Published on August 1st, 2017 | by Adrien Begrand0
Osheaga 2017: What to Expect, Who to See?
What to bring? Who to see? We’re here to help you navigate this year’s Osheaga festival so you can focus on having a great time.
For those returning to Osheaga, the 2017 version will be considerably different. Because the regular festival site at Parc Jean-Drapeau is undergoing long-overdue renovations, the festival has been moved from Île Ste. Hélène to the adjacent Île Notre-Dame. In addition to being a much cozier set-up, with all six stages closer together than usual, it’s a longer hike from the Parc Jean-Drapeau metro station, so be ready for a long walk in the summer heat. In the end that’s a small sacrifice, considering the bevy of talent performing at this year’s fest.
For first-timers, though, it’s best to be prepared. While many will be there partially to make a fashion statement – though the popularity of rompers continues to baffle yours truly – for those who prefer practicality, here are some quick survival tips:
- Bring disposable wipes. Trust me.
- Bring a water bottle and drink lots of free water, but make it a clear bottle. You wouldn’t believe how many S’well bottles are confiscated.
- Pack a lunch. There are plenty of food options at Osheaga, but it’s expensive, and besides, you’re in a fabulous city when it comes to cheap eats. Hot tip: go to La Vieille Europe on St-Laurent, load up on charcuterie, and buy cheap plastic containers at Dollarama a few doors down. It’s even better if you can make it to St. Viateur for bagels as well.
- Bring good hiking/walking footwear, especially if you plan on seeing as many artists as possible.
- Keep your eye open for corporate freebies, from Coke, to beef jerky, to energy drinks, to rain ponchos if there’s a downpour.
- Go with an open mind. There’s a good chance a musician you’ve never heard of will blow you away and become an immediate favorite.
- Pace yourself. If it gets too hot and tiring, the fest does a brilliant job setting up “chill out” areas.
- Respect everyone around you. Don’t be the drunken asshole. That’s what country festivals are for.
- Skip La Banquise for late-night poutine afterward. Go to the Pool Room on St-Laurent for the real deal.
Nine Artists to See at Osheaga 2017:
Andy Shauf, Friday, August 4
2:30 PM (Scène des Arbres)
Saskatchewan’s favourite indie export will bring his laid-back, melancholy indie rock to what should be a similarly mellow afternoon. What he lacks in charisma – to say he is understated is, well, an understatement – is made up by the ingenious music he writes and the immaculate performances he and his ace band pull off time and again.
De La Soul, Friday, August 4
4:10 PM, Scène Verte Sonnet
The Long Island trio’s classic hip hop sound is a far cry from what’s popular these days, and frankly their fun, psychedelic-tinged music will be perfectly suited to a summer afternoon. It’ll be worth it alone to hear tracks from their seminal debut 3 Feet High and Rising.
Tove Lo, Friday, August 4
5:40 PM, Scène de la Rivière
The Swedish pop singer-songwriter stole the show at Osheaga a couple years ago with an ebullient, charismatic performance, and now on the heels of 2016’s excellent album Lady Wood, she returns to Canada an even more assured and commanding presence. Not to be missed.
Broken Social Scene, Saturday, August 5
6:30 PM, Scène de la Montagne
Yeah, this is the festival’s version of dad rock, and expect all the kids to flee towards the food stands, but the Toronto mainstays are enjoying a nice little renaissance these days, promoting their solid album in Hug of Thunder. With a rotating cast of many Canadian indie icons, they always put on a life-affirming show.
Solange, Saturday, August 5
7:20 PM, Scène de la Rivière
This year’s pick for the highlight of Osheaga 2017, Solange Knowles has been proving to one and all that she’s a hell of a lot more than just Beyoncé’s little sister. With a phenomenal album in 2016’s A Seat at the Table and a live show that’s been generating huge buzz this year, she’s on the cusp of well-earned superstardom.
Father John Misty, Saturday, August 5
8:20 PM, Scène de la Vallée
While Josh Tillman’s shtick is quickly becoming tiresome, the guy’s talent is undeniable, and the man puts on one hell of a show. His witty, self-effacing folk rock, not to mention his flamboyant persona, is bound to make for another memorable Osheaga appearance.
Muse, Saturday, August 5
9:20 PM, Scène de la Rivière
Although Muse peaked more than a decade ago, the British trio excel at bombastic stadium rock, and performing in front of more than 30,000 people is right up their alley. It’ll be worth it for the spectacle alone.
Zara Larsson, Sunday, August 6
2:05 PM, Scène de la Montagne
In 2016 Danish up-and-comer MØ charmed the daylights out of the afternoon crowd, and rising Swedish star Zara Larsson has been given a similarly plum time slot this year. Riding the popularity of “Lush Life” and “Never Forget You”, her blend of R&B and tropicalia is sure to go over well.
Run the Jewels, Sunday, August 6
5:40 PM, Scène de la Rivière
One of the most crucial hip hop acts today, the collaboration of El-P and Killer Mike has yielded a series of peerless albums, including this year’s RTJ3, and the only thing better is witnessing the chemistry between the two artists in person. Potent, clever, funny, and wickedly hard-edged, these guys are an absolute blast.
Photo Credit: Adrien Begrand