How early is too early to get festival passes?

Students express their views on summer music festival tickets already on sale. 

When exiting a music festival on its very last day, attendees can usually see a banner declaring the scheduled dates for the next edition of the festival. Not only that, but it only takes two to three months after the end of a music festival before the announcement of the following year happens. 

Montreal’s Osheaga, arguably the biggest and most popular music festival in Quebec, has been running an “exclusive” presale for its 2024 summer dates since early November. Green Day is the first and only headliner announced up to now. The 3-day passes are released almost one year in advance along with some “premium offers,” according to promotional emails, to welcome festival fans in getting ahold of them sooner. 

Some students at Concordia share their personal approaches regarding music festival passes being released recently for next summer. Mirra Lazarus, a psychology student, believes “it’s a bit of a manipulative, but expected, marketing scheme to get people to ensure they meet their sales quota.” 

According to Lazarus, acquiring those weekend passes provides a feeling of security and means that people have a stable event to look forward to. However, she adds that it is unfortunate if you don’t like the lineup since you have to stick with it or resell it in the end. Overall, Lazarus added that she would never buy festival passes a year in advance not knowing what the lineup is, even if they also make the passes cheaper in advance to get to that sales quota.

For communications and sociology student Adèle Décary-Chen, purchasing a festival pass way ahead of time includes more inconvenience than benefits. “It kind of limits me in my future plans, especially in the summer,” she said. Indeed, settling on very specific dates in the city that far in advance can reduce flexibility and get in the middle of any travel plans or short-notice situations that may come up. Chen said she would only show up to a music festival if she knew artists on the lineup to make it worth her money. Although this is common behaviour, there is always the possibility of tickets selling out by the time the lineup is released. More often than not, there aren’t any more passes. “That’s what happened for the Festival d’Été du Québec last summer for me,” she said.  

On one hand, securing festival passes in advance can be a way to confirm one’s attendance without the stress of worrying about potential sold-out dates. Moreover, folks tend to sometimes travel across the province, the country or even overseas to attend a music festival. Purchasing passes way ahead of time then helps plan for those special travels. 
On the other hand, the initial price of passes can even significantly drop closer to the dates if it’s not already sold out. People on social media might be reselling or a friend of a friend might be getting rid of their ticket last minute therefore making it cheaper, to increase the chance of selling it. Not buying months prior might then result in saving a couple of bucks. The reassurance of knowing the entire lineup of featured artists can also be a crucial factor in the decision, before dropping hundreds of dollars on passes.

After discussing with students, there isn’t exactly a better time to get ahold of passes. The decision caters and depends on how individuals prefer to organize their visits to festivals, whether they are located here or outside the country. It’s an undeniable matter of tolerance for the unpredictable and elements like the scheduled weekend, lineup, pricing, availability, and assembling your festival attendees group all play an important role. One thing is for sure, music festivals are settings people will always want to be a part of and Osheaga passes are now available for the taking.

Festival Review Music

My first experience at a Music Festival in Europe

After booking my escapade in Europe this summer to mainly visit family, I stumbled upon the lineup for the twentieth edition of Primavera Sound (PS) taking place in Barcelona, Spain. The music festival’s main weekend took place from June 1 until June 3 which perfectly fit at the start of my trip. 

I try to attend at least one big music event each year, especially during the summertime, hence I felt no hesitation before booking the three-day-long festival, being fully aware that I’d be going solo to an event starting only two days after landing in a country I had never stepped foot in. 

One of the decisive factors for me was the lineup. It included artists I had been listening to for years, and even the artists had become very fond of quite recently. The festival started at 4 p.m. and the last sets finished at 6 a.m., following the same schedule every day.  Being relatively sleep deprived is one thing, but standing up for the majority of those 14 hours while constantly hearing music through humongous speakers is another— and it’s not for the faint of heart. 

My most memorable performance was by NxWorries, the duo made out of record producer Knxwledge and recording artist Anderson .Paak.  I was near the barricades and got the chance to get on the stage during one of my favourite songs off their 2016 album Yes Lawd! titled “Link Up.” 

