On Sunday night, while some of you were in the comfort of your home mesmerized by how Missy Elliott stole the Super Bowl half-time show or getting ready for the start of the week, a small crowd of courageous Montrealers headed to the Igloofest. With a similar amount of layers to an astronaut suit we headed straight to the dance floor. Igloofest presented to us J.U.D., Keys N Krates & Tiga on the main stage.
A few hundred people were present, some of them in full blown party mode, while others kept close to the heat stations, bars and fireplaces. The mood was good. Personally, I kept on telling myself, “You’ve got to do it for TIGA,” and honestly, it was totally worth it. While the MTL DJ himself kept the Grey Goose and the beats flowing, his fans were tripping out to remixes of Bugatti and many other songs.
Three weekends down, and one more weekend to go. If you haven’t gone to the fest yet, you have one last chance to attend next weekend. No matter how cold it gets, I assure you, it will be wild.
As you may remember, we recently covered the opening night of Igloofest. It was awesome, but freezing. They don’t call it ‘Igloo’fest for nothing!
If you don’t happen to have one of those epic 80s-90s fluorescent ski-suits, or a dinosaur onesie, you can still go to the festival, wearing a more casual attire, and hit the dance floor. So lets get right into it.
The trick? Layers. For all the new comers to the frozen lands, layers are a good – if not the best – way to avoid discomfort in harsh winters. If you have a pair of snowpants, put them on, and do it now! If you don’t, wear a pair of heat holders or “long-johns.” It will do the trick. This should keep you warm on a daily basis – and you will need this extra warmth six months per year.
A funky toque, a scarf, and a good pair of gloves – the classic winter attire, and voila! You are good to go. Another thing you can do is picking up some heat packs for both your hands and your feet at your local pharmacy, or purchase it at the festival.
The point is, layer up folks but don’t over do it, it could be counter productive if you do.
Keep the warm wine flowing, and get your dance moves on. Worst case scenario, they also play some music indoors. Canadian winter is no joke. So suit up, and get ready to dance!
This weekend on Sunday, I attended Igloofest for the first time. The weather had uncharacteristically warmed up – above zero degrees! – and I knew that the universe was telling me to make merry and go rave to Flosstradamus.
Flosstradamus is a DJ duo made up of J2K (Josh Young) and Autobot (Curt Cameruci) from Chicago, who has worked with big DJ names like Diplo and A-trak, and also rap stars like Kid Sister, Juicy J, and Waka Flocka Flame. They produce music that is a perfect blend of EDM and trap, bridging the two genres together in an intense way that will get you “Too Turnt Up” or TTU for short.
They performed on the Sapporo stage with flashing graphics of purple and green weed leaves. Two fans were waving huge American flags at the front of the stage and it was a mix of wonderful and random things that felt like a hallucinogenic cartoon.
While I was raving along on top of the Jagermeister truck, it was snowing lightly – the kind of snow that is fluffy and unintimidating that made everything look like it was covered in shimmering glitter. I knew it was meant to be. There were ice sculptures everywhere – tall beautiful symbols of shining capitalism that spelled out brand names like Jagermeister and Sapporo. Other than the Igloosnacks and Igloodrinks you could get in heated trucks, there were ice slides and a hockey rink. What a true Canadian gem!
With all the looming dilated eyes, Igloofest was truly a molly winter-wonderland. The soft snow made the whole experience feel magical, while the raving EDM music coming from the Sapporo stage took you to a different world of colourful bodies, dressed up in silly costumes like the Power Rangers and animal onesies. It was a hypercolour free-for-all that everyone was vibing to.
The crowd began chanting “ROLL UP!” on Flosstradamus’ command, everyone lighting their joints in solidarity and excitement. A layer of smoke rose above the crowd, the familiar dankness hitting me at the top of the bouncing Jagermeister truck. There was so much smoke coming from the crowd, that it looked like the bouncing bobbles on the colourful Igloofest hats were on fire. At one point, you couldn’t tell the difference between the smoke coming from the half-lit Js and people just breathing. Flosstradamus flattered the crowd by stating that Montreal had the best weed in Canada, and the crowd screamed back with joy.
