I Went to Osheaga, Then I Went Home.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


You see, it all started about four months ago when a couple of friends and I decided we’d like to go - so we made plans to go.  And so you have the complicated beginnings of what turned out to be an unbelievable adventure full of crime and mystery…

Osheaga is a 3-day music festival on an island in Montreal.  You have to take the subway there, or swim across a canal.  Or take a ferry, I dunno.  Come to think of it, I don’t even remember seeing a ferry anywhere.  And on that note, I can’t really say that at all since I spent the two days sitting on a hill.  Osheaga is setup with several stages in different places in the park (Jean-Drapeau), the two main stages being the River Stage and the Mountain Stage, which are side by side.  The acts switch back and forth from one stage to the next, so if you’re lazy like me you can just plop yourself on the hill in front of the ‘Osheaga’ sign and call it a day.

My friends arrived on the Friday (day one), and I didn’t get there until much later that evening so my experience was only two-days worth.  Saturday started with us winding up in a random neighbourhood of Montreal, slightly cranky and desperate for coffee - a couple of our other friends had advised us that they’d located a brunch place.  It turned out to be a place called Caffe Mariani (restaurantmariani.com), and oh man - it was good. I’m a sucker for tin ceilings and lightbulbs hanging off ropes, and this place had both.  I’m also a fan of tons of bacon and eggs all around me, and this place had that too.  It also has beer ham.

Beer ham.






Pretty sure that didn’t rhyme.

That aside, we stuffed our faces and went on our merry way.  The subway ride isn’t too long from downtown Montreal to the metro by Parc Jean-Drapeau, but getting off the subway with hundreds (thousands) of other people can be daunting if you don’t like large crowds.  If you don’t like large crowds, you shouldn’t be going to a music festival anyway.  Know what I mean?!  

It took awhile to get into the actual festival, and by the end of the weekend you’ve been herded so much that you start associating with sheep and just really might start sympathising with them more.  The plight of the sheep is a story that simply isn’t told enough.  Imagine being herded around all day long, being forced to chew on grass blades that MAYBE you don’t want to chew on?  No, you don’t understand.  But go to Osheaga and get herded once or twice, then check your privilege.

On Saturday we were herded towards security, our bags were not checked at all and we were in.  On Sunday, they were thoroughly checking for some sneaky-booze!  You think that water looks like vodka?  Or that your vodka looks like water?  Think again!  Did you know that when you shake a bottle of vodka, it turns bright pink and blasts directly into the security guard’s face?  Yep.  I’m just saying, be careful.

Now apart from all that, Saturday and Sunday are kind of blurred together in my mind.  They were long days full of sun and sitting for extended periods of time on a sloped, slightly grassy hill.  If you’ve ever sat on a sloped, slightly grassy hill for hours upon hours then I give your butt SO much sympathy right now.  My butt is seriously angry.  My butt is not my friend.

Some points, observations and random notes a la Osheaga that  I absolutely need to address on this highly popular blog: 


I know that guys pee anywhere and on anything, left right up down wherever the heck they want, but until you’ve seen a weird tiny town of peepods then you’ve seen nothing (in the urinal world, I mean). What is a peepod you may ask?  It’s just that - a pod with four podiums for men to stand on, all facing eachother/the middle of the platform.  And then, they pee.  At the end of the festival, the most popular peepods were so full that there was pee-mud all around the peepod.  I’m so glad I’m a girl and didn’t have to partake in that.  But I did have to partake in the…


Parc Jean-Drapeau is big, and has many mini-compounds of port-a-potties.  And since there were over 100,000 attendees at Osheaga, that means there is high demand to pee anywhere other than a pee-pod or a bush.  Line-ups form somewhere in the middle of the compound, and so the Weird Compound of Port-A-Potties Game begins.  

Picture a semi-circular cluster of about 15 portas, and three line-ups of 30 people each waiting outside.  The three line-ups are fairly close together, and every time a door to a toilet opens, it’s a race to see who gets there first.  You can imagine the frantic looks on everyone’s faces, as they wonder if they will luck out next and have the door RIGHT IN FRONT of them be the one to open next!  It’s a fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping game.  

There is a bonus level though, which was discovered on the Sunday.  Certain port-a-potties actually ran out of toilet paper, throwing a wrench into the whole game.  Do you rush for any door that opens as the need to relieve overcomes you?  Or do you hang onto that last tiny bit of hope, and ignore the porta that you know doesn’t have toilet paper?  One wrong decision could cost you dearly.  It’s not a game for the faint of heart, and I applaud everyone who partook in this challenge.



The sexy dancers are the same girls (mostly) that you see in King West clubs any night of the week, but this time they’ve shown up to a music festival in Montreal.  The sexy dancers will dance sexy to any song by any band, and as soon as a the one line of song they do know comes on, they stand up on the hill and really get into it.   They have two recognizable dance moves, depending on the musical style: the right hand air-slap (try doing it yourself, and you’ll know what I mean) and the silent finger snapping hip-sway (try that one too). I do strongly applaud them for their confidence!  As I observed this while sitting on a hill quietly like a groundhog and being generally boring.


These teens think that Any Music Festival = Woodstock.  No matter what.  Think floral headbands.

