If Nick Farkas “never heard so many French people” in the crowds at the Osheaga festival whose program he orchestrates, it’s because of the unprecedented influx of Quebecers into Parc Jean-Drapeau, which has helped cushion the absence of foreign travelers Roll the dice.
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According to him, half of the 120,000 spectators who overlooked the vast site of Île Sainte-Hélène live in the province of Belle. Typically, around 65% of visitors are from outside of Quebec; a demographic upheaval that can be explained by “uncertainty”.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of living, it has become riskier than ever for foreign travelers to plan a trip several months in advance. Additionally, the amazing occupancy rate of hotel rooms in the area made it almost impossible for anyone to attend the festival on a whim.
“I’ve never seen that in my life,” notes Nick Farkas. That’s really good for the city [mais] less good for us. The encouraging thing is that Quebecers have been there like never before [auparavant]. »
Although the festival did not set a visitor record this year, the program director could hardly draw a negative balance of the event. Despite a multitude of pitfalls — on top of which was the inevitable labor shortage — Osheaga proceeded smoothly and at possibly the best-conceived point in its history.
“We have the best festival grounds in North America,” he says without embarrassment. We take it for granted, but when people come from everywhere [ils trouvent que] it is spectacular.
We’ve been through a difficult time. To see the world come in and let off steam after three years of shit, wars, negativity and COVID […] was cathartic. »
A final full of energy
The most anticipated show of the weekend was undoubtedly Dua Lipa, even though the quintessential pop star had performed at the Bell Center six days earlier.
Physical, new rules, love again: The British singer, whose popularity has skyrocketed during the pandemic, chained planetary successes in a whirlwind storm in a glitzy black outfit. And despite the presence of dancers, instrumentalists and a choir of singers, Dua Lipa seemed completely alone in the world, ruling the stage like an empress.
Previously, it was Alan Walker – one of the most popular DJs in the world – who set things on fire. The author of Faded and Alone directed the audience like a puppeteer.
Within a very short time, the large area in front of the Scène de l’Île was occupied by fans of electronic music, which led to one of the most eventful concerts of the festival.
QMI Agency, Toma Iczkovits
Safia Nolin with bassist Agathe Duperé.
A quiet but attentive crowd enjoyed a moment of reflection in front of the small Trees stage.
The harmonious contrast between the soft and diffuse voice of Safia Nolin and the “dirty” sound of the accompanying instruments was of disconcerting beauty and gave the festival-goers a breather before the final sprint of the festival.
QMI Agency, Toma Iczkovits
Apashe was one of the artists present at this fifteenth edition.
Big crowd for the adopted Montrealer.
Arriving on stage accompanied by a mini orchestra of wind instruments, the Belgian DJ drew the skeptical looks of the newcomers before making them dance and jump at will, proving the solidity of the bridge he built between classical and electronic music.
A great experience.
Photo agency QMI, Toma Iczkovits
The audience enjoyed Zach Zoya’s show on the green stage.
Backed by live musicians and his collaborators Benny Adam and Soran, the Rouyn-Noranda native demonstrated his talent as a singer rather than a rapper. After performing several R&B and soul-leaning songs, the 7th Heaven Records protégé capped his performance with the brutal trap track Slurpee.
– Félix Desjardins, special collaboration