Photo Essay: The faces and voices of Osheaga

Photographer Kirubel Mehari takes us through the crowds and behind the scenes

This year, the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival showcased some amazing acts, including Sampha, Geoffrey and Lorde, to name just a few. Despite the bad weather — which shut down the festival for over an hour on the Friday — it was an interesting three days packed with an explosive level of musical diversity.

I had the chance to sit down and chat with some of the featured up-and-coming musicians about their performances and the creative process they go through as artists.

The crowd stirs up as Osheaga festivities kick off. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

There’s so much emotion that goes into performing every night. It was a challenge, and we had to come through that and decide if we wanted to keep doing it.
– Natalie Closner of Joseph on the tour experience

From left, sisters Meegan, Allison and Natalie Closner make up the band Joseph. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.
“The last album, [I’m Alone, No You’re Not], was about contrast, tension, light and dark, being and despair. It’s all of those things. For the next one, we’re still discovering the songs as we write them. We have a handful of songs, and we can start to see a mapping of feelings out of it, but it’s still developing. You have to wait for the songs to come to you and wait to see what they are telling you.” -Natalie Closner of Joseph
Sampha playing from his album, Process, on Aug. 5, 2017. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.
6lack heads off stage after his set at Osheaga. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

“I like the live aspect. It’s the best part for me right now. It’s like rendering what I worked on for the last two years and feeling the energy of the crowd. It’s nuts. That’s why you do it really. You do it for yourself at first, but then you realize that you’re not alone. It’s a high for 24 hours after the show.”  -Geoffrey

Geoffrey is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter. The 29-year-old has brought attention to the local indie scene with songs such as “Coastline” and “Sleeping On My Own. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.
Enjoying the sunshine and music. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

I try to be honest and very transparent in my music. So in the end, it’s what I’m the most proud of — that overall transparency and honesty.” -Geoffrey

Daniel Caesar at Osheaga. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.
River Tiber at Osheaga. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

“I’d like to do something meaningful with my music. It’s hard to say what because I don’t believe in major art and minor art. So it’s hard to say ‘meaningful’ in music, but I’d like to do something like that.” Dragos Chiriac from Men I Trust

Men I Trust performing their hit song “Lauren.” Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

I think we’re still growing as an indie band. We’re at the point where we have to give it all of our time and energy. You really need to believe all the way because, if it was easy, anyone could do it. – Emma Proulx from Men I Trust

From left, Dragos Chiriac, Emma Proulx and Jessy Caron from the Montreal-based band Men I Trust. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.
6lack closing the show on Friday. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.
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