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About Osheaga Music Festival (Via: Wiki)
The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival (French: Festival de la musique et des arts Osheaga) is a multi-day indie music festival in Montreal, Quebec, that is held annually at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène every summer. The festival takes place on five stages with various audience capacities. Translated from their French equivalents, they are called “River Stage,” “Mountain Stage,” “Green Stage,” “Trees Stage,” and “Zone Picnik Electronik.” Each performance area is paired with a sponsor. Band set times fluctuate based on the status of the performer within the festival. Emerging artists play 30-minute sets, and headliners conclude each day with 90-minute plus sets. The 2006 festival attracted a crowd of around 25,000 people. The 2012 festival reached its 40,000 attendance capacity each day.
Artists who played at the Osheaga Festival include Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Sonic Youth, The Flaming Lips, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Dinosaur Jr., k-os, Metric, Damian Marley, G. Love & Special Sauce, Wolf Parade, Bedouin Soundclash, Joseph Arthur, Malajube, Lady Sovereign, Kid Koala, Starsailor, Islands, Amon Tobin, Porter Robinson, Bell Orchestre, Think About Life, Duchess Says, Final Fantasy, The Hidden Cameras, Tokyo Police Club, The Stills, Jake Bugg, Ben Lee, James Chance and the Contortions, Brazilian Girls, Percy Farm, Patrick Watson, We Are Wolves, Mumford & Sons, Beck, The Cure, Imagine Dragons, New Order, Two Door Cinema Club and Land of Talk.
Since 2006, the Osheaga Music and Arts festival has established itself as the most important festival of its genre in Canada. With its numerous outdoor stages located at parc Jean-Drapeau on Montreal’s Saint Helen’s Island, Osheaga attracted 120 000 music lovers from North America and Europe last year. A huge celebration dedicated to music and visual arts, Osheaga has given itself the objective of discovering local and national emerging talent offering them the opportunity to play alongside some of the biggest international artists in the business including: Coldplay, The Killers, Iggy & The Stooges, Sonic Youth, The Roots, Rufus Wainwright, Arcade Fire, Weezer and Eminem. Over the course of several days, approximately 100 bands will take to the various stages at parc Jean-Drapeau and across the city in the festive ambiance that only a Montreal summer can provide. Osheaga also holds a series of concerts and exhibitions in several locations around the city during the week leading up to the main event. For its ninth edition, the Osheaga Music and Arts festival, presented by Virgin Mobile, promises an exhilarating experience with, among others: Jack White, Outkast and Skrillex.
The inaugural edition of Osheaga termed itself a “music and arts festival.” It took place on Labour Day weekend, September 2–3, 2006. Nick Farkas, a concert buyer for Gillett Entertainment Group at the time, presented the event. Noticing a lack of similarly themed music venues on the East Coast, Farkas hoped to take advantage of Montreal’s newfound credibility among indie music listeners. “People love Montreal. Let’s not kid ourselves—that makes it attractive (to bands), but it’s hard for people to take a chance on a first year fest.” Farkas attempted to establish a lineup of underground artists that would appeal to both discerning fans and the broader public. Coordinators aspired to transform the festival into a destination event. “That’s the goal—to get people talking about it, and coming form all over,” said Farkas in 2006.
Osheaga’s sophomore year began to take stride with the Smashing Pumpkins, M.I.A, Feist, and the Arctic Monkeys. Accordingly, organizers hoped to imitate the previous year’s success by hosting an assortment of indie performers. “The fest offers an array of quality, mid-level alternative bands. But put them together—here’s the key to Osheaga’s success—and you have a headliner by committee.” In keeping with the festival’s name, Osheaga coordinator’s also incorporated several Montreal-based bands including the Sam Roberts Band, Stars, Dumas, Sixtoo, Pawa Up First, Pony Up, the Royal Mountain Band, Sunday Sinners, and Pas Chic Chic.
Moving to the first weekend in August, the third Osheaga festival broadened its indie appeal by incorporating The Killers, a rock group, and Jack Johnson. Crowds initially complained that Johnson would muddle the festival’s persona, but Farkas asserted, “…in (his) philosophy—everything fits.” At this point in Osheaga’s lifespan, the event was not a financial success. However, the inclusion of more recognizable headliners was intended to draw more expansive crowds. Secondary acts consisted of Metric, The Black Keys, Cat Power, and The Kills. Osheaga 2008 occurred August 2–3 at Jean Drapeau Park, Montreal.
The fourth installation of the festival originally slotted Coldplay and the Beastie Boys as the two-day event’s leading performances. However, the Beastie Boys were forced to withdraw after Adam Yauch was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his salivary gland. Event organizers filled the opening with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, a then up and coming rock group from Brooklyn. 450 refunds were granted to attendees that requested them. Otherwise, reactions to the set change were positive. Despite these setbacks, the fourth Osheaga festival was the first edition to make a profit. Fifty acts performed on 4 stages from August 1–2, 2009, including Girl Talk, Lykke Li, Jason Mraz, the Decemberists, Arctic Monkeys, and Vampire Weekend.
In its fifth year, Osheaga welcomed Arcade Fire and a host of eclectic sets to its venues. The MEG stage was replaced by the Green stage—a wind and solar powered platform. In keeping with this environmental consciousness, free bike parking and public transit to Jean Drapeau Park was also offered. After the sale of Gillett Entertainment Group, Osheaga fell under the promotion of Evenko. However, Nick Farkas, the company’s Vice President of Concerts and Events, continued to head the festival. Roughly 30% of ticket sales in 2010 came from Montreal, 20% from Ontario, and 12% from the United States.
The sixth annual Osheaga festival sold more than 81,000 tickets—more than any previous year. It was also the first three-day incarnation of the event. Eminem closed out the Friday performances, signifying a turning point in the festival’s development. 38,000 attendees, the largest single-crowd seen since Osheaga’s inauguration, stretched the venue’s 35,000 capacity. Despite the absence of a similarly high-profile performer, the seventh edition of Osheaga in 2012 sold out at 120,000 total attendees over the three-day weekend from August 3–5, 2012. Farkas credited the surge to 2011s big-name lineup and the festival’s recognition outside Montreal. Eminem’s performance inflated the festival’s presence among American and European markets, making it a destination on an international scale.Headliners in 2012 included The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg, Justice, M83, MGMT, Feist, Sigur Ros, and the Jesus and Mary Chain. However, the once intimate festival layout made for reportedly frustrating navigation among such massive crowds.
In 2013, the festival continued to out-do previous sales, selling out in record time with a total of 135,000 audience members. In fact, 70% of tickets were purchased from outside the Quebec province. To accommodate these growing numbers, the site at Jean Drapeau Park was expanded to a 42,500-person capacity. The lineup slated Mumford & Sons, The Cure, and Beck as the main attractions, followed by Phoenix, Imagine Dragons, Vampire Weekend, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, New Order, The Lumineers, Tegan and Sara, and Kendrick Lamar. Physical organization of the venue continued to present issues in light of foot traffic-prone crowds. “Adequate flow patterns are something we never thought of before,” said Farkas. “We were always focusing on the lineup, and making it better than the last year.”
Ranked by Pollster as the #1 festival in Canada and the #11 festival in the world, Osheaga has grown significantly since its inauguration. Some have criticized the pronounced commercial presence at this year’s festival; however, those same reviewers admit that the lineup quality has been well maintained since 2006. In total, the festival has presented more than 600 performances to more than 400,000 audience members.
In 2014, the festival added a sixth stage, the Valley Stage. The lineup features headliners such as OutKast, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex, Lorde and The Replacements.