I’m all for expressing peace and harmony, by the way.  Especially all year round - and I would take the floral headbands MUCH more seriously if you wore them to work, young people!  Learn to commit to your beliefs, don’t just wear them in the form of a floral headband you bought at the merch booth for three days and three days only!  It’s time to wear that floral headband to the library.  How about wearing it to class?  Why not wear it to KFC? 


Same as above, but wearing anything crochet.


Same as above, but wearing rubber boots when the sky is clear.


This one is fully my own issue, the days are long and tiring and full of multiple visits to the Coors Light beer tent, 10 feet away.  When you spend long hours sitting under the sun, watching thousands of people go by, you’re bound to mistake someone for a celebrity.  I’m not just talking any celebrity here, I’m talking Canadian actresses, probably from Degrassi or The L.A. Complex.  I also thought I saw that one Jonas brother’s wife.  None of them were who I thought, by the way.

The bros at Coachella weren’t quite as expressive or diverse, unless you count the guy wearing a “white girl wasted” tank!  Oh, you.  His female accomplice was wearing the same shirt but it said something about molly on it.  Oh, you.

There were a few types of bros that deserve mentions, purely for their entertainment factor.

#1 - The Bodybuilder Shirtless Brah

This guy travels in packs of 3 or 4, and does not wear a shirt the entire day.  Baseball hat, Oakleys, low-slung shorts, necklace and other jewelry, but no shirt.  This guy will consistently stand up in the centre of the crowded hill and pretend to be looking for something, while bending around and flexing special muscles.  This guy was not really a problem for many people, tbh.  

#2 - The Dudebro Packs

Dudebros travel in larger packs, and wear all-fluorescent ensembles.  Sidenote - I love how spell-check attempts to correct ‘dudebro’ to ‘rosebud’.  Anyway, the dudebros will do alot of yelling, cheering and general ignoring of the actual concert going on right in front of them.  The dudebros will start mini dance-parties in front of the Coors Light tent.  The dudebros will try to force their girl friends to twerk for a free Coors Light.

#3 - The White Guy Singing Along to K-Os Singing Rihanna

Guy ignores K-OS’s entire set, then looks to be brimming with joy when K-OS randomly begins singing ‘Umbrella’ by Rihanna.  Guy is filled with gratitude and recognition and begins shouting  ‘Umbrella’ lyrics.  Guy is happy.  

Honestly though and joking aside, the people at Osheaga were generally very chill and happy.  Everyone was in good moods and left each other alone.  Except for the Americans that possibly peed on my friend’s foot.  But other than that, great people.  They generally want to listen to music and enjoy the weather, and that is what happened.  I wish the audience in front of the main stages had a little more energy though, a bit of head bopping (my specialty) is fine for the hill, but show some signs of life when you’ve made the effort to secure a sweet spot in front of the stage!  Knowwhatimean?!

A couple of favourite memories due to exhaustion and copious amounts of beer(?):

-me and a pal having a seriously in depth conversation of how a band could possibly be done already?  You see, the projectors had gone dark after a song was played, so we instantly assumed the band was done.  As we were discussing this, we failed to notice the band was still playing.

-me and a pal thinking we were watching Hollerado,  and were then confused when they ended so quickly.  Turns out Hollerado was playing at the stage next door. 

-a group of us turning the Lumineers’ song “Ho Hey”  into a song called “Jorge”,  I don’t know how it happened.  Wait, yes I do.  Someone said ‘oh hey!’, then it went something like this:









And much excitement ensued.  We’re a wild bunch, we are.  

The beer was reasonably priced at $6.25 a cup, or $7.25 for a tall boy.  There were also dudes carrying flats of beer throughout the crowds, which was awesome. 

I missed a few bands I wanted to see, including Capital Cities and The Cure, who played Friday as well as the Neighbourhood and Hot Chip who conflicted with other bands on Sunday.  I did however manage to see The Heavy, Tegan and Sara, Imagine Dragons, Stars, K-OS, Macklemore, Big Boi, Kendrick Lamar, Silversun Pickups, The Lumineers, New Order and of course Mumford & Sons. 

I loved Silversun Pickups, and while they were playing Lazy Eye the only downpour of the weekend happened.  I was wrapped tightly in my poncho, and perhaps the most epic moment was when the word ‘sunshine’ was belted by the singer, right when the rain was at its worst.  And, almost the exact moment the song ended the rain stopped and the sun came out, as did a rainbow.


No seriously, that really happened.  Check Instagram.

I also got to hear New Order play Bizarre Love Triangle live…this really filled me with joy for some reason?  One of my favourite 80’s songs of all time.  They also played Blue Monday.  Which makes me think of Cheap Monday jeans now.  No relation there. That was a thought that didn’t really need sharing.

 Mumford & Sons were fantastic live but the only downside was that it got extremely cold and ponchos had to be used as emergency blankets.  Ponchos + gusty wind = lolwtf


I will leave this post with an image of the only merch I got from the festival.  The picture on this item is fantastic for two reasons.  

1)It’s a cat.

2)It’s a cat wearing the same floral headbands I partially mocked above.


I just remembered leaving the festival.  You’d think waiting for a bit would help you later on down the road, but no.  When there are that many thousands of people leaving, you just have to go with it.  You gotta go with the flow, man!  ‘Going with it’, by the way, means standing in crowds of thousands of people and getting herded again.


It actually wasn’t TOO bad, they must have ordered more subway service because it only took about an hour and a half to get back to downtown Montreal from the park.  And that includes waiting in the crowds, and the subway ride back.  


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