It was pretty surreal but for some reason I wasn’t nervous at all. I had an absolute blast dancing with everyone and singing whilst interacting with the crowd. The most unexpected interaction happened when I was in the food court at 3 a.m. on the third day, and a stranger came up to me because she had recognized me from the show. She then airdropped me footage from the performance… the world is too small sometimes. 

Definitive highlights from other performances I attended started with the musical duo Jockstrap’s energetic and experimental set. Georgia Ellery pulling out a violin to play on top of the track “Concrete Over Water” was too awesome of a sight before Taylor Skye pulled out a water blaster to the crowd. Moments after, a remix of the theme song from the show Succession played. Despite the song having nothing to do with the band, the crowd got ecstatic due to its extreme popularity. 

Kendrick Lamar — also a headliner at Osheaga — had everyone shouting his name and lyrics even before the large-scaled canvas unveiled behind him. This impressive painted backdrop accompanied Lamar throughout the coverage of his music catalogue from Section.80 up until Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. His cousin Baby Keem also hopped on stage to perform their infamous “Family Ties” and other tracks, making the energy even hotter than the actual fire rising up by the stage.

Singer and rapper Channel Tres’ performance was overflowing with grooviness, made even better with witty and calculated dance moves. Listening to his song “6am” almost at 6 a.m. was so much fun to say the least, and he couldn’t believe people were still out and about for his set at that time. JPEGMAFIA, an American artist that’s collaborated with Tres, made a similar comment about how ridiculous and awesome it was to play at 4 a.m. the next day. 

It isn’t surprising that American artists aren’t used to PS’s different schedule. Osheaga, for instance, ended around 10:30 p.m. — just about the time some folks at PS Barcelona would start showing up. The earlier curfew of cities in North America completely shifts the magnitude that a music festival could ever become, counting less artists to begin with. 

Seeing Rosalía perform her album Motomami in her hometown was also very special. She rallied a wide variety of fans (the Spanish ones being more than passionate and not letting anyone squeeze their way in any closer).

Talking about the audience, it seemed like the entirety of Europe came to Barcelona for this weekend. Locals as well as Canadians and Americans were in attendance so I heard an extensive range of languages when passing by foreigners. 

The Concordian’s Assistant Music Editor and fellow student, Stefano Rebuli, attended this year’s sixteenth edition of Osheaga and recalls there being a lot of traffic from stage to stage. Getting around between the two main stages was tricky due to clashing crowds entering and exiting between two consecutive performances. 

“It left everyone packed and nearly caused a crowd crush between Kim Petras and Kendrick Lamar’s sets on Sunday. Everyone tried to get forward, but nobody was allowed in for a good 30+ minutes,” Rebuli said. As for PS, the crowds seemed to always be mobile which made getting in and exiting smooth. Getting home after the shows is another story— whether it be Montréal or Barcelona, the metro is a hot spot for waiting and waiting behind a stagnant crowd.

The security at Osheaga could have been “much more rigorous” according to Rebuli. His friend had a glasses case which was left unchecked, which means he probably could’ve snuck anything inside. PS’s security also let me in quite easily, with a filled water bottle in my pocket which they didn’t check. 

Moving on to some numbers, PS in Barcelona held 16 stages whereas Osheaga counts 5 across its site. Both are near the water, but PS is impressive with its clear views of the sea. In terms of prices, however, it’s expected that the food or beverages aren’t affordable at any festival.

I brought some granola bars to keep my food purchases low but on my second night I had to have actual food so I ended up spending about $15 for a burger. Osheaga charged $13.75 for a poutine, tax included (taxes not being something to consider in Spain was pleasant at least). For beer however, I spent about $7 for a regular sized cup at PS, whereas Osheaga charged around $10.  

From an artist cancelling their set last minute to discovering a new favourite song at a random show you decided to check out, music festivals are a chance to fully immerse yourself with passionate people all day— or all night. Whether in my own city or overseas, music in a festival setting has proved itself to be a driving force for a boisterous time.


