Osheaga is this weekend! Here is all you need to know:


In its 11th instalment, Osheaga has come a long way from its early days back in 2006. It all started with an idea, a beautiful city with strong musical credibility, an acclaimed music scene, and a two-day festival on Labour Day weekend. From then until now, Osheaga has moved to the last weekend in July / first weekend in August (weekend of Civic Holiday for non-Quebec citizens), expanded to a 3-day festival, and gained praise as not only the #1 festival in the country, but the #11th best festival on the planet, as per Pollster. The festival’s growth hasn’t come without its share of commercialization and subsequent criticism for morphing into a ‘cash cow festival’, yet more income leads to a larger budget for bookers, ultimately providing them with the ability to afford some of the biggest acts in the world, spanning across all genres of popular music. With over 120,000 attendees at Osheaga 2015, and that number expecting to grow in 2016, having a widespread line up would appear to be the smartest method of satisfying as many music fans as possible – regardless of their genre preferences.

The transition and outward growth of musical acts has had a huge hand in the festival’s evolution and growth in popularity as well. What started as a medium-sized, indie-heavy, domestic-heavy Canadian music festival quickly turned into a Coachella / Bonnaroo sized party. I can attest to this sentiment; as in the past four years of attending Osheaga, I have seen headliners that span the genre spectrum from the likes of French electronic duo Justice, Snoop Dogg (during his ‘Snoop Lion’ phase, who took the stage 45 minutes late with blunt in hand), Brit-rock legends The Arctic Monkeys and the Detroit-via-Nashville guitarist Jack White.

Through all of the flashy headliners, Osheaga has remained true to its roots by featuring heavy Canadian content during non-headliner time slots on all stages. This year features numerous locals to the Montreal indie scene, including Wolf Parade on their comeback tour, Grimes, Half Moon Run, Kaytranada and Busty & The Bass, with many of these groups having already played the festival before.


As stated earlier, Osheaga has given itself the objective of discovering local (Montreal) and domestic (Canada) talent, and offering those acts the opportunity to play alongside some of the biggest musical talents in the world. To find confirmation of this feat, one needs to only look at the festival’s line up each year, while considering that most headliners in each respective year were either near or at the top of the popular music hierarchy. Conversely, the plethora of local/Canadian bands that have been featured at Osheaga as ‘breakthrough’ artists were usually billed before finding their musical niche and footing in their particular scene. To exercise this sentiment, lets pull a few years and take a look at not only the disparity of headliners to emerging artists, but at what point these artists were in their musical careers around the time they were invited to play Osheaga.


Headliner: Sonic Youth, who just released their most commercially accessible album to date, 2006’s Rather Ripped

Emerging: Wolf Parade, a Montreal indie band who had only their debut album, Apologies to the Queen Mary, to their name (though a critical darling, and released through Sub Pop, the album failed to chart in Canada)


Headliner: The Smashing Pumpkins, following the release of their first album in 7 years (Zeitgeist) and comeback from a 5-year hiatus

Emerging: The Most Serene Republic, a Milton, Ontario post-rock band who had one album to their name, Underwater Cinematographer (via Arts & Crafts)


Headliner: The Killers, with two critically and commercially acclaimed albums, Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town, under their belt, and their 3rd album Day & Age on the way

Emerging: The Wooden Sky, a Toronto indie-folk band who had just released their debut album, When Lost At Sea


Headliner: Coldplay, Brit-rockers who were arguably the biggest band in the world at the time after releasing their 4th album, Viva La Vida

Emerging: Hollerado, an indie-rock band from Ottawa who had just self-released their debut album Record In A Bag as a free digital download, which would later be re-released by multiple labels


Headliner: The Arcade Fire, Montreal indie-rock band who – that very weekend, released their 3rd and most critically/commercially successful album, The Suburbs, which launched them into the indie-rock stratosphere and also into the consideration of one of the biggest bands in the world

Emerging: Bahamas, the moniker of Afie Jurvanen, a self-taught guitarist from Barrie, Ontario who had previously worked with Feist and Zeus, amongst others, though only yielded a debut album of his own at the time, Pink Strat


Headliner: The Black Keys, who after just releasing Brothers and El Camino, were the biggest rock band on the planet

Emerging: Half Moon Run, a Montreal-based indie band who only yielded a debut album to their name, Dark Eyes, which was a huge success – though it had only been available for 4 months prior to Osheaga 2012


Headliner: Radiohead, a progressive-thinking rock band from England who are undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of all time (Rolling Stone) and have just released their 9th studio effort, A Moon Shaped Pool

Emerging: Busty & The Bass, a Montreal-based electrosoul/hip-hop collective of McGill University students who currently have two EP’s and an explosive live set to their name

