Doomsday: fact or fiction?

Image via Flickr

Doomsday is a mere month away—if you believe in that sort of thing. Brace yourself.

We can expect the apocalypse to occur on Dec. 21, according to the Mayan calendar that will end and begin a new term, which will begin our winter solstice.

The day is said to be the last day of the 13th baktun, or 144,000-day cycle of the Ancient Mayan calendar. The Ancient Mayans saw the end of the 13th baktun as the end of a full cycle.

Many people took this information and ran with it, saying that since the Mayan Calendar term ends on Dec. 21, 2012, this means that our earth will cease to live.

Wrong. Like any calendar, when a new year comes, we get a new one. Same exact concept here. A Mayan term has ended and a new cycle will now begin. It does not mean that the world as we know it will end due to the beginning of a new cycle.

Some may ask why we link the Mayan calendar to our doomsday. The answer is simple; because “many people who would like to believe in something that science can’t explain look to alternative sources of information on which to base their ideas,” explained Concordia University Professor Lorenzo DiTommaso, who teaches religion and studies global apocalyptism.

DiTommaso supports the idea that nothing will occur that day because “it assumes that the universe works in ways beyond scientific explanation.”

Marcello Canuto, the director of the Middle American Research Institute at Tulane University, told LiveScience website that the “13th baktun date was an important calendrical event that would have been celebrated by the ancient Mayans; however, they make no apocalyptic prophecies whatsoever regarding the date.”

Besides, not all believers of the Mayan apocalypse believe the world will turn into ashes.

“If there is change, it will be because we decide it, not because somebody or something has foreordained it,” DiTommaso said.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been the source of many answers to people’s concerns and worries on whether or not the world will end that day.

“Remember the Y2K scare? It came and went without much of a whimper because of adequate planning and analysis of the situation. Impressive movie special effects aside, Dec. 21, 2012, won’t be the end of the world as we know it. It will, however, be another winter solstice,” states NASA’s website.

Although some people believe the world will end on Dec. 21, others believe that it won’t necessarily end, but that something negative will happen.

The NASA website states that “nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.”

It seems social media truly blew this one out of proportion. This whole issue has made me so enraged with people who don’t know how to simply fact check and will believe anything that they are told. To my knowledge, no one ever paid any attention to the Mayan calendar before, but suddenly it’s the one thing we are going to base our whole existence and future on.

I’m sure everyone remembers the biblical “rapture” that was supposed to take place in May of this year? Well, like that day, I’ll be waiting for Dec. 21 to come and go, just to continue on with my life, nothing having changed.


Osheaga bigger and better than ever

Fans by the tens of thousands tough out the heat for a day full of music by their favourite artists. Photo by writers.

Like most music festivals, this year’s Osheaga passed by in a flurry of stellar performances, overpriced food, crowded washrooms (crowded everything, really) and free merchandise.

However, this year’s line-up was bigger and better than ever, proven by the almost unreal number of tickets sold. Friday, Aug. 3 was the first day in the history of the festival to be completely sold-out (this was announced a matter of hours after yours truly purchased her own tickets, praise be!) Approximately 120,000 tickets were sold and by the end of the day both the Friday and Sunday performances were completely sold-out.

A blend of household names and up-and-coming Canadian talent, Osheaga sported something for everyone. Headliners for Friday included Justice, Florence and the Machine, Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Ros, MGMT and more. While Florence offered a magical, almost unearthly performance, MGMT brought their music video for “Electric Feel” to life, distributing glow-sticks and psychedelic vibes to all. Sigur Ros, the genre-defying Icelandic band, put on a characteristically unusual and ethereal show and Justice, the last show of the day on the main stages, was an electronic party, with screens flashing brightly on the stage and the La Ronde fireworks exploding into showers of colour over the nearby amusement park.

But the performance that delivered the most surprises was the second Icelandic group on the program (likely a first for the festival), Of Monsters and Men. They were not quite as big a headliner as the above four bands, as evidenced by the fact that they played before sunset and on one of the secondary stages, but they drew an enormous audience (even the band members expressed surprise at the number of people), which was itself enormously enthusiastic, singing along and filling every gap of quiet with cheers and applause. And, despite the rather intense heat in the tightly packed and shadeless standing area, the show was fantastic – I would venture to say that Of Monsters and Men might be better live – and worth the full-body-sweating experience.