This is what Josh Young and Curt Cameruci do. They are charismatic, talented hypemen who curate their set to such precision that they can get the crowd jumping, smoking, chanting, and dancing at their will. At one point, Flosstradamus transitioned from the kind of chaotic, high-energy trap rage that is “Waka Flocka Flame,” to a tribute song for their fallen homie ASAP Yams, who passed away recently. Flosstradamus has a diverse set of talents, from creating fiery bangers you’ll want to destroy the town to, to producing sweet electronic melodies like “Rebound” and “God’s Whisper.” Their style is fun and intense – a lot of their tracks feature minimalistic, yet heavy trap beats with rap verses that build up to an explosive bass drop that is heavier and dirtier than most EDM tracks care to explore.
The point is, Flosstradamus will get you moving.
For the last half of their set, they started playing “Rebound,” and it was beautiful and cathartic. After going hard for an hour and getting their crowd pumped up, it felt like the performance came full circle by ending on such a sweet melodious note.
Igloofest is still going on every weekend until February 8. If you’re in town, this is one show that you will definitely not want to miss out on. It is like nothing you have ever experienced before (unless you’ve already raved to colourful bouncing Canadians dancing to the beat and to the snow) and it is a memorable night for any Montrealer. Come for the ice sculptures, come for the music, come for the silly costumes. Either way, you won’t regret it – Igloofest is a surreal and wonderful music event that is more of a PLUR-fuelled circus.
It’s Igloofest in MTL – bang! It was fairly cold Friday night, so you know, I had running shoes on and no scarf, right!? I did on the other hand have a good homie hook me up with one of those fleece neck warmer joints, though. Respect. The scene was wild: people in full digital camouflage snowsuits, characters that looked like they’ve just walked off a ski resort, and these five or so dudes that were pimping full length fur coats. I was chilling in the heated area for a bit, they have these bleacher type structures – not comfy so one can’t stay long.
Time to check this party out though – finished my water and zipped the North Face up. We walked right into the Sapporo Scene. Diagraf, also known as Patrick Trudeau was spinning – great visuals too. That euro-house flavor, except the dude’s from here. The grounds really started filling up around 9 PM and I had to go for shelter again. There’s something disconcerting about big juicy bass lines and -20 with the wind chill.
Got some spiced hot chocolate and went to check out BBBlaster at the Videotron stage. It was bumping hard, people had become good and lubricated by then. I made my way to the front center, you know. Lol. Very good set, though. I actually sweated; then paid the price in chills after. At some point I got a text saying hold up your phone – and bang, one of the most exclusive dudes I know appears out of a throng of dancers and bear hugs me in the pit. Big respect. Classic session, was a lot of smoke in the crowd, everyone grooving. We know how to get down in MTL. I ended up at the Sapporo stage for Gui Boratto. The place was bonkers by then. I stayed and kicked it for about 20 minutes but could not regain an acceptable core temperature. Real talk, blue lips.
Igloofest is its own thing, unique vibes. The night was fresh. Cool people, some all city chillers even. For real, though, if you’re planning on going to Igloofest this year, bring a scarf. I’ll see you around one of those hobo cans filled with burning wood. Holla.
2015 has been off to quite a busy start, but before we get too involved, let’s take one final look back at 2014.
Every year we ask our contributors to vote on the favourite two posts they wrote and the two posts they liked most from all the other contributors on the site. Then, in a not-too-scientific manner, we turn that into this list.
In no particular order, these are the top posts of 2014 on FTB:
After the grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri erupted. In Montreal, the Black Students’ Network of McGill organized a vigil. Cem Ertekin was there to report and record audio and Gerry Lauzon took pictures (read the post).
