, London Grammar, at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki.
Hannah Reid from the British band, London Grammar, at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki.

Once inside, the long pilgrimage to get there is all but forgotten, except of course by ones trusty step counter. Diminished by the shear wonderland of live music, art installations, food, drink and revelry that make this a destination for the music industry calendar each and every summer. Did I mention they had a Ferris wheel?

Benjamin Goldwasser from the band, MGMT, at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki.
Benjamin Goldwasser from the band, MGMT, at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki.

The initial euphoria was shorted lived on Friday, with the arrival of some severe weather, and a series of last-minute schedule management issues which were generally well-managed to the credit of the organizers, including a number cancellations and performances held up or delayed for safety concerns. This primarily affected artists arriving into Montreal enroute from previous engagements at the infamous Lollapalooza festival scheduled concurrently in Chicago's Grant Park.

Lorde at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki.
Lorde at the 2017 Osheaga Festival. Photo: Dan Nawrocki.

The weekend's line-up featured Lorde, Muse and The Weeknd filling the headline spots, along with a large majority of other artists we've previously covered earlier this season with the exception of some phenomenal rising talent showcased on many of the satellite stages throughout the park, including a few surprises along the way, which has always been OSHEAGA's strongpoint.

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