Osheaga Survival Guide 2016

You finally bit the bullet and decided it was time to stop sitting on the sidelines. All your friends are doing it, so why aren’t you? That’s right, you are headed to Osheaga 2016 in Montreal. You are spending the whole weekend – July 29 to 31 – on an island partying and listening to live performances by such notables as Radiohead, Cypress Hill, the Lumineers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Death Cab For Cutie, Lana Del Ray, and many more established and up-and-coming bands. You bought your tickets (which is good since they are all sold out at time of press) and there is no turning back now. But are you ready for it all?

First started back in 2006, this summer musical festival has quickly become on par with the Glastonburys, the Governor’s Balls and Lollapoolozas in terms of attendance and cool music acts. And it gives Coachella a run for its money in terms of festival style, so be warned there will be lots of ‘street’ style photographers. Osheaga takes place in beautiful Parc Jean-Drapeau, which is actually on island across the St. Lawrence from downtown Montreal. This creates a great space for the concert goers but provides some challenges. One must be prepared. Here is our rundown:

What To Bring

  • Your Osheaga wristband (you would be amazed how many friends I have been with that have to turn around to go get theirs).
  • Sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. It gets very hot in Montreal during the summer – so be prepared.
  • A disposable plastic poncho or water-resistant lightweight jacket. Hot summers also bring with them surprise rain showers.
  • Your phone (and a waterproof bag to seal it in to protect it from the rain).
  • Cash!
  • Comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Open toe shoes are okay if you are willing to risk toe injuries but avoid flip flops at all costs.
  • Bug spray (you just never know).
  • An extra shirt just in case you get soaked and want to change.
  • One re-useable plastic water bottle per person (they have fill stations on site).
  • Download the Osheaga app and plan your schedule (IOS | Android)
  • Toilet paper or tissues (better safe than sorry)
  • A small backpack to pack it all into.

What Not To Bring (check the website for complete list)

  • Alcohol, illegal drugs and related paraphernalia
  • Glass bottles, cans, hard-sided coolers.
  • Pets (unless it is a service animal).
  • Megaphones, musical instruments.
  • Fireworks, flags, and banners.
  • Beach balls, soccer balls, Frisbees, large umbrellas, skateboards, and tents (this isn’t a camp site).
  • Laser pointers, water guns, and video recording equipment.
  • Selfie sticks and drones (but you know better right?)
  • First Nations headdress and other ‘festival’ gear in poor taste (this is Canada, you should know better).

How To Get There

  • The easiest way to get there is still by the Metro (aka Subway). To get to the site from Montreal, board the metro’s yellow line at Berri-UQAM station in the direction of Longueuil. Its a one-stop trip. Easy. You can buy a metro card for the weekend (from Friday at 10am to Monday at 5am). The metro card can be purchased on Thursday July 28 or Friday July 29 at ticket counters. Just be prepared for lines and do not wait until the very last act is done if you want to avoid 45 plus minutes queue.
  • If you insist on driving. Good luck. And following the instructions on the Osheaga website. Car2Go is offering a promotion that weekend. Check it out here.
  • By bicycle or by foot. Take the cycling lane on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge or take the Lachine Canal cycling path, near the Old Port, and follow the directions for Cité du Havre, then for Parc Jean-Drapeau. There is bicycle parking near the festival site.

Once You Get There

  • The site is full of beer, wine and liquor kiosks. And if you get hungry, you will find lots of local Montreal food trucks to fill the void.
  • Know where to find the lost and found – it’s right near the entrance or call 514-521-7469 if you can’t find the lost and found.
  • The Perrier Greenhouse offers a great place to chill out and cool down. This fully air conditioned space is equipped with a DJ and bartenders serving Perrier inspired cocktails. It will be the ultimate place to keep cool and enjoy refreshing Perrier cocktails (including the launch of two new flavours – Perrier L’orange and Lemon!)They will even feature some exclusive performances from Ryan Playground, Karim Ouellet + many more.
  • Coors Light has a WiFi Chill Zone if light beer is more up your alley. This place features hammocks and as much Coors Light anyone could ask for.
  • H&M has set up a festival tent where you can buy any clothes you forgot to bring with you. A bandana or tattoo? They’ve got you covered. The tent includes wifi and charging stations. Located near Entrée 2.
  • Vans has set up an interactive booth where you can customize some plain white vans and includes some gnarly skateboard demos.
  • You can check out all the on site activities here.
  • Lockers to stow your personal items are also available for $15 a day.
  • And remember to stay hydrated. And have fun.

The After Parties: Keep the party going at one of the official after-parties and check out all that Montréal  has to offer! Saint-Laurent Boulevard (aka “The Main”) or rue Saint-Denis are always a fair bet. The Old Port has become quite popular in recent years. And the Gay Village always knows how to party (and is not far from the island). When in doubt, ask the locals where their favourite bars are or what restaurant to hit up.

Christian Dare
Christian Dare spent much of his formative years working in the fashion industry as a National Visual Manager before he turned his attention to writing. He currently writes for AmongMen, Complex and his own blog, Christian Dare Edited. You can find him online at www.christiandareedited.com or follow him on Twitter @christiandare but he is more fun on Instagram @christian_dare
Christian Dare