We only published one post about Jian Ghomeshi this year: Johnny Scott’s satirical response to the overbearing presence of Ghomeshi images in his Facebook feed. The story is important, but do we really need to keep looking at his face? (read the post)
Did you know that Igloofest started out as a joke? Well, it did, and now it’s anything but. Find out about the fest’s origins and its future in Bianca David’s interview with founder Nicolas Cournoyer. (read the post)
When municipal workers took up the fight against austerity, Jason C. McLean wondered if it was possible to show solidarity with those who didn’t reciprocate. Also, would that even be a good thing? (read the post)
This year, we covered Just for Laughs, OFF-JFL and Zoofest. One of the more, um, interesting performances we saw was by Brody Stevens (he had a cameo in The Hangover). Find out why it piqued our interest in this report by Jerry Gabriel. (read the post)
Lindsay Rockbrand just wanted to lay down for a few minutes on a park bench, but the SPVM wouldn’t let that happen. Even though it was before 11pm, they managed to give her a ticket for being in a park after hours (read the post and listen to the interview)
It’s not usual for a year-in-review piece to make it to the list of favourite posts, but Stephanie Laughlin’s look at the events of 2014 as a reason feminism is still needed bucks that trend. Find out why. (read the post)
Our April Fools posts usually catch a few people (usually those just waking up) off-guard, but in 2014 we really seemed to have hit a nerve. Maybe it’s because the scenario we jokingly proposed wasn’t all that inconceivable, given the climate. (read the post)
This year, McGill held a conference on oil and Canada’s energy future. It welcomed people with sustainable solutions to our dependence on fossil fuel and Ezra Levant. FTB’s Sarah Ring and Jay Manafest were in attendance. (read the post)
No, this isn’t just in here because it mentions Ygritte from Game of Thrones, but that helps. It’s actually a pretty cool interview by Pamela Filion with Leigh Janiak, Rose Leslie’s director in Honeymoon. (read the post)
This piece by Cem Ertekin is a prediction of what’s to come in the Quebec student movement (SPOILER ALERT: We’re in for another Maple Spring). It’s also a great primer for anyone wanting a rundown on just what austerity is and Quebec politics for the last few years. (read the post)
The 2014 edition of Igloofest has been a record-smashing success. The team behind Montreal’s favourite winter music festival really outdid themselves this year. In addition to adding a fourth weekend, they have increased the capacity of the second stage from 200 audience members to 700. The result: opportunity for more people than ever to experience what has become an important fixture in our city’s wintertime nightlife scene.
Saturday, February 8–Igloofest’s closing night–provided the icing on the cake with a completely sold-out show. In fact, a huge number of people hadn’t bought tickets in advance and were turned away. In all, the 2014 edition of Igloofest received over 85 000 visitors spread out over 12 nights. This year featured the work of over 100 artists from around the world, including those who provided visual projections.
The creators behind Piknic Électronik never imagined their winter offshoot, Igloofest, would achieve the level of success that it has. According to general director and co-founder Nicolas Cournoyer, the idea of Igloofest came about as a joke during a post-Piknic meeting over eight years ago. The team were brainstorming ways in which they could take the concept of the weekly, outdoor, summer event further.
“Someone said ‘why don’t we do one in the winter?’ We started laughing,” Cournoyer said, “but then we said ‘hey, why not?’ That would be interesting, that would be original, that would be a good way to help people rediscover winter and tame it and stop complaining.”
It’s hard to believe that something that started out as a joke is now one of the biggest events of the year and has validated Montreal’s contribution to the electronic music scene on the world stage.
Just as in the early days of Piknic, the organizers saw Igloofest as a chance to showcase Montreal talent within the still-underground genre of electronic music. When electronic music broke into the mainstream several years ago, Piknic and Igloofest were primed for a surge in popularity as well and faced enormous opportunity to expand beyond the Montreal scene.
The current flood of musicians operating within the genre is a challenge for anyone to navigate but Cournoyer is happy with the balance the team has achieved in booking acts for Igloofest.
A focus on Montreal is still very much a priority for them. It’s one of the reasons they decided to expand the capacity of the smaller stage from around 200 to 700 people.
They also recognize that international acts can really draw in the crowds but they are very careful about avoiding a certain level of commercialization.
