You know when you reflect on a really fantastic experience, “Man that was the best 2 weeks of your life?” Well, I can honestly say that Osheaga 2013 was the best three days of my young life.
The three day music festival had over 135 000 attendees and over 100 different artists, ranging in genre from EDM to Hip-hop to pure rock classics. Standouts included Disclosure, Mumford and Sons, Ben Howard and of course Kendrick Lamar. Daughter was also a delightful surprise, sounding like a calmer Florence Welch. Also, Vampire Weekend’s set was transporting. I felt like I was back in grade 11, jamming out to “Oxford Comma” and “A-Punk.” The Heavy also had a sweet set.
The festival took place in Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal. The wooded paths, ponds and open fields created an environment that seemed completely removed from the ordinary world – magnified by the atmosphere of festival-goers and hundreds of staff. Everyone was smiling, even the babies wearing massive noise-blocking headphones and the overworked food-truck burger slingers. When I say smiling, I mean beaming. You know that stereotype that Woodstock laid out for festivals? The flower crowns, the sporadic dance circles, people loving life and wanting you to do the same? Well, that pretty much summed up Osheaga 2013. I saw complete strangers join hands and foot stomp to Mumford and Son’s anthem “I Will Wait,” or fall in love while belting out Disclosure’s sexy track, “Latch.”
To step away from the music and turn a FIMS eye on the festival, screens were ever-present. People were watching their favorite artists perform through their smartphone or camera, rather than just enjoying the music and atmosphere. Whatever picture or video that was then captured was then uploaded, so again the attention was somewhere other than on the performance people paid money to see.
Some artists made a point to tell their audiences to turn off phones before the show. The Lumineers are known for this. The group asked audiences at their other summer concerts to turn phones off up to three times. At Osheaga however, The Lumineers stayed silent – even when lead singer Wesley Schultz came out into the crowd and had girls holding their phones up to his chin tweeting “OMG, the Wesley scruff! New husband must-have! #beard #Osheaga2013 #hubby4lyfe”
Perhaps the band gave up the struggle because social media was everywhere at the festival. Tweeting contests, interactive games involving wristbands and Facebook, you name it. Festival-goers were encouraged to be on their phones constantly, plugging their experience online. That said, the screens could be cracked. For instance, when Macklemore belted out ’10 Thousand Hours” or Groenland serenaded her fans with “Immune,” people did put down their phones and just were in the moment. You would look over the crowd of thousands and see the swaying moving bodies and realized that you were one of them, for once not alone together in technology but together in life and in music. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
Madeline Marmor is the Marketing Coordinator for OPENWIDE Volume 14, and a fourth year honours student in MPI. When asked what she wants to do after Western she’ll proclaim, ”I love to talk and I love people, so anything with both I’m set.” These two loves plus her ongoing affair with anything eatable makes her open to meeting new people, discussing new things, and somehow, relating it all back to food.