Every year, we all wait, we all hope that this year’s line up will be better than the last. Every year though, the lineup is almost unnecessary, as throngs of Montrealers act nonchalant and underwhelmed, always expecting someone better, because, I mean, where’s Kanye’s collab with Radiohead and the Black Keys and Prince or something else equally fucking ridiculous and also impossible in every realm. We will all complain but we will all buy tickets. We say we will wait for single day passes to be released because we’re not really into anyone worth seeing on Saturday, you know it’s all about Sunday, but the anxiety of a sold out festival overtakes us as we all buy 3-day passes in the middle of work on a Thursday morning. We come to our senses. We have Outkast. We have Jack White. We have Ryan Hemsworth. We have everyone.
OSHEAGA IS UPON US, FRIENDS. And here’s how you can take advantage of all 3 days to the best of your abilities, because I believe in you, and I only want the best for you. Basically what I’m saying is don’t forget sunscreen, okay? Now let’s get started.
First and obviously foremost, food. Find it and bring it. Osheaga has rules concerning what you can and cannot bring on to the festival site. You can bring basically any food but zero alcohol. There is also a pretty gorgeous spread of food trucks on site, which is also a prime location to potentially meet musicians who got lost trying to find Chuck Hughes’ catering tent and then end up asking you what a poutine is.
While the food truck scene is pretty out of control delicious, the lines can sometimes be a life ruiner. No one wants to be standing in line for a waffle when you could be within arm’s length of Andre 3000. Long story short, packing a picnic can be an ideal alternative. This way, at least if you get sunburnt you’ll do it while eating a sandwich you made yourself instead of a 14$ hotdog.
So those are the general rules, but also, rules are for chumps. I’m not condoning sneaking in alcohol, but I am neither confirming nor denying that a friend and I have successfully snuck in two tall cans inside of a hollowed out baguette.
…Actually no, I am definitely confirming this as it will probably stand as one of the pinnacles of my life, right up there with my university diploma. (Bonus: You get to eat the only slightly soggy bread after.) But if you try to 007 this thing, just know that you run the risk of getting it confiscated.
Also, in exploring the sprawling festival site, I recommend finding all the stands handing out free samples, because when all else fails and you’re standing in the middle of a gaggle of matching tank top wearing bros, at least you will have hoarded several snack-sized packs of beef jerky.
Second up, equipment. Personally, whenever going out or going to a show, I try to bring as little as possible; no purse – just cramming everything, folded, into my back pockets. But Osheaga is different; it’s basically three 10 hour long mini vacations, so pack accordingly. Bring a small backpack for your food/money/wallet/definitely-not-booze. EDIT: In the time between the initial draft of this and right now, Osheaga decided to implement an amazing new locker system. Basically, you rent these lockers for the day to stow your belongings and that’s that. Also, you can access your locker at any point during the day.
Also, put your cell phone in a ziploc bag – it’ll protect it against rain, giant hoses, beer and bro sweat.
Third up, clothing. The weather fluctuates like a motherfucker at these things, and at least one day will always be forecasted for rain. Regardless, I recommend wearing minimal clothing. You’ll be fine if it’s sweltering, and you’ll have less soaking wet clothes if it does end up raining. But garbage bag raincoats are disposable, light, and probably the way to go if you’re into staying dry. They can also be extremely stylish – rip the sleeves off, make a toga, turn it into an American Apparel dress – you do you, boo.
Oh, one more note fashion-wise: Please leave your flower crown at home – this one’s just for me, as I hate them.
Last up are the logistics, which I think is a fancy business word for planning stuff.
It always helps to make a bit of a plan of action before going each day. Find out where the stages are as well as the best routes. With every passing year, the concert site changes and expands, so try to get familiar with the easiest ways to get around. Also, if faced with a conflict, I recommend going with whoever is on a smaller stage. It’s way more intimate, and unless you get to the stages early, the headliners usually have crowds so big you won’t be able to tell if you’re looking at Kaytranada or Lorde.
I have never regretted doing this. I still regret giving up on Rudimental for Ellie Goulding but I am so grateful I ran to Angel Haze during the last half of Beck.
So if one performer cannot be sacrificed for another, I’d suggest leaving performances a few minutes early to get a jump on the crowds shifting from one stage to another. But in reality, there’s tons of people everywhere all the time, so my advice that basically overrules everything I’ve said, and everything in general, is just don’t be a jerk. Everyone’s going to the same place. Everyone’s there for the same reason. We all love each other or at least the beer/blazing heat will make us think we do. So if anything, maybe try to make some friends.
Lastly, do not even try to take any other method of transportation besides the metro. It’s the easiest and most convenient and the wait really isn’t that long considering 100,000 other equally sticky and exhausted humans are also trying to get the hell out of there.
Osheaga is taking place this weekend, 1-3 of August at Parc Jean Drapeau.
Get your last-minute tickets at Osheaga.com.
About Anna Ralph
Anna Ralph is a born-and-bred Montrealer and a soon-to-be Torontonian, but don't remind her. She obtained her bachelor's degree in philosophy in her hometown at Concordia University, which basically means that at any given moment she is contemplating the essential causes of a smoked meat sandwich. She drinks too much coffee but won't stop. Sorry, dudes.