THE SETTING: Parc Jean Drapeau, on Ile Sainte-Helene, Montreal, Quebec



WayHome Festival


Osheaga has stepped up its food game in 2016 relative to its previous years in existence. My personal experiences with Osheaga from my past four years of attendance do not yield fond memories with regards to the culinary aspect of the weekend’s festivities. Whether it was being a festival attendee on a budget, or having a relative displeasure with overpriced hot dogs and poutine, I developed a tendency for a large breakfast at my accommodations to start the day, a liquid/alcohol diet throughout the day at the festival grounds, and a large, late dinner at the conclusion of the festival, preceding the night out in beautiful Montreal. Thankfully, I can change my culinary itinerary this year, as Osheaga is featuring numerous exquisite food vendors to choose from, as seen below:


On top of the basic festivities that will take place at Osheaga 2016, the festival also features ‘Osheaga Presents’. Osheaga Presents is basically a bunch of shows in local Montreal venues, generally featuring bands that will be performing at the festival itself. These shows take place before, during and after the festival dates and they can be quite a fun time and different experience from the actual festival. The Osheaga Presents schedule features the following:

  • Wednesday July 27 Bloc Party Imperial Bell
  • Thursday July 28 Silversun Pickups Imperial Bell
  • Thursday July 28 La Tournee Osheaga 2016 Theatre Le Patriote
  • Thursday July 28 Shaydakiss Casino de Montreal
  • Thursday July 28 Elephant Stone, Walrus Le Divan Orange
  • Thursday July 28 Ryan Playground Belmont Sur le Boulevard
  • Thursday July 28 Sophie Newspeak
  • Friday July 29 Boris Brejcha Newspeak
  • Friday July 29 Snakehips & Goldlink Theatre Fairmont
  • Friday July 29 Dragonette Casino de Montreal
  • Saturday July 30 Kaytranada Belmont Sur le Boulevard
  • Sunday July 31 Synapson & Sophie Tukker Newspeak
  • Sunday July 31 Foals Theatre Fairmont
  • Thursday August 4 L’artist world d’Osheaga Osheaga Artist World
  • Tuesday Sept 20 Young The Giant Metropolis
  • Wednesday Sept 21 The Kills Metropolis
  • Saturday Oct 8 Kongos Metropolis

Furthermore, Osheaga will also play host to numerous different artists creative works with its annual instalment of ‘Osheaga Arts’. This instalment will feature the works of the following artists:

  • Emily Jan Quebec
  • Kirsten McCrea Ontario
  • KWEST Ontario
  • Loopkin Quebec
  • Melissa Del Pinto Quebec
  • Olivier Bonnard Quebec
  • En Masse Pour Les Masses Quebec
  • Peru&Panga Ontario
  • SCAN Quebec
  • Stikki Peaches Quebec
  • The Doody’s BC
  • Young Jarus Ontario

The art on display all over Parc Jean-Drapeau at Osheaga Music & Arts Festival is truly a sight to behold, particularly in the forest at sundown. Also, my lone past experience with an Osheaga Presents show was definitely a memorable one, when I saw Jon Hopkins and Four Tet at SAT. This year, Kaytranada at the Belmont looks to be a show of similar atmosphere and excitement.

My Schedule: 

Instead of a Playlist, I’ve decided to get more interactive and share the schedule that I have curated with the Osheaga website’s favourite highlighter (http://www.osheaga.com/lineup/schedule/#!programmation=grid$byHour/), see below:


  • 1:00pm Classixx Scene Piknic Electronik
  • 4:00pm Wolf Parade Scene Verte
  • 6:00pm Bloc Party Scene Verte
  • 7:00pm Half Moon Run Scene de la Riviere
  • 9:00pm Vincent Staples Scene Verte
  • 9:00pm Red Hot Chili Peppers Scene de la Riviere


  • 2:00pm July Talk Scene de la Riviere
  • 4:00pm Kurt Vile & the Violators Scene de la Montagne
  • 5:00pm The Arcs Scene de la Riviere
  • 5:00pm The Range Scene Piknic Electronik
  • 6:00pm Best Coast Scene Verte
  • 7:00pm HAIM Scene de la Riviere
  • 7:00pm Busty & The Bass Scene des Arbres
  • 8:00pm Death Cab For Cutie Scene de la Montagne
  • 9:00pm Future Scene Verte


  • 4:00pm Leon Bridges Scene de la Riviere
  • 5:00pm Grimes Scene de la Montagne
  • 6:00pm M83 Scene de la Riviere
  • 6:00pm Nathaniel Rateliff Scene Verte
  • 7:00pm Disclosure Scene de la Montagne
  • 8:00pm Radiohead Scene de la Riviere

STANDOUTS: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Death Cab For Cutie, M83, HAIM, Leon Bridges, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Classixx

VERDICTS: Osheaga has been a model of consistency for its entire 10-year history, and there is every reason to believe that such a trend will continue in its 11th instalment this year. Why not grab a weekend pass, take the 6-hour trek down the 401 eastbound to Montreal and check out Parc Jean-Drapeau and everything else that this beautiful city has to offer? FYI: the Monday following Osheaga weekend is Civic Holiday in Ontario, so if you answered ‘work’ for the previous question, keep in mind that it’s long weekend for Ontarians. From personal experiences, the extra day to completely write off due to travel and withdrawal helps big time.

Buy Tickets Here


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