Most people cringe at the thought of winter. The cold and the snow just doesn’t seem to sit well with most; especially in a city like Montreal. Despite the harsh times that hit Quebec, more than 10, 000 people each weekend filled the streets of the Old Port throughout the months of January and February to celebrate the beautiful winter wonderland known as Igloofest.
Igloofest is a winter festival that spans over the course of four weekends, where they play various types of electronic dance music. According to Billboard, 85 000 people attended this year’s event; a record breaking number for the organizers.
Igloofest started in the winter of 2007 as a one-weekend gig, and has grown to a four-weekend event due to the large demand for winter partying. This event has put Montreal on the global map for the first ever winter EDM festival, according to Billboard.
In the past, there have been a series of up-and-coming DJs that have had the pleasure of spinning at the main stage, such as Diplo, Lunice, Caspa, Pan-Pot, TNGHT, and many more. This year’s lineup was actually quite versatile, with acts from RL Grime, Adam Beyer, and Foreign Beggars. The musical vibe at the main stage set a hip-hop and trap influenced environment, whereas on the smaller stage, tech house and deep house, which is a more danceable genre, was mostly played.
What makes Igloofest so unique is that some people come for the music, while others come strictly for the party and the experience.
“Fifty percent of the crowd is not here for electronic music,” said Michel Quintal in an interview with Billboard.
Quintal is the Director of Programming and Sponsorships of the festival, as well as one of the event’s co-founders.
“They’re here for the experience, the fun, the party. Our job is to find those creative, interesting, artistic DJs who can also please those people too,” he added.
There is certainly an Igloofest culture that has emerged since the event’s inception. Because this event is found in such a cold climate, everyone absolutely needs to dress up and get prepared for partying in the snow. People love to come dressed in the most ridiculous outfits and wear vibrant colors to stand out. There are even competitions for the most ridiculous outfit inside the festival.
The interesting thing about the music being played at Igloofest is that it must be genre restrictive. When people are partying in sub zero temperatures, they need to be moving constantly to avoid getting cold. For this reason, upbeat music with high BPM needs to be played to keep the crowd going. This final weekend truly portrayed this with energetic sets. The final few days of the festival included stellar sets from Montreal based Djs Shash’U and Mayssam, and New Jersey native Justin Smith, better known by his stage name Just Blaze.
The main dance floor was filled with thousands of people jumping around in this 8th installment of the festival with temperatures dropping to -20 degrees on some nights. Some people were even crowd surfing proudly along the front of the stage. Then, when you needed a break, you could simply head over to the fire pits for marshmallows and hot chocolate. Or grab a Sapporo or Jager bombs at one of the multiple bars? That was the beauty of Igloofest; there was always some kind of activity that suited everyone’s needs.
Igloofest 2014 is now sadly completed; with over 85,000 satisfied customers, a record for this event. The Old Port will now be a little bit quieter until summer time kicks back in. Hopefully, next year’s event will be just as mesmerizing.