“Because the electronic music scene exploded in the last few years, there’s a lot more commercial stuff. We’re trying to target artists that are not in that class,” Cournoyer said, “first of all, because that’s not the kind of music we like. On the other side, it’s impossible for us to afford it.”
The popularity of electronic music has made it so that some of the most recognizable names in the genre are notoriously expensive to book. Artists like David Guetta and Deadmau5 can charge upwards of $50 000 to $200 000 for a single performance.
“When you go see those artists, tickets are $50 to $60. We’re not interested in that. For Igloofest, you pay $20 at the door,” he said, “it’s a question of philosophy as well. [The commercialization of electronic music] is something strange about what’s happening and it’s too expensive. That’s not how we created the event and how we wanted it to evolve.”
Keeping the price of entry as low as possible is important to Cournoyer since many Igloofest attendees are more interested in the overall experience than who’s providing the beats. It’s the experience that has captured the attention of fans and artists alike across the globe.
“The word of mouth travels fast,” Cournoyer said, “one artist from a label goes and tells everyone else and they all want to experience it. It blows their mind.”
Cournoyer said he’s met people from all over at Igloofest, describing one memorable fan who traveled to Montreal from Argentina for the sole purpose of attending the festival.
While Igloofest’s reputation transcends the borders of Quebec, what outsiders may not realize is that the event has changed the way many Montrealers feel about winter.
In a 2011 TEDx talk for HEC Montreal, Cournoyer described how most Montrealers view winter as a sickness:
As soon as the cold weather hits, many shut themselves indoors and hardly venture out beyond daily necessities like work and school. The cold seems to consume all of one’s being, turning even the most good-natured of us into crabby, incessant complainers. We all know: winters in Montreal are long, dark and horrible.
The key to enjoying yourself is to dress warm and find fun things to do outside that keep you moving, something that is exemplified in Igloofest.
Cournoyer refers to the growing trend of outdoor activities in the city, signifying the population’s willingness to change their feelings towards winter.
“We were thinking let’s make people love winter,” he said, “and that’s something that we’re really proud of, that now people are looking forward to winter.”
Igloofest closing weekend from February 6 to 8, Old Port of Montreal.
As the winter progresses and the winds get harsher, we become more and more inclined to stay cozy through the week and into the weekends… or maybe we just complain more about our country. In spite of our winter lifestyles, Igloofest is doing a pretty good job of getting us out of hibernation. Even in -20˚C weather, the crowds are thick and people are partying as hard as ever. It is pretty novel to suit up in your snow gear to party and play outdoors and Igloofest is the best excuse. I don’t know how to skate, I hate hockey, and I have only had a couple Beaver Tails in my life, but Igloofest makes me feel like a true Canadian!
This was my second weekend at the festival, this time around I feel like I got to enjoy more of the event and it was awesome. The warm up stations were a blessing on such a chilly night, and were even more appreciated when I realized there were marshmallows being offered! I also took the time to check out the Virgin Mobile Igloo, where the crowd was tighter (and therefore warmer), and the locals were banging pretty impressive beats. Not to mention you get to rave in an igloo.
We got there just in time for A Tribe Called Red. I’ve seen these guys a few times as they came out of Ottawa, the city I grew up in. The trio is made up of DJ Bear Witness, Dj Shub and Dee Jay NDN. They perform what they’ve dubbed “Pow Wow Step”, mashing up indigenous song and sound, electro beats, with the occasional mainstream tunes. You can download their album for free at www.electricpowwow.com. Spinning awesome tracks as per usual – these guys never let me down!
Headlining on the 31st was Caspa, a producer from the UK. I started listening into dubstep when I was sixteen. My introduction to it was FabricLive.37, a collaboration album produced by Caspa and Rusko. My heart has a soft spot for the DJ that got me started on the music I spent my formative years dancing to. When I saw him on the lineup I got a little giddy to say the least. His set was better than I had expected, and kept my body moving and my temperature up!