Unfortunately, due to the overlapping performances, we could not catch all of the artists who played during our stay, but some of the lesser-known artists that we enjoyed and deserve mention were Yukon Blonde, a Canadian indie-rock band and luxuriant hair collective, who played a really fun show and shared some banter between the lead singer and guitarist onstage. Another was Charli XCX, with a drum set and keyboard decked with flowers and Charli herself in an outfit so outrageous that you (or, at least, I) immediately wanted to be her best friend.

A thorough review of the festival would not be complete without mentioning the impact the sheer number of people had on the experience. In all honesty, it really did take a ridiculous amount of time to get from one stage to another, thanks to the combination of a large crowd and a small staircase. More than one story of people passing out while waiting in line for food and water circulated amongst concert-goers.

Yet, many would argue that this is all part of what makes a festival, well, a festival. The constantly-having-your-toes-stepped-on closeness of bodies and hours spent waiting to buy four dollar water bottles, punctuated by performances by a varied and impressive array of artists, give the experience that certain je ne sais quoi that makes us all proud to say we were there.

Student Life

Fall 2012 Fashion Trend Spread

Prints, prints and more prints
This fall, designers have taken prints to a whole new level: adorning their models in head to toe graphics. Whether it’s baroque style florals, geometric confusion or paisleys, there couldn’t be a better time to toss aside your fashion inhibitions and embellish yourself with any print you desire!

Snow White
Designers are constantly breaking the rules, making it a little difficult sometimes to keep up with whether full on denim is in or out. This fall, the fashion world has officially taken on white after Labor Day – a fashion faux pas I was never fond of. Until Indian summer is over, I wouldn’t rush to put away your white linen pants!

Femme fatale
Not sure about prints and white? Do not fret, black is still in, but this time with a rebellious twist. Designers have taken on black and created a wardrobe suited for Trinity in The Matrix. There is nothing understated about this year’s fall black leather gear.

Try on a sleek uniform
The military trend has had moments in the past, but this time around it has a classier feel to it. Whether it’s a cinched waist, gold embroidery or fur trimmings, designers have found a way to incorporate heels into the military uniform.



Stingers gear up for a killer season

Before students step into classes on Sept. 5, the Stingers’ season will have already begun. The first team to play is the football team starting the 2012 season with a home-opener against Bishop’s on Sept. 1 at 1 p.m..

For football fans, this will be the only chance to see the Stingers play at home before the end of the month. Following this game against Bishop’s, the team will play three road games against Université de Montreal on Sept. 7, St. Francis Xavier on Sept. 15 and will face off against Bishop’s once more on Sept. 22. Other important dates include an away game to rivals McGill on Oct. 13 and a home game against Laval – the defending champions – to conclude the regular season on Oct. 27.

Soccer enthusiasts will have to wait one day after the school year’s arrival as the men’s and women’s teams each have an away fixture against U de M to kick off the season on Sept. 6. The men’s team looks to improve on last year’s two losses against the same school. The women’s team seeks revenge after being outscored 1-9 by Montreal over both matches last season. The home opener for both teams will be three days later on the ninth. The double header starts at 1 p.m. for the men’s while the women’s team play at 3 p.m. both against UQTR.

Still in the first week of school, the rugby teams play their home-openers on Friday, Sept. 7. The women’s team plays first at 7 p.m. against Sherbrooke. Two hours later, the men’s team takes on Sherbrooke. If you miss the first home-opener, both Stingers teams are in action the following Wednesday. They will welcome McGill in the same time slots.

Hockey fans will have to wait until October to see their Stingers teams play. The men’s team play rivals McGill at home on Oct. 5. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Ed Meagher Arena. Both teams split the season series last year with two wins apiece. The women’s first game is also at home against McGill, although not on the same day. The game is scheduled for Oct. 13 at 2:30 p.m.

As for the most success, last year’s action was on the court. The Stingers basketball season runs from early November until the end of February. The men’s team’s quest to win a third straight championship begins on Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. on the road against UQAM. Their home-opener will take place on Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. against Laval. The women’s team will also play on those same days against the same opponents. They will play an earlier 6 p.m. game on both occasions. Both the men’s and women’s teams will participate in at least two pre-season tournaments.


Looking back on the 2011-2012 Stingers teams

It was a mixture of highs and lows for Concordia’s Stingers teams last year. The most successful was the men’s basketball team which won their league, the playoffs, and had a shot at the national title.

