Crowd in 2012 and Montreal skyline in the background
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Founded by||Nick Farkas|
|Date(s)||Last weekend of July and/or first weekend of August|
|Genre||Music festival, arts festival|
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 inaugural 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, Ben Lee, James Chance and the Contortions, Brazilian Girls, Percy Farm, Patrick Watson, We Are Wolves and Land of Talk.
Osheaga is a title given to the particular region of Canada now known as Montreal. The name came to be after Jacques Cartier, one of the first European settlers there, miscommunicated with the local Mohawk people. As the story goes, Cartier approached the Lachine rapid waters. There, he reportedly began waving his hands in either an attempt to inquire about the water conditions or to greet the tribe. The Mohawk oral history states that the Mohawks met these gestures with confusion, calling Cartier “O she ha ga,” or people of shaking hands. Cartier noted the term “Osheaga” to describe the rapid waters, whereas the Mohawks used the phrase to specify where they met the men with shaking hands.
The inaugural edition of Osheaga termed itself a “music and arts festival.” It took place on Labor 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. 50 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.
This year’s 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.
Saturday: The Magic Numbers, World Party, The Stills, Malajube, K-os, Amon Tobin, Sonic Youth
Sunday: Islands, Wolf Parade, G. Love & Special Sauce, Damian Marley, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
Saturday: Grace Potter, Joseph Arthur, Vulgaires Machins, Dinosaur Jr., Metric, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Sunday: Starsailor, Ben Lee, Dobacaracol, Bedouin Soundclash, Kid Koala, The Flaming Lips
Saturday: Crystal Cliffs, HushPuppies, Think About Life, Bush Tetras, Duchess Says, We Are Wolves, James Chance, Brazilian Girls
Sunday: Zombie, Herman Düne, Call Me Poupée, Final Fantasy, The Hidden Cameras, Bell Orchestre, Lady Sovereign
Saturday: Mission District, Yoav, Major Maker, Dirty Tricks, The Colour, The Shys, Wintersleep, Born Ruffians, Matt Mays & El Torpedo
Sunday: TAM, Shoot the Moon, Tokyo Police Club, The Meligrove Band, Basia Bulat, Patrick Watson, Land of Talk, The Mongrels, Holy Fuck
Saturday: Interactive Video, Vj Pillow, Hvw8, Solid State, Ckut, Intorchao
Sunday: Vj Pillow, Hvw8, Mark Robertson, Solid State, Intorchao, Interactive Video, Kid Koala
Saturday: Donzelle, Thunderheist, The Clientele, Santogold, Adam Kesher, Explosions in the Sky, Mike Relm
Sunday: Gray Kid, Peter von Poehl, Pas Chic Chic, Au Revoir Simone, Miracle Fortress, The Besnard Lakes, M.I.A.
Saturday: Lesbo Vrouven, Ohbijou, Ideal Lovers, The Veils, The Nymphets, Panthers, Fucked Up, CPC Gangbangs, The Heights, Hank Pine and Lily Fawn
Sunday: Dragonette, The Most Serene Republic, Krief, Sunday Sinners, Pony Up, The Royal Mountain Band, Harvee, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Elsiane, Plaster
Saturday: The Wooden Sky, La Patère Rose, The Tom Fun Orchestra, Luke Doucet & The White Falcon, Le Husky, Chocolat, Payz Play, Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains, The National Parcs
Sunday: Esker Mica, Chris Velan, Cœur de pirate, Robertson, Shawn Hewitt & The National Strike, Rock Plaza Central, The Enemy UK, Radio Radio, Bonjour Brumaire
Saturday: Jesca Hoop, Silver Starling, Parlovr, Gentleman Reg, Flash Lightnin', The Rural Alberta Advantage, Chinatown, Winter Gloves, Woodhands
Sunday: Le Volume Était Au Maximum, Lanan, Lil Andy, Arkells, Amazing Baby, Ladies of the Canyon, Heartless Bastards, Hey Rosetta!, Hollerado