Osheaga 2022: Artists to watch

This fifteenth edition of Osheaga is bound to be exciting

With Osheaga finally returning to its total capacity after two years, one of the world’s best music festivals is welcoming artists from different corners of the music industry to perform over a three day span.Since it’s physically impossible to divide myself across six stages with over 100 artists set to perform, who should I watch? My name is Guillaume and I’ll be your guide, helping you experience the best possible shows to have an amazing weekend.


Friday starts off the festival on a pretty strong note with a string of interesting names, especially in the pop and indie fields. Artists such as Pink Pantheress, Ashe, and Charli XCX all put their own unique spin on today’s pop music and are a must-see if you’re into pop. As for indie, Gus Dapperton, Dominic Fike, and French Canadian band, Les Louanges could all satisfy indie lovers on Friday. Coming off the release of their latest record WE, Montreal’s legendary alternative rock band Arcade Fire is in town headlining on Friday,  making it definitely a show not to miss. Sleeper sets of the day include trap producer and singer Pi’erre Bourne and Punk band Turnstile.


Saturday is looking to be the most promising day, with heavy names in hip hop and a profusion of other cool artists. Fans of the genre are going to get spoiled with artists such as Slowthai, Freddie Gibbs, BIA, and Saturday’s headliner, Future. Saturday is also another strong day in the indie field with performers such as Toronto’s Luna Li, Montreal’s Men I Trust, and none other than Mitski. Other must-sees include Hyperpop duo 100 Gecs and Nigerian superstar Burna Boy. The sleeper pick of the day is U.K rapper, Slowthai.


Sunday might not have the most stacked lineup, but you will definitely be able to find quality performances. Sunday’s headliner include pop star Dua Lipa, who is solely worth the cost alone, and is almost guaranteed to deliver an incredible show. Sunday also has a couple of popular names in the music industry, such as Machine Gun Kelly, Glass Animals, and Alan Walker. Rapper Cordae, singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus and punk-rock band IDLES are amongst other talented musicians performing on Sunday. The Sleeper show of the day is the Australian Genesis Owusu who is a must-watch.

Now that Osheaga has returned back to its full form , it’s safe to say that everyone is as excited as ever to see a plethora of  talented artists hit the stage in Montreal. With perfect weather announced over the weekend, these next three days are going to be incredible for music lovers.


Anders: platinum plaque and sold-out shows

The Concordian sits down with Toronto R&B artist Anders after his Osheaga performance to talk about his first platinum record, sold-out shows and the powerful team behind him

Anders is nowhere to be found. His team greeted me and sat me down on a park bench in Osheaga’s “Artist World” where we’re supposed to meet for  our interview, but the man of the hour isn’t in my line of sight. There’s talk that he’s eyeing down some sunglasses at a nearby pop-up shop, or that he may be refuelling after an exhausting hour of work. After all, performing in front of a crowd of hundreds in the blistering heat of the summer isn’t always easy.

Mere minutes later, Anders joins our table and introduces himself. Whatever he was off doing, he made sure to make himself comfortable after his performance, grabbing a glass of wine and opting out of his “Off-White” Jordan 1s for red Palm Angels sliders that matched his t-shirt. Anders is an extrovert – made most evident by his bubbly personality and genuine desire to want to speak about his craft. At just 24-years old, the Toronto R&B singer has a lot to be proud of.

Anders has most recently achieved his first platinum record as a for his collaborative track with Canadian DJ duo Loud Luxury’s Love No More. He compared the timing of the release of this song to the story of David and Goliath, since it came out following the worldwide success of Loud Luxury’s multi-platinum single, Body – a truly hard song to follow.