This team is a favourite for the championship almost every season. Playing in a league which includes McGill, UQAM, Laval, and Bishop’s, the Stingers have topped their division for the last two seasons. Head coach John Dore, who is entering his 24th straight season with the team, led them to a 14-2 record last year, finishing four wins ahead of their biggest competitors McGill. The Stingers went on to beat UQAM by 30 points in the playoff finals. However, in the national championship, the team lost both games.

On the women’s side of the court, the Stingers finished second in the league and made it to the finals. The team opened the season on a high note, beating rivals, and eventual champions, McGill 75-66 on the road. Head Coach Keith Pruden, who has been behind the bench since 1995, led the team to a respectful 8-8 record. Although the women’s basketball team finished the season in second place, they boasted the league’s best defense. In the playoffs, the Stingers cruised past Bishop’s in the semi-finals, but fell to McGill in the finals.

On the ice, the men’s hockey team had a year filled with ups and downs. In the 10-team OUA East division, a division featuring both Ontario and Quebec universities, the Stingers missed the playoffs due to the second tie-breaker. The team tied with Queen’s University with 28 points, with both teams sharing the head-to-head record. It came down to goal differential in both their season games. One of the highlights last year was a thrilling 4-2 victory against McGill late in the season keeping their playoff hopes alive.

The women’s hockey team ended the 2011-12 season in last place. They were four points outside the playoffs. With a record of 4-15-1, the Stingers were battling Ottawa for the final playoff spot. A 6-2 home win over Ottawa in the second-to-last game of the season wasn’t enough to keep their playoff dreams alive.

On the football field, it took a victory in the final game of the season to send the team into the playoffs. The Stingers finished the year with four wins and five defeats, good enough for the fourth and final playoff spot. In the playoffs, the team fell to the eventual Quebec champions Laval Rouge et Or.

In the other kind of football, the men’s soccer team finished the season in sixth place with three wins, eight losses, and one draw. The Stingers were only seven points away from the playoffs. Head coach Lloyd Barker and the rest of the squad expect a better season this year.

The women’s soccer team also finished in second-to-last place. The Stingers finished in ninth place with two victories, nine losses, and three draws matching their 2010 record. Though, the women’s team does play in a difficult division which is dominated by U de M, McGill, Sherbrooke, and Laval.

In the short rugby season, the men’s team finished in third place with one win, four losses, and one tie.  A four-team division meant the Stingers automatically made the playoffs. In the semi-finals, they narrowly beat second place Bishop’s before losing to McGill in the finals.

The women’s rugby team had a similar season, which also took them to the finals. The Stingers finished the year in second place out of six teams and qualified for the playoffs. Their semi-final game was a win against McGill at home but the they ultimately lost to an undefeated Laval in the finals.


Mixtape: Osheaga 2012 – Festival preview

If you’ve never been to Osheaga, you don’t know what you’re missing. Heat, dehydration, screaming crowds, exhaustion and, most notably, a lineup of more than fifty amazing musicians playing at Jean-Drapeau Park for three long days. Despite the less-than-stellar conditions, Osheaga is the most anticipated summer event for any music-savvy Montrealer. This year between Aug. 3 to 5, twenty talented artists—along with many more—will flood our city and play for tens of thousands of people. With big names like Snoop Dogg, Feist, Florence and the Machine and Brand New, Osheaga is bound to be the best three days of your life. Festival passes are now on sale. Let this mixtape be your precursor to Montreal’s most anticipated summer weekend of 2012.

SIDE A: Homegrown, Canadiana

1. “Help, I’m Alive” – Metric – Fantasies
2. “My Moon My Man” – Feist – The Reminder
3. “Grind” – Down With Webster – Time to Win, Vol. 1
4. “We Found Each Other in the Dark” – City and Colour –  Little Hell
5. “A Song About California” – Hey Ocean! – It’s Easier to be Someone Else
6. “I Don’t Know” – The Sheepdogs – Learn & Burn
7. “Tom Cruz” – Plants and Animals – La La Land
8. “Cover Your Tracks” – Young Galaxy – Shapeshifting
9. “Journey of a Lifetime” – Zeds Dead – Single
10. “High for This” – The Weeknd – House of Balloons

SIDE B: Come from afar

11. “Mind Eraser” – The Black Keys – El Camino
12. “Drop it Like it’s Hot” – Snoop Dogg – R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece
13. “Howl” – Florence and the Machine – Lungs
14. “Kissing the Lipless” – The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow
15. “Electric Feel” – MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
16. “Helicopter” – Bloc Party – Little Thoughts (EP)
17. “Cough Syrup” – Young the Giant – Young the Giant
18. “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” – Brand New – Deja Entendu
19. “Jacqueline” – Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
20. “Only Happy When it Rains” – Garbage – Garbage