Saturday: Shane Murphy, Rich Aucoin, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, K'naan, Keane, The National
Sunday: GALACTIC with CYRIL NEVILLE, Ian Kelly, Ariane Moffatt, Charlie Winston, Snoop Dogg, Metric
Saturday: Skip The Use, Owen Pallett, Dan Black, Japandroids, Jamie Lidell, Beach House, Robyn
Sunday: Sennheiser Winner, Still Life Still, Blitzen Trapper, The Antlers, We Are Wolves, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Devo
Saturday: Daniel Isaiah Schachter, Ingrid Michaelson, Final Flash, Little Scream, Bahamas, Avi Buffalo, Marie-Pier Arthur, Fran Healy, The Unsettlers
Sunday: Cotton Mouth, Ariel, Hannah Georgas, Horse Feathers, Amanda Mabro, The Morning Benders, Pawa Up First, Frank Turner, Ra Ra Riot, Tim Barry
Friday: Kid Koala, Charles Bradley, Bran Van 3000, Eminem
Saturday: The Midway State, Hey Rosetta!, John Butler Trio, Karkwa, Death From Above 1979, Elvis Costello & The Imposters
Sunday: Typhoon, Eels, Cypress Hill, Beirut, The Tragically Hip, The Flaming Lips
Friday: The Knux, Broken Social Scene, Janelle Monáe
Saturday: The 222s, Manchester Orchestra, Tokyo Police Club, Sam Roberts Band, Lupe Fiasco, Bright Eyes
Sunday: The Sheepdogs, Frightened Rabbit, The Sounds, Malajube, City and Colour, Death Cab For Cutie
Friday: Lights, Glass Candy, Joseph Arthur, Timber Timbre
Saturday: Passwords, Oh Land, Braids, Twin Shadow, Sia, Ratatat, Bassnectar
Sunday: Sherlock, An Horse, Smith Westerns, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Ellie Goulding, White Lies, Crystal Castles, MSTRKRFT
Friday: Sweet Thing, Uncle Bad Touch, Ana Tijoux, El Ten Eleven, The Rural Alberta Advantage, The Barr Brothers
Saturday: Jesuslesfilles, The High Dials, Mother Mother, The Mountain Goats, Suuns, PS I Love You, Anna Calvi, Sam Adams, Fucked Up
Sunday: Elephant Stone, Jimmy Hunt, Freedom or Death, The Luyas, Viva Brother, The Joy Formidable, The Low Anthem, Shad, Baths, Galaxie
Zone Piknic Electronik
Friday: Slim Jim, Alaclair Ensemble, Comic Strip, MC2, DJ Cosmo
Saturday: DUVALL, Egyptrixx, DâM-Funk, Jacques Greene, Robot Koch, Robot Koch, Girl Unit
Sunday: A-Rock + Shaydakiss, Dillon Francis, Jeremy Ellis, Jamie xx, Claude Von Stroke
The final lineup was announced on July 10, 2012 and includes:
Friday: LP, Fun, Radio Radio, Franz Ferdinand, Florence + The Machine, Justice
Saturday: The Dø, Portugal. The Man, Plants and Animals, Dumas, Garbage, Snoop Dogg
Sunday: Zeus, Aloe Blacc, Common, Passion Pit, City and Colour, The Black Keys
Friday: Charli XCX, The Walkmen, Down With Webster, Amadou & Mariam, The Weeknd, Sigur Rós
Saturday: Kathleen Edwards, Calexico, Young The Giant, Brand New, Feist
Sunday: CHAPPO, Dan Mangan, Tame Impala, Santigold, The Shins, Metric
Friday: Hey Ocean!, Poliça, Bombay Bicycle Club, Of Monsters and Men, Gary Clark Jr., Classified, MGMT
Saturday: Memoryhouse, The Aggrolites, Cursive, The Raveonettes, ASAP Rocky, Yeasayer, The Jesus and Mary Chain
Sunday: Peter Peter, The Airplane Boys, The Airborne Toxic Event, Austra, Woodkid, Bloc Party, M83
Friday: Solids, Yukon Blonde, Freelance Whales, The Jezabels, Dum Dum Girls, Atlas Sound, Wintersleep, Half Moon Run, Les Breastfeeders
Saturday: Propofol, Karim Ouellet, Kandle, Black Lips, Young Galaxy, Arkells, Avec pas d'casque, The Death Set, The Sheepdogs
Sunday: Doe Paoro, Zola Jesus, Koriass, Michael Kiwanuka, James Vincent McMorrow, Sandro Perri, The Black Angels, Asexuals, Keys N Krate
Zone Piknic Electronik
Friday: Funkyfalz, Prison Garde, Mak 10 & Hyper MC, Huoratron
Saturday: Simon Called Peter, Kaytradamus, Nosaj Thing, Brandt Brauer Frick, SBTRKT, Little Dragon, Adventure Club,
Sunday: Vosper, Zombie Disco Squad, Le Matos, Buraka Som Sistema, Madeon, Wolfgang Gartner, Knife Party
The 2012 edition of the festival sold 120 000 tickets in total.