“Me and LUCA, who is kind of my right-hand guy, we created the song one late night in a studio called DAIS back in Toronto and it was originally called: I Don’t Want Your Love,” said Anders. “But I linked up with Loud Luxury, who were like ‘Yo, we wanna work, we wanna do some shit.’ At this time they had just put out their hit song, Body, and it hadn’t  blown up yet. It was just sort of starting to– I remember at the time it was like two million plays and they wanted to do some shit so I was like, ‘Yo, I got this one I already recorded if you guys want to do something to it.’ I sent them the vocals, and then they bounced me back Love No More saying ‘We’re gonna roll it out, we’re gonna go with it.’”

The success of Love No More wasn’t Anders’ first prominent feature in the music industry. Following the release of the artist’s second EP, Twos, Anders sold out his debut performance at the Phoenix venue in Toronto that holds over 1000 people. This accolade was documented in detail with the release of The Road to Phoenix, a YouTube documentary curated by NST – the team, friends and label that Anders wholeheartedly stands by.

Anders and interviewer Jacob Carey discuss music and Toronto’s influence at Osheaga’s “Artist World” – Photo by Jackson Roy

“Me and my two team members, Derek [Hui] and Will [Nguyen], when we started coming in the scene and making music, we wanted something that was more than just being an artist,” Anders said. “We kind of wanted a brand to go with it as well. So we created NST. In the beginning, we were just selling merch and hats, but eventually, we want to do music, labels, you know. Film, fashion – everything. That’s just a brand we created to kind of rally behind and it’s also something good for, you know, if ever I want to take some time to chill, we still have NST. It’s not like we’d have nothing to do.”

Anders’ relationship with NST is a two-way street, with both sides often consulting one another before making their next moves. Anders’ relationship with music, which dates back to his early childhood when he was forced into piano lessons and band practice, allows him to play a hands-on role in his songs’ productions. While he takes care of the musical aspect of NST, his teammates help boost the brand and market the products.

“In the beginning, me, Derek, Will – we were just independent artists with no connections to labels, wondering, ‘Ok, how do we market? How do we push the music?’” said Anders. “Will and Derek came from a background of producing events, so we said ‘Let’s do what we’re good at. Let’s put events out.’ So we did a little run of going from city to city to do these listening parties, because that’s kinda what we knew. We didn’t know that other shit. I don’t know how to get on a playlist.”

While Anders relied on real-life networking from city to city to build a fan base, the artist is aware of the role that his own city played in his success. Toronto is home to countless of international superstars, namely Drake and The Weeknd– two of Anders’ inspirations and influences. Without these catalysts, Anders thinks that musicians wishing to make it in Toronto would have a harder time doing so.

“It’s tough cause you know, even Drake, if it wasn’t for Drake I wouldn’t make music,” said Anders. “When you have somebody around you to look up to and say ‘Oh, they did it. Why can’t we do it?’ Right? But if you’re in the middle of fucking nowhere, where nobody made it, you kind of have to lead by example… There’s so much inspiration but if there’s nobody around you to see that, you kinda gotta draw from other places and pave that path on your own. It’s definitely a blessing to have an example.”

Similar to his idols, Anders does not want to box himself in as just an R&B artist, or just a rapper, but a multi-faceted artist with a lot to show for. In the short time that he’s been in the scene, Anders is proving just how far a strong network, devoted fan base, and loyal team can take you.


Osheaga 2019: A weekend review

The 14th annual music and arts festival featured various hidden gems and one breathtaking performance from a headliner

The initial March release of Osheaga’s lineup was met with mixed reviews as many disgruntled concert-goers believed the roster lacked the star power that prior years brought to the stage.

With questionable headliners and supporting acts, some Montrealers doubted whether they would attend the 14th annual music and arts festival. However, those that did were pleasantly surprised by Osheaga’s organization, accessibility and the hidden gems in lesser-known acts.

Osheaga’s relocation to their original site on Ile St-Helene after two years made a tremendous difference in the festival’s flow. Lines seemed to move quicker, travel time between stages was reduced and less congested, and the ground’s layout made everything more accessible than the years the festival took place on Ile Notre Dame.