Music in the News

Because Deamau5+1 sounds stupid

In a post on his Tumblr account, dance music artist Deadmau5 revealed he’s not too keen on collaborations with other artists, and that he has refused many requests from big artists in the past. “All too often, there’s an influx of ‘big names’ that would get thrown around the label from time to time and of course, they fly off the table and out the fuckin’ door faster than they hit my desk,” wrote Deadmau5. “Do you want to do a track with big name X, remix huge pop act Y, etc. etc. No. I fucking don’t. I really REALLY don’t.”
He says his biggest problem with these artists is that, more often than not, the lyrics are too vapid for his taste and that he has no interest in songs that “have some fucking dipshit blab about lookin’ sexy, poppin’ bottles, ‘dropping bass,’ or ANYTHING club related.” The electronic music star did mention that his previous collaborations with bands like Cypress Hill and the Foo Fighters were “the results of stuff [I’m] totally into” and were not the target of his rant.

Black Keys sorry for shooting fish in a barrel

Those of you with long memories may recall the tiff between The Black Keys and Nickelback that occurred a while back. For those who don’t, the Keys’ Patrick Carney trashed Nickelback saying that rock music was dying because “people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world, so they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit.” Now he’s recanted his previous statement, sort of: “I didn’t mean to single them out,” the drummer said in an interview with MTV News Canada. “It just came out. There are much worse bands than Nickelback, maybe.”

Don’t send in the clowns

This year’s inductees to the rock and roll hall of fame include Guns N’ Roses, the Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It does not, however, include KISS, and they’re not happy about the snub. “It’s become a joke,” said bassist Gene Simmons of the Hall of Fame. “We’ve been thinking about it and the answer is simply ‘We’ll just buy it and fire everybody’.” Simmons said the fact that Madonna and Blondie were inductees showed how far off the mark of ‘Rock and Roll’ the institution had gone. “They’re legitimate dance, disco artists. They don’t belong in rock and roll.” Simmons’ bandmate, Paul Stanley, added that “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has reached a point where they’re really scrounging and scratching to find someone left that they consider viable. With all due respect, when you get to Patti Smith you’re about two steps away from Pete Seeger.” KISS have been eligible for induction since 1999.

What will Meg do now?

Jack White has come out and said there is “absolutely no chance” that he will ever bring back The White Stripes. “I’m not the kind of person that would retire from baseball and come out of retirement the next year,” said White in an interview with NME magazine. “I mean, if we went to all the trouble of telling people we’re done, we meant it, you know?” He says the only reason he could possibly foresee a reunion would be if he “went bankrupt or really needed the cash, which would be a really sad thing.”


Mixtape : Under the Snow Festival preview

Under the Snow Festival is an indie records and arts fair that aims to shake the dust off of you that may have been accumulating over the course of the winter season. Now in its eighth year, Under the Snow brings to the forefront 30-odd independent, up-and-coming and innovative musicians from all over Canada to showcase and celebrate their art at four downtown venues: La Sala Rossa, Casa Del Popolo, Divan Orange, and Église St-Denis.
This year’s honourable mentions include Maritimer Julie Doiron, Montreal art band Elfin Saddle and fellow Montrealers Pat Jordache, along with other indie artistes such as Huddle, In Days of Yore, Le Husky and Maxime Robin. On top of all of the great emerging musicians you can check out, the festival also features an arts show where you can buy sweet swag like silk screens, comic books, crafts, food, fashion and of course, records!

Listen to the mixtape here:

SIDE A: Sous la neige
1. “Jacques-Cartier” – Lila dit ça – Jacques-Cartier / Tokyo Man
2. “Salt On The Fields” – Pat Jordache – Future Songs
3. “All There Is” – Fire/Works – All There Is
4. “A Decade Wide” – Give Me Something Beautiful – You’ve Got a Hole In Your Heart a Decade Wide
5. “Djosé” – Maxime Robin – Mondrian Owns Geometry
6. “No One Gets Lost” – Elika – Always the Light

7. “Veste antiballes” – Eugène et le Cheval – Plantes carnivores et autres mécanismes de défense