Saturday: Grouplove, Jimmy Eat World, Stars, K-OS, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Friday: Majical Kloudz, Guards, DIIV, Lianne La Havas, Jake Bug, The Gaslight Anthem, Beach House
Saturday: Wild Nothing, Yelawolf, Lou Doillon, Tricky, The Breeders, Explosions in the Sky, C2C
Sunday: MNDR, Bad Things, Little Green Cars, Icona Pop, Holy Ghost!, Father John Misty, Misteur Valaire, Hot Chip
Friday: Ponctuation, Hyphen Hyphen, Wild Belle, The Head and the Heart, Palma Violets, Cafeine, Diamond Rings, Rich Aucoin
Saturday: Corb Lund, Groenland, Deap Vally, Loud Lary Ajust, Frank Turner, Bob Mould, We Are Wolves, Angel Haze
Sunday: Nightbox, Les Soeurs Boulay, Shovels & Rope, Hannah Georgas, Dusted, Hollerado, The Neighbourhood, Death Grips,
Zone Piknic Electronik
Friday: Millimetrik, EC Twins, Carnage, Kidnap Kid, Rudimental, Vilify & Henward, Jets, Baauer, A Tribe Called Red
Saturday: Humans, Rone, Amtrac, Cajmere, Soul Clap, Azari & Ill, Bonobo, Style of Eye, Jacques Lu Cont, Porter Robinson
Sunday: DVBBS, Odezenne, Robert DeLong, Floating Points, Jackmaster, The Knocks, Gramatik, Tommy Trash, Disclosure, Pretty Lights
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Osheaga.|
- (French) 
- Dunn, Bryen (2012). "Review: Osheaga sells out to capacity." Digital Journal. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
- Dunlevy, T (2006). "Osheaga: one more summer festival joins lineup: Labour Day Weekend. Music and arts event will focus on indie performers." Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Dunlevy, T (2006). "Osheaga: It's outdoor, It's Indie and it's all ours. A musical extravaganza is about to hit Montreal, lining up 50 bands - big and small - over two days. Where to first?". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Dunlevy, T (2007). "Osheaga; Sophomore jump last year's festival was a blast; now, the stakes are raised even higher." Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Dunlevy, T (2008). "Osheaga 3.0; By adding big names like Jack Johnson and the Killers to an eclectic roster, the Osheaga fest is aiming to broaden its appeal". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Dunlevy, T (2009). "One act down, but almost 50 to go; The Osheaga Festival's organizers were thrown for a loop last week when Beastie Boys pulled out. One of the hottest live bands around saved the day, as did the overall strength of the two-day lineup." Montreal Gazatte. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Dunlevy, T (2010). "A cohesive music fest that runs on solar power." Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- 25 March, 2010. "Montreal-based Gillett Entertainment Group changes name to Evenko." The Canadian Press. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Dunlevy, T (2010). "A cohesive music fest that runs on solar power." Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Hickman, A (2011). "Oh-shay-ga? Oh-she-aga? Either way's music to our ears; Montreal fest 'already sold more tickets than ever."National Post. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Dunlevy, T (2011). "Eminem sets attendance record; Superstar rapper overshadows other acts with fast-paced set that sparks fan frenzy." Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Dunlevy, T (2012). "Osheaga sells out; Despite the absence of an Eminem-level megastar this year, the festival crushed its attendance record set in 2011." Montreal Gazette. Retrieved11 August 2013.
- Dunlevy, T (2013). "A field trip for the masses; After years of building its brand, the three-day blowout has become a destination event for music lovers." Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Bendahan, A (2013). “Osheaga through the eyes of a Montreal man about time." Retrieved 10 August 2013. http://o.canada.com/2013/08/06/review-osheaga-through-the-eyes-of-a-montreal-man-about-town/
- "General Info - Past Lineups". Osheaga. 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-03-14. Retrieved 2010-03-14.