Awesome music is paired with equally awesome visuals at Igloofest. Each weekend brings with it not only guest DJs, but guest VJs. Giving credit to the VJs shows a ton of respect for the craft. Let’s be honest, it happens ever too often that this aspect of the live music scene is less acknowledged. The visuals on January 31st were provided by Chocobeets, and Tind. With the amazing lighting, projection, and screens installed, the VJs have been doing a fantastic job at keeping our eyes happy.
My first Igloofest has helped to make my first Winter in Montreal even more fun. Unfortunately now I’m left longing for Piknik Electronique and the music festivals the summer will bring.
For all our awesome pics from the night check out ForgetTheBox on FB
Photos: Chris Zacchia
Igloofest’s first week is behind us and with such a strong beginning we’re happy they decided to extend it an extra week. That means there are still nine more nights to go. Hopefully Mother Nature will be nicer to us, but like a girl working the festival mentioned: “It wouldn’t be the same if we weren’t freezing cold; only the true electronic music lovers come out and play under these circumstances.” Here are my thoughts on the first weekend, including Wolf + Lamb and performances at the local DJ stage.
Wolf + Lamb proved once again they’re true party animals. They delivered a DJ set that even your mother would have danced to. It might sound negative but when it’s as cold outside as it was last Thursday, a little crowd pleaser here and there is exactly what you need. They put a smile on everybody’s face when they dropped Eddie Murphy’s hit “Party all the time”. They played one of my guilty pleasure “Sensual seduction” by Snoop (when he was still) the Dogg and finished their journey with Detroit anthem “Big Fun”.
Mistress Barbara followed up and you could feel a true connection between her and the crowd. She loves what she does, and in return Montreal fans fought the freezing weather and stayed until the very end.
Talking about Montreal DJs, I was happily surprised by the Virgin Mobile Igloo. Not only that sound quality is way better (it’s a cozy sphere so the speakers are more efficient compared to the outdoor setting), but I must say our local scene is healthier than ever. I got to see G O’Brien, who’s been a techno veteran for years now, formerly involved in the rave scene and later in afterhours such as Sona and Aria. The stage is in a closed, heated area and it literally saved my life last Thursday. It’s definitely the best way to defrost your body and discover new talents. Beware though, the space is small and the line up is long but your toes and ears will thank you for being patient.
Igloofest was not at full capacity on the colder days which made me wonder why they don’t offer a special price for exceptionally cold weather. I mean, not everybody can stay outside when it’s -25 and most people will think twice before spending 20$ when they know they can’t deal with the cold for more than an hour or two.
This weekend we’ll be back covering: Miss Kittin,Ellen Allien, Nina Kravitz, Pan-Pot, TNGHT, and Schlachthofbronx. Here is a bit of a preview.
If you’re a female DJ or just a fan of the female persuasion (and I know there are more and more of us out there), do yourself a favor and attend Igloofest on Thursday January 24th. Miss Kittin and Ellen Allien will be sharing the stage and seeing these two working in the electronic music industry for over a decade has been truly inspiring.
It’s the time of the year where winter seems to be wearing on with no end in sight. We’re all getting tired of the snow but Igloofest is back again to help you dance away the winter blues. For the fifth year in a row, the people behind Piknik Electronik are bringing us Igloofest, 4 weekends of great music and lots of fun in the Old Port. Each year as the festival has grown so have the crowds. This year organizers have prepared 4 weekends of festivities. To help you decide which night you’ll be attending here’s my selection all top acts including both up and coming artists and the not to be missed legends.
Kicking off the festivities on Thursday January 17th, Wolf + Lamb are definitely the right people to get a party started. Here’s a video of a set they did a couple of days ago during BPM. They will have to trade their t-shirts for wool sweaters but expect the vibe to be the same… like a nice mdma trip. Mistress Barbara is also playing that night if you’d prefer the tried tested and true.
Mutek will be showcasing the night on Friday January 18th with DJ KiNK followed by Mathias Kaden. For those who were there when he last came to Montreal in June, you know you have to brave the cold to see KiNK aka Strahil Velchev. For those who missed out, here’s your second chance.
If you followed my advices so far you’ve already attended the first two nights of Igloofest so why not complete the circle and go Saturday January 19th too? The house legend from Chicago, DJ Sneak, will be holding down the decks that night. He will be followed by seasoned party veteran Josh Wink.