8. “Sub Rosa” – In Days Of Yore – Sub Rosa
9. “The Dead Man Dance” – Jimmy Target And The Triggers – The Reverb Outlaws
10. “L’uniforme” – Antoine Corriveau – St-Maurice/Logan

SIDE B: Under the snow
11. “L’oubli” – Jeanphillip –  Le bout du monde
12. “Cook You Breakfast” – Pif Paf Hangover – Cook You Breakfast
13. “Les téléphones” – Le Husky – La fuite
14. “Sweeter” – Julie Doiron – Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars
15. “The Wind Come Carry” – Elfin Saddle – Devastates
16. “Black Waves” – The Loodies – The Loodies
17. “So Fast” – Julie Doiron – Loneliest in the Morning
18. “Quoi faire” – Bisko – Ricochet
19. “Barcelone” – Antoine Corriveau – St-Maurice/Logan
20. “Travellers” – AUN – Phantom G


Quickspins + Retroview

Memoryhouse – The Slideshow Effect (Sub Pop; 2012)

The opening line of Memoryhouse’s first single, “The Kids Were Wrong,” from their first full-length album, “Go to sleep / nothing’s changing,” is a ballsy lie. Composer Evan Abeele and vocalist Denise Nouvion have made massive strides from their hazy reverberated swells to much more vibrant acoustic endeavours. Nouvion’s voice is front and centre, confronting listeners like that of a lead singer rather than from behind the ambient gauze of The Years (2011). Music moving and shimmering like never before, the pair show that they are more than just another chillwave experiment. A confessed fan of composer Max Richter (who released his debut solo album Memoryhouse in 2002), Abeele brings the same haunted sounds of Richter’s nouveau classical. Lonely strings prowl the first song “Little Expressionless Animals” and most songs carry a sense of longing. The album isn’t perfect, yet it shows a maturity and mastery that can only mean better things from the band.

Rating: 8.0/10

Trial track: “Little Expressionless Animals”

– Patrick Case

Fanfarlo – Rooms Filled with Light (Canvasback Music/Atlantic Records; 2012)

Start teasing that mullet and slip into those skin-tight neon jeans, because the ‘80s are back—at least according to Fanfarlo.
This London-based folk-pop collective initially made their mark on the indie scene with their 2009 debut Reservoir. In a desperate attempt to distance themselves from becoming an Arcade Fire-esque copycat band, they have traded in their scruff for some new wave ‘80s glamour.
In no way do I condone such an overt gimmicky effort. Cashing in on the “retro” appeal of the 1980s is just tacky. Although, I will admit that Fanfarlo has managed to borrow from the past whilst remaining rooted in modernity with lush string sections, the inclusion of brass and a pocketful of irony that would make Urban Outfitters proud. This is a band that seems to be struggling with making sense of the modern world.

Rating: 6.0/10

Trial track: “Shiny Things”

– Paul Traunero

Anti-Flag – The General Strike (SideOneDummy Records; 2012)

Back with their eighth studio album, Pennsylvania’s Anti-Flag presents The General Strike, their second release on SideOneDummy Records.
The LP was recorded by the band at their home studio in Pittsburgh. Angry about United States bailouts and corporate injustice, and providing musical accompaniment to movements like Occupy Wall Street, the band produces some of their most hardcore and pissed off music to date.
At just 27 minutes and 16 seconds long, the album is short, but the record is sure to please punk-rock and anti-establishment fans alike. Its verses are well-written with catchy, infectious guitar riffs, convincing more conservative listeners to sing along. “Get up! Your voices are needed!” screams one of the vocalists. “This ain’t a fad / this ain’t a fashion / This is the world wide anthem,” declares another lyric.
Set for release on March 20, the album will provide an ample soundtrack to striking Concordia students.

Rating: 8.5/10

Trial track: “The Neoliberal Anthem”

– Andre-Joseph Cordeiro

The Church – Of Skins and Heart (EMI/Parlophone; 1981)

Emerging from Sydney, Australia’s rock scene, The Church first recorded a four-track demo, catching the attention of producer Chris Gilbey, who had cut his teeth with AC/DC a decade earlier. As part of his project to resurrect the Australian branch of record label Parlophone, Gilbey signed the band and co-produced Of Skins and Heart as an EMI/Parlophone release in 1981. Even though the album was not as commercially successful as later releases, it became the band’s most mainstream work, predicting the jangly, psychedelic rock of the mid- to late 1980s. The album itself is sonically diverse with post-punk, new wave and alternative rock inspirations. Opener “For a Moment We’re Strangers” is a dance rock gem, while “The Unguarded Moment” features soft/loud dynamics overlaid with singer Steve Kilbey’s coolly detached vocals. An unpretentious pop-rock album reminiscent of The Smiths and The Stone Roses, it paved the way for the later success of catchy alternative rock.