Spread out over three days and six stages, Osheaga caters to all music lovers by hosting acts of many genres. With over 30 acts per day, people can expect to catch shows ranging from rock n’ roll, to hip hop, to EDM, to pop, and more. This year’s headliners included the Lumineers, The Chemical Brothers, and Childish Gambino.

Friday featured notable acts like Australian DJs Fisher and Flume, Atlanta rappers Gunna and Gucci Mane, 88rising solo member Joji, hip hop duo $uicideboy$, and The Lumineers closing out the main stage. As all the artists play at different locations, oftentimes overlapping in time slots, people were encouraged to download the Osheaga app to create their own schedules on their phone to remind them of the acts they wished to attend.

Atlanta rapper Gunna looks onto the crowd below him before one of his biggest hits. Photo by Jacob Carey

Hip hop artists Denzel Curry and JPEGMAFIA saw many of the same audiences flocking together from one stage to another in the early hours of the festival. In the scorching hot sun that blessed attendees all weekend long, hoses fired water onto the crowd to cool them down. While necessary at times, the hose seemed like overkill on other occasions, causing people to back away to avoid drenching their festival outfits (and photographers’ cameras!).

However, the hose seemed most necessary during trap rapper Gunna’s performance – one that had the most energetic crowd of the day due to the success of his recent hits (“Drip Too Hard,” “Speed It Up”) that have gained massive popularity in the teenage demographic. While one would have expected the same from veteran rapper Gucci Mane, his stage presence was not as enthralling despite it being his second-ever performance in Canada following years of legal issues.

Gucci Mane salutes his audience in his second-ever Canadian performance. Photo by Jacob Carey

Saturday saw a slew of singer-songwriters dominate the main stage, including Ravyn Lenae, King Princess, and City and Colour. During the intermissions, people could turn their attention to the adjacent stage to catch performances from Young the Giant, Janelle Monae, and Logic. All the while, the Scène de L’Ile stage featured nonstop electronic music acts from 1 p.m. until the festival’s close just before 11 p.m.

The last rapper to take the stage was New York native A Boogie wit da Hoodie, who recently secured his first Billboard number one album with the release of Hoodie SZN. Speaking to the Concordian following his performance, A Boogie spoke about what it’s like to get into the studio with veteran rappers such as 50 Cent.

“It’s really motivational in a way where, it’s like going to see a psychic basically,” said A Boogie. “You’re going to see the person that you’re going to be in the next 10 years, depending on who you’re talking to. So, I was talking to 50 Cent right before I got live and everything, and it made me feel like ‘Alright, he’s telling me the steps. He’s telling me how this shit is, so how can I go wrong?’”

“Canada – I come here, I feel like, a few times a year – and every time I come here they feel like I’m in New York,” A Boogie said. “When the lights come on and the show comes on, it’s like the same thing. New York’s probably a little more lit,” he laughs. “But you know, if I’m comparing this to that, there’s really something special here.”

Sunday’s lineup showcased various Montreal talents including Jerico, The Franklin Electric, and singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco. Producer Kaytranada also attracted a massive crowd, who came to show their support for the hometown hero who has gained worldwide success over the past few years.

Young Thug croons into his microphone on a blistering hot summer day. Photo by Jacob Carey

Yet, Sunday’s lineup would be nothing without the mention of the festival’s final act and weekend highlight – Childish Gambino. The writer-turned-actor, turned-television-director, turned-rapper is a man of many talents. One can’t help but see these talents blend into his performances. Gambino told the crowd early on that he would be taking them on a “church experience,” and nothing seemed more fitting.

Rising from a platform in the middle of both stages, shirtless and surrounded by white fog, Gambino’s raw vocals were enchanting enough to convince anyone that this man is much more than just a rapper. His beautiful falsettos and the church choir who performed backup vocals were crisp and powerful. His interaction with the crowd appeared genuine and heartfelt, urging us all, following a weekend of multiple mass shootings in the United States, to simply “have fun and love yourself…and put down your phones. This is for us right here.”