If you’re a female DJ or just a fan of the female persuasion (and I know there are more and more of us out there), do yourself a favor and attend Igloofest on Thursday January 24th. Miss Kittin and Ellen Allien will be sharing the stage and seeing these two working in the electronic music industry for over a decade has been truly inspiring.
On February 1st, Magda will be gracing us by her presence. 2012 has been a busy year for her since she left Minus records to found her own label, Items and Things with Marc Houle and Troy Pierce, it will be interesting to see how it has influenced her work.
The next night, February 2nd, has also an impressive booking with the British/Spanish Audiofly and the French Agoria. Audiofly play a powerful, experimental style of music that has been heating it up in underground clubs around the world. It’s a dirty mix of tech meets house that’s sure to impress. Agoria is a little newer to the scene having only really started out in 2009 but already has 3 albums out, you might want to check out his 3rd full length Impermanance, launched in February 2011 which features a collaboration with Carl Craig.
Eager to discover younger talents? Make sure to catch Ben Ufo on Thursday February 7th. Rarely these days do you see a young DJ able to get amazing bookings all over the world without a being a renowned producer. Here’s a young, passionate music fiend that will show you what a true disc jockey should be. After his set be sure to stick around to catch Joe Goddard of Hot Chip!
One last younger DJ you shouldn’t miss is Oneman aka Streatham’s Steve Bishop, performing on February 8th. For any of you, born in the 80’s, you’ll recognise the music you grew up to in his set. Blending dubstep to r’n’b and hip-hop classics, he’ll surely makes the snow melt.
If it’s your first year attending Igloofest you’ll want to be prepared, here are some useful tips.
1. You might want to take Friday off since there are events every Thursday night (as well as Fridays and Saturdays of course) and I doubt you’ll stay sober.
2. We never say it enough but it’s no joke, you gotta wear warm clothes. A snow suit can help you enjoy your experience more but the key is keeping your feet warm. Bring extra socks and make sure your boots are water proof. Finding a crowd of good looking people and dancing close to them can also help.
3. Buy your tickets in advance. It’s cheaper and some nights will be sold out. Seriously it sucks to show up with a bunch of friends and then not get in.
4. Arrive early to avoid line up and make sure you have everything you need cause there’s no re-entry.
5. You can’t bring alcohol, so make sure to pre-drink before hand. They will be selling mulled wine, Sapporo, Jagr and other beverages there.
6. Igloofest ends around midnight but it’s not a reason to stop partying. This year, you’ll be able to get your electronic music fix until 5am at Espace Griffintown. This year a new festival is springing up to keep the party going called Apres Ski. The party starts at 11pm and goes on until 5am every Saturdays during Igloofest. You can see the full schedule and find out more about the festival right here: http://www.apresski.ca/
Forget The Box is also offering up 4 free tickets for you to go to the Apres Ski party with your friends. Simply comment below on this article telling us what you love about Igloofest and share this article to enter!
As part of my continuing “I’ve never…” series, I went dancing outdoors in below freezing temperatures at Igloofest!
Winter in Montreal is unforgiving, bipolar and frette en esti, which is Québecois speak for really freaking cold! I say the only way to get through it is by taking advantage of it as much as you can, in a “can’t beat ‘em, then join ‘em!” sort of way. Shake off the hibernation and get outdoors. Though Montreal is a bustling metropolis, it also has spaces for playing outdoors. Go skating at Beaver Lake, the pond at the Lafontaine Park or in Old Montreal, cross-country skiing at Parc Maisonneuve, snowshoeing on Mount-Royal, winter running/hiking, whatever it is, just find something fun to do outdoors and play in the snow. So what, it’s winter? Get over it and deal. It may be a little killjoy of me to be yet another person writing and talking about Igloofest, but if you hate winter and you hate being outdoors, then I dare you to venture over at least once while you are in Montreal.