Trial track: “The Unguarded Moment”

– Cora Ballou


Mixtape : Canadian Music Week

From March 21 until March 25, Toronto will be taken over by bands from all over Canada and the rest of the world during the nation’s biggest music industry event. The conference is celebrating its 30th birthday this year and will bring together not only a ton of musicians, but will also provide conferences, workshops, a comedy festival and an award show, on top of delivering Canada’s biggest new music festival. The Canadian Music Festival includes more than 900 bands from over 40 countries, performing at more than 60 live venues in downtown Toronto. Unfortunately, as students, most of us either won’t have the time or the money to attend, so as an absolutely incomparable consolation prize, I’ve compiled this mixtape to simulate being there. I’m sorry and you’re welcome, all at once.

Listen to the mixtape here:

SIDE A: Homegrown
1. “Leaves, Trees, Forest” – Dan Mangan – Oh Fortune
2. “Body Parts” – The Pack A.D. – Unpersons
3. “Paddle and Row” – Gabrielle Papillon – The Wanderer
4. “Hope for the Flowers” – Rich Aucoin – We’re All Dying to Live
5. “Tiger” – The Balconies – Kill Count
6. “Seed of Love” – Ben Caplan & the Casual Smokers – In the Time of the Great Remembering
7. “Panorama” – Daniel Lanois – Belladonna
8. “Took a Train to India” – Eight and a Half – Scissors
9. “Fever Stricken Night” – Gloryhound – Electric Dusk
10. “Missing” – Hands & Teeth – Hunting Season

SIDE B: Come From Aways
11. “Make Light” – Passion Pit – Manners
12. “Stay Useless” – Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
13. “Down River” – The Temper Trap – Conditions
14. “Old Friend” – Caveman – CoCo Beware
15. “Put Some Red On It” – Spoek Mathambo – Single
16. “Travel As Equals” – Joseph Arthur – Redemption City
17. “Young Man Blues” – The Bright Light Social Hour – New Year’s Live
18. “Vampires in Love” – A Great Big Pile of Leaves – Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex?
19. “Drive By” – Train – Single
20. “Lighter Side” – Benjamin Winter – The Wind Blows Way Up High


Top Ten : Outdoor music festivals

If you’re like me, you’re already dreaming about summertime, and outdoor festivals go hand in hand with my season of preference.

10. Osheaga Music and Arts Festival; Montreal, Quebec, Canada
– Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the mention of our own Osheaga Festival right here in Montreal. Held every year in Jean Drapeau Park on beautiful Ste-Hélène Island, Osheaga has been bringing together musicians, artists, and music and art lovers since 2006. Although the annual summer festie doesn’t boast on-site camping, festival-goers build a sense of camaraderie through the commute from downtown to the park via shuttle, bicycle or footmobile.

9. Exit Festival; Novi Sad, Serbia – Exit Festival keeps people up all night long with big name acts like Iggy Pop, the Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg, M.I.A., Deadmau5, Portishead, Wu-Tang Clan, Bad Religion and tons more. What makes Exit different from other festivals? Firstly, it began as a student-initiated project against the Milosevic regime in 2000. Secondly, it has been hosted at the beautiful Petrovaradin fortress since 2001, and finally, the music doesn’t start until late at night, with musicians performing until dawn.

8. Rock al Parque; Bogota, Colombia
– As one of the longest established festivals on this side of the Greenwich Meridian, this Colombian festival has been, well, rocking the park for 17 years. With that kind of longevity, you know it’s got to be good. The festival’s international and inter-genre flair sets it apart from other festivals that boast more mainstream or specialized genres. The three-day-long festie has hosted musicians from France, the Netherlands, Germany, Peru, Jamaica, El Salvador, Spain, the U.S. and plenty more.

7. SXSW Music Conference and Festival; Austin, Texas, U.S.
– If finding new, emerging and upcoming music is your schtick, then SXSW is, hands down, the festival for you. For five days, over 2,000 musicians take over practically every venue available in Austin to showcase their talents for the festival’s 45,000 patrons, 2,941 media members, as well as an undisclosed number of industry bigwigs. In addition to non-stop live music, SXSW also holds musician workshops and conferences, and features big name speakers like Nas and Bruce Springsteen.