Watching from the back hill of Osheaga’s main stages on a widescreen display, the whole of Gambino’s performance felt like an extended version of his ground-breaking “This Is America” music video. The artist stared deep into the camera’s soul. His dance moves were impeccable and captivating. In a crowd of thousands, Gambino somehow made you feel like he was speaking directly to you.

Anyone who had been skeptical of Osheaga’s choice of headliners was immediately corrected as they left Ile St-Helene late Sunday night; if not for the entire set, then solely because of the stellar performance that Childish Gambino gave to everyone willing to listen.


Feature photo by Laurence Brisson Dubreuil


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.


ODESZA’s audible odyssey continues

ODESZA’s new album, In Return, is music that suits any scene in your life.

Picture yourself frolicking on a beach in slow motion, the sun refracting through cotton candy clouds and bouncing off the water, polaroid-style light-leaks filling up the sky; that’s how ODESZA’s music feels.

It’s hard to find a decent electronic song that you can listen to on the bus to school, in the shower, and while having a drink or three on a Friday night. It’s even harder to find an entire album of those songs. But that is exactly what In Return, ODESZA’S new album, is.

Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, the duo who make up ODESZA, met through a mutual friend in their senior year at Western Washington University in Seattle. They clicked instantly, fitting together like audible puzzle pieces.

“We were the only people who were making electronic music at our college, really,” said Mills. “We just kind of sat down one day and jammed, and it went so well that we decided to make a project out of it. That actually became our first album.”

With electronic music ever on the rise, it can be hard to establish a distinct sound without alienating your audience or creating a niche. But ODESZA manages to do just that – they stand apart well enough to earn them a dedicated fan base, yet their sound is sufficiently familiar to appeal to everyone. Since their debut album, Summer’s Gone, though, the seeds of their sound have sprouted. With In Return, fans can expect a better-defined, more mature version of that recognizable sound.

“I think each album and EP we’ve done has been us trying something new in one way or another,” said Mills. “This one was definitely us trying to see if we could make a more song-based album. We actually have verses and choruses, and we worked with people to actually do vocals instead of just sampling songs.”

While song-making can be a lengthy process, Mills and Knight do it with speed reflective of their rise to popularity.

“What takes a while is finding the right singer and kind of going back and forth with them,” said Mills. “In general, we usually come up with ideas in the first day we’re jamming together, but all the detail work seems to take a bit longer.”

Some of their best-known songs aren’t originals, though, but remixes. And their mixing process is a different one altogether.

“It helps to not listen to the original song and actually listen to the individual stems by themselves – so, like, vocal, percussion, guitar, whatever – because we don’t want it to sound like what it originally was,” said Mills. “We want to really make an entirely new song out of the base that they’ve given us. And I think that’s what makes a good remix, too: if it’s recognizable but also completely different. Something we strive for in the remixes is to make it feel like a really unique song in itself.”

This focused, defined way of doing things has made ODESZA a name that gets more recognition with each new release. They played both Osheaga and Shambhala this year, to name just a couple festivals, and they’re just getting started.

Since their formation in 2012, they’ve released two studio albums and an EP – one album for each year of their existence. And coming out with so much music so quickly has paid off: just this month, they reached number one on Billboard’s dance/electronic album chart. But similar to that dream-like, ethereal beach scene, fame doesn’t quite seem real yet to Mills and Knight.

“I don’t think we’ve had any time to really soak it in, ‘cause we’ve been busy for the last two years straight,” said Mills. “We were working on the album the whole time we were touring, so there was never a moment to rest. Now that the album’s out, everything’s picked up and doubled back, so we’ve kind of just been constantly on the move – we’re either working on a remix, working on an original song, or on tour. But it’s a good thing, because we like to stay focused, keep working as hard as we can, and utilize the opportunity that we’ve been given.”

Part of that opportunity includes the chance to collaborate with impressive names in the music scene.