For the most part, electronic music is not my thing. I have attended my share of raves and after-hours once-upon-a-time. I’ve had my moments of lust with trance, drum&bass and dubstep. Every once in a while, I need to expense extra energy and freestylin’ my way to the dance floor is one easy way to do it, grooving to the sounds and getting lost in mesmerizing light shows. Igloofest is in it’s 6th edition, located in Old Montreal on the shores of the Saint-Laurent River, and though it has now come to an end, it shows no signs of melting away next winter. The event is brought to you by the same folks that put together Piknic Electronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau during the summer, in aims of democratizing electronic music. Politics aside, this is certainly a must try at least once in Montreal.
Layer on the long-johns under snow pants, thermal shirt under fleece under winter coat. Pile on the gloves, scarf, hat and winter boots. If you want to go the extra mile, raid your parents’ closet for that one-piece snowsuit you begged them to never wear again or hunt one down at a vintage second-hand shop. When the temperature drops way below zero, you definitely want to stay warm if you’re planning on spending a number of hours outside. Igloofest has unquestionably gained in popularity over the years, so you may end up waiting in line. Half an hour after shuffling along the entrance, I finally reached the threshold of ice sculpted bars, contained bonfires and light-shows glowing up the sky. All the while, my toes managed to achieve the preliminary stages of frostbite, and the night was just beginning.
First thought that came to mind was that I had to find a way to warm up, for fear of chickening out on winter and returning to the comfort of a heavy blanket and a movie. Everything feels better after some mulled wine. It was time to pick a stage and get dancing. Brightly coloured one-pieces, animal shaped tuques, all sorts of off-the-wall accoutrement are the norm and are amusing conversation pieces. “Did you see that guy wearing the furry bunny costume?” “Is she really wearing a mini-skirts without leggings?” “Let’s count the number of sombreros we spot in one night!” Visual commentary aside, discussions are limited to woot-woots and other monosyllabic expressions.
After a couple drinks, jumping up and down and getting my feet moving, I managed to get the blood flowing back to the tip of my toes. Busting a move in the middle of a crowd certainly gets things heated up both inside and out. All senses are involved: the bright lights, the beats pounding, tingly sweetness on your tongue, the heat generating between your fleece and your skin, crisp air on your cheeks, the scent of cold air filling your lungs. Everything beckons you to get lost in the ambiance, let loose and tear-up the frozen dance floor.
Even if it is only once in an icy blue moon, Igloofest is part of living life in Montreal. At the end of the day, I am still a rocker-chick at heart, but for now, back to the game: I’ve never ridden my toes of frostbite while dancing at Igloofest… throw back a shot of Jäger.
Montreal’s Igloofest has grown signiﬁcantly over the past six years, this year’s being the best yet by far. At 11:03 pm on Saturday, January 21st ticket booths were suddenly closed. To the frustration of hundreds of festival goers, all entrances and exits to Igloofest were now closed as they had achieved a historical admittance of just over 10,000 people. Despite the Saint Laurent river being -20 degrees Celsius.
The docks in Montreal’s Old Port (ofﬁcial referred to as the quays) has once again played host to our winter electronic music festival. This edition’s line-up alone explodes off the ofﬁcial website in an array of
bright colours and cheeky models promoting the festival’s snow suit contest. The heavily hyped and much anticipated DJ set by homegrown Montreal DJ A-Trak, preceded by French native DJ Cosmo at Sapporo’s mainstage delighted everyone in attendance. Each night showcased a bevy of internationally known DJs ﬂying in from every corner of the world.
At the Sapporo sponsored main stage, a kaleidoscope of LED and backlight installations created ethereal warm lightships to the amusement of DJs and dancers alike. As the second Thursday of the festival began I took in the colourful fog created by the warmth of the audience in the arctic-like climate of winter alongside Terence Fixmer, who was preparing for his set after Tiga. The powerhouse line up of Bordello, Tiga and Terence Fixmer ﬁlled enthusiasts of EDM with great pleasure without alienating those who are more interested in having a good time. These veterans of the music scene played sets while dancing to them, themselves.