6. Big Day Out; Australia and New Zealand – This multi-city festival goes on tour every January, hitting up Auckland, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth between the last week of January and the first week of February. Taking place in prime southern hemisphere summertime, the festival secures huge acts like Kanye West and Soundgarden, who, no doubt, are drawn to the festival to escape the cold and soak up some of that warm, golden Australian sun with up to 50,000 festival attendees.

5. Burning Man; Black Rock Desert, Nevada, U.S. – Burning Man is the most elusive festival in North America—maybe even the world. This week-long arid experience is so much more than a music festival, with many attendees left unable to explain their time at Burning Man. It’s more like an experiment that happens to include some amazing music and art. The temporary community is built upon “radical self-expression and radical self-reliance” with each year dedicated to a different theme (2011’s was “Rites of Passage”). There are no rules, and money is of no value. At the end of the festival, a giant effigy of a man is burned to the ground, hence the name of the festival.

4. Sasquatch! Music Festival; George, Washington, U.S. – Held every year in the awe-inspiring Gorge Amphitheatre on the Columbia River, Sasquatch! Music Festival’s four stages are graced by some of the biggest names in music. Foo Fighters, Death From Above 1979, Modest Mouse, the Flaming Lips, Kings of Leon, Nine Inch Nails and countless others have played during the four-day long festival, but tons of indie bands get their beginnings there, too.

3. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival; Indio, California, U.S.– As one of the largest outdoor music festivals in North America, you’d better believe Coachella is a damn good time. While camping at the festival is the most popular (and arguably the best) way to experience Coachella, those who can’t live without their hair straighteners and who prefer to have daily showers also have the option of shuttling into the festival grounds from nearby Los Angeles. The festival is held over two weekends every April, so if one weekend doesn’t work for you, then you can catch the same acts the next weekend—or why not go to both?

2. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival; Manchester, Tennessee, U.S. – So, I’m a little biased in placing this festival so high on the list—after all, I did meet my significant other here and if you ask me, I’ll tell you that my time at ‘Roo changed my life. Literally. Located in the heart of Tennessee, a mere 90 minutes from Nashville, Bonnaroo is an epic experience of music, art and community. With 80,000 campers, over 100 acts, including stand-up comedians, on more than 10 stages spread over 700 acres of lush Tennessee farmland, Bonnaroo will soon become your gospel.

1. Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts;  Pilton, Somerset, U.K.– Although the beloved Glastonbury is not happening this year, its triumphant return is scheduled for 2013, and rightly so. As the largest outdoor music festival in the world, this festival has been rocking the masses since 1970, the day after Jimi Hendrix died. With over 40 years in the game, dozens of stages and upwards of 140,000 attendees, Glastonbury is the festival of all music festivals.


The Box rocks for the young and old

Photo: Andrew McNeill

An impromptu snowstorm certainly didn’t scare The Box junkies away from Montréal en Lumière’s downtown festival site Friday night.
At long last, a festival experience where cigarette toting twenty somethings are outnumbered by miniature humans dressed in technicolor Ewok snowsuits.
Quebecois baby boomers wrapped up their wee ones, lugged them up on their shoulders, and marched through clumping snowflakes to Place des Arts to rock out to the ‘80s New Wave band that once topped the charts and dominated the airwaves.
The Box assembled in 1981 at the hands of Jean-Marc Pisapia, one of the first members of Men Without Hats. The band hit mainstream success in 1987 with their album Closer Together, disbanded in 1992, but reassembled in 2002 to spin out a few new tunes and reunion concerts.
The Box is mom and dad pop-rock in its most uncomplicated format. Its sound is stereotypically New Wave, and dependant on upbeat yet playful male-female vocal harmonies and catchy choruses. Despite its harmless and agreeable disposition, The Box’s sound didn’t survive the turn of the ‘90s, as listeners looked for something darker—and found it in grunge.
But while The Box’s denim cut offs, hairspray, and Jheri curl days are over, they still know how to get the crowd shaking. Friday’s show was for older fans and their obligatory offspring.
The Box knows they won’t be reigning any new converts, but their live show keeps all the energy of late-’80s Canadian New Wave intact. Dragging toddlers out in the snow past bed time isn’t easy, but this was clearly a show families didn’t want to miss.

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