“Everyone we tour with has influenced us in a positive way. When you get to meet and talk to people that have inspired your music, you realize how much of a normal human they are,” Mills laughed. “Hearing their workflow and getting to pick their brains is really just an honour. Definitely one that stands out to me is Bonobo – seeing how humble he is and how talented he is was really inspiring. He’s like a god to me. A musician god.”

While their ascent to fame has been rapid, it wasn’t always that way. Their advice to any aspiring musicians?

“Play to the one person dancing. We really needed that when we first started out – we would focus on the 20 kids in the front who were only there for the headliner, when we were the 7 p.m. opening act. And to the audience: “It doesn’t really matter how stupid you look if you’re dancing and enjoying yourself. Those people have way more… what’s the word? Way more balls than anyone standing at the back and head bopping.”

 Catch ODESZA at Le Belmont on Oct. 5.


Osheaga 2013 raised the bar sky high

Montreal, summer, and music: three words that sound perfect together. Of the numerous music festivals that took place during the summer season, there is one in particular that caught our attention, maybe because music lovers wait an entire year for this weekend of musical and artistic enchantment. We’re talking of course about the Osheaga Music & Arts Festival.
The festival, which took place from Aug. 2 to Aug. 4 on the beautiful site of Parc Jean-Drapeau, celebrated its eighth anniversary this year. Every year, Osheaga attracts more and more international spectators and welcomes them with open arms. Flags from all over the globe were displayed proudly across the terrain, showing Montreal’s pride in its diversity.

Press Photo Susan Moss

There were high expectations for this year’s edition and it is safe to say that they were met. First, the lineup pleased music lovers of every genre. Second, the schedule was more than satisfying. Of course, it can never be perfect, but with more than 30 artists per day and five stages, festival goers had the possibility to experience most of the performers even if they were playing simultaneously.
Despite the great lineup, many music lovers were unable to attend all three days of the summer bonanza and were therefore forced to choose between which sets they would rather see. But with amazing artists performing each day, Osheaga attendees witnessed Capital Cities kick off the festival with energy, they sunbathed with Daughter, Ben Howard and Alt-J, clapped their hands with The Head & The Heart, heard Ellie Goulding’s adorable british accent, sang out loud with Vampire Weekend and Phoenix, dreamed with Beach House, travelled back in time with The Cure and danced with A Tribe Called Red.

Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig on stage at Osheaga 2013. Press photo.

Many concerns about the traffic flow onsite were brought up – apparently there had been some problems last year – but it seemed like everything had been fixed so that all daily 40,000 concert goers could enjoy their experience. Also, the various types of food installations were pleasing to both the vegetarian as much as the carnivore and the sweet tooth.
Osheaga not only had a strong musical scene, it also celebrated the arts in general. Thus, in the peaceful surroundings near La Scène Verte and La Scène des Arbres, people could devote themselves to various artistic activities such as graffiti, chalk drawing or body painting.
A tent was erected for an exposition called Musique sur papier, which consisted of 50 or so concert posters made by different graphic designers. The festival’s decorators should also be properly credited for their work. The decorations completely enthralled the festival goers and propelled them even further into a place of wonder and delight. There were small bulbs, big luminous balloons, origami-styled lamps, naïve and colourful writing made out of wool and ropes.
Although it’s been said over and over again, there is no denying the fact that the Osheaga Arts & Music Festival is nothing short of spectacular. Even though the previous years were astounding, it seemed like this year’s edition allowed the festival to reach a whole new level of musical excellence.


Weekly Mixtape: Osheaga Dreaming

The end of winter is almost like Christmas for indie music lovers. Music festivals’ lineups get revealed and we keep waiting for the day we’ll finally receive the gift we soon hope to unwrap in Montreal: the Osheaga festival. From year to year, varied lists of musicians are presented, sometimes surprising but always terrific, thanks to big names but also emerging local and national artists. We’ll help you learn more about the 2013 edition with this week’s mixtape. Side A features music from more well-known bands that will put you into the mood as you’re getting more and more excited about Osheaga and start planning your perfect music weekend. Side B provides songs from musicians that are worth discovering and that should get more recognition.


SIDE A: Knowledge acquired

1. “Lisztomania” – Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus

2. “Winter Winds” – Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

3. “Pictures of You” – The Cure – Disintegration

4. “Cousins” – Vampire Weekend – Contra

5. “Stubborn Love” – The Lumineers – The Lumineers

6. “Demons” – Imagine Dragons – Night Visions

7. “Wings”– Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist

8. “Explosions” – Ellie Goulding – Halcyon

9. “Undercover Martyn” – Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History

10. “Swimming Pool (Drank)” – Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city


SIDE B: Feeling audacious

1. “Other People” – Beach House – Bloom

2. “Old Pine” – Ben Howard – Every Kingdom

3. “Tongue Tied” – Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Song

4. “Lightning Bolt” – Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg

5. “Safe and Sound” – Capital Cities – Capital Cities EP

6. “Nights Like This” – Icona Pop – Nights Like This EP

7. “Show Me Your Stuff” – Diamond Rings – Show Me Your Stuff

8. “Vehl” – Kidnap Kid – Single

9. “White Noise” ft. AlunaGeorge – Disclosure – Single

10. “Feed Me Diamonds” ft. Raven – MNDR – Feed Me Diamonds




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.


It’s going to be a musical summer in Montreal

The season of flip flops, short shorts, fedoras and tank tops is upon us. Some of the best things are securely tied to the summer months in Canada, like patios, sangria and sun tans, and so too are some of the best music events in Montreal.
This year’s lineup for Osheaga Music and Arts Festival promises to be Montreal’s biggest music event. The city’s crowning festival glory has secured what has got to be the festival’s dopest musical lineup in recent memory, featuring S-n-double-o-p D-o-double-gee, Florence and the Machine, Sigur Rós, The Black Keys, Justice, Feist, and quite literally tons more. Weekend passes are available starting at $217, with day passes available later in the summer. The three-day-long festival will be rocking Jean-Drapeau Park from Aug. 3 to 5.
Montreal’s most famous musical event, however, has got to be Montreal Jazz Festival. In the 30 years that the festival has been bringing world-renowned musicians to the various festival venues scattered throughout downtown Montreal, it’s rare that the organizers have received a bad review. This year’s festival runs from June 28 to July 7. Performers include James Taylor, Montreal’s own The Barr Brothers, pop music icon Liza Minnelli, ‘90s R&B romantic Seal, Ontario folk project Timber Timbre, blues sweetheart Nora Jones and Roma-style indie rockers Beirut, among others.
If you want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo a few days early, treat yourself to a performance by the ‘80s and ‘90s princes of funky alt-rock: the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After announcing their split following the tail end of their Stadium Arcadium tour in 2007, fans weren’t sure if or when they should expect the L.A. outfit to make their comeback. In August 2011, they finally released their tenth studio album I’m With You and began planning their next tour. Although their tour was postponed due to frontman Anthony Kiedis’ foot surgery, it’ll be worth the wait.
As if that wasn’t enough good music to blow your brains out, Radiohead plans to make a stop at the Bell Centre on June 15 after thoroughly touring the U.S. and before jetting off to Europe for the remainder of their tour dates. Supporting their most recent album, The King of Limbs, it’s the band’s first full release and subsequent tour in four years.
If you long for some real nostalgia, The Beach Boys will be bringing a little slice of retro California sunshine to the Bell Centre on June 20, while Roger Waters will be performing The Wall live at the Bell Centre on June 26. Looking for something with a little more weight? Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper will take the Bell Centre stage on July 11, and don’t forget Vans Warped Tour on July 14, which will feature tons of heavy punk-rockers, including Lostprophets, Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, All Time Low, Anti-Flag and Senses Fail.
No matter what your musical taste, Montreal is where you’ll find great music practically every night this summer. Hundreds of bands, from jazz to rock to pop to country, will be making a stop in this lively summertime metropolis, so keep your ear to the ground for concert announcements and you won’t be disappointed.


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

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