They all took turns having fun with their audience, demonstrating their talent by each creating a marriage between club tunes and geeky technical masterpieces often misunderstood by anyone with a wishy washy approach to electronic music. Bundled up in our fur lined parkas Terence and I shared coffees spiked with Jagermeister to ﬁght off the cold. His hands were white at the knuckles and red everywhere else. I asked if the cold would bother him on stage. He told me he was disappointed “that it wasn’t colder. I heard many stories from friends who said Montreal was cold. I was in Norway and it was colder there than it is tonight.” Fixmer was unaware that while he was in New Caledonia it would reach record low cold and Igloofest would sell out. His eyes glittered at the delight of a winter EDM festival in Canada. A resident of Lille, a northern French town bordering Belgium, Fixmer is always delighted and honoured to perform for winter festivals, beyond Europe, especially in Canada, because he loves experiencing the cold.
His next stop is New Caledonia where it is currently a balmy 26 degrees Celsius to promote his latest EP, A Journey To Uncharted Destinations. He will be promoting it heavily around the globe, in many places that have never had a winter.
Fixmer’s three track EP demonstrates his love of things minimal and sombre without being boring or slow. He is a methodical man who enjoys time alone, making music, when he’s not touring. He ﬁnishes his coffee and tells me, “I stay in my studio, I read, and I see friends. I watch movies at home. I like Wall-E. It’s not often I get chances to do those things.” This newest works showcase crisp synths accompanying more raw background percussions and the examples are plentiful and fun. Igloofest provided a wonderful platform for this sound because it requires room to breathe and makes you want to dance. It features the original mix of the title track song, as well as two distinct mixes of “The Arrival”, one of which is done by the Prologue artist Lori. It’s radical techno for purists without being pretentious. Like Fixmer, his music is blunt and fastidious, yet truly hypnotic, mysterious and always engaging.
Last Friday I found myself entering Igloofest for the first time. My friends were surprised to learn it had taken me so long to actually attend this winter gathering. I could never picture myself dancing in the cold but last Friday I found a way to enjoy Igloofest properly and thoroughly. Here are a couple tips for dancing around in the cold and snow!
Bring a good pair of warm, waterproof boots
It’s kind of obvious that you should dress up warm but if you’re planning on spending more than fifteen minutes outside, the key is quality boots. I made the mistake of wearing a $3 pair of vintage boots that were taking on water like the Titanic . I almost decided to turn back after only five minutes of Igloofesting. That’s until I found another way of keeping warm…
Indulge yourself with too much mulled wine and Jagermeister
I know, all the scientific data says that it’s a lure; alcohol will not keep you warmer and will actually lower your body temperature. Bullshit! After two cups of mulled wine and four shots of Jagermeister (in 15 minutes) I’ve never felt warmer in my life. My feet weren’t cold anymore… I didn’t remember I had feet attached to my body! I’m telling you: a few drinks is the only way to survive for more than ten minutes in Antarctic weather.
Become friend with a member of the staff
If you start drinking as much as suggested above you might end up drying your bank account. At 6,50$ for a cup of warm wine the only thing that could possibly save you is a friendly bartender “forgetting” to charge you.
While being drunk might enhance your experience, I strongly suggest you avoid taking drugs. Popping MDMA outside in January will have you running inside in search of the warmest furnace. Being cold while on drugs is definitely a party killer.
Try bodysurfing for the first time of your life
Have you ever dreamed of bodysurfing during a music event? Perhaps you’ve been too scared to do it? Igloofest is there for you! We’re all wearing our big fluffy winter attire, three sweaters, five pairs of sweat pants and a giant fur hat. Even if somebody drops you, you’re assured to survive and you’ll probably even bounce a little!
Igloofest is taking place at Quai Jacques-Cartier during the three last week-ends of January. For the complete schedule make sure to visit their website.
Photos by Chris Zacchia, check out the full set on our Facebook page
Here at Forget the Box, we made some New Year’s resolutions. One of them is to have our playlists back on a monthly basis. I guess the summer’s festivals were pretty rough on our livers but no worries, dear music lovers, we’re back for good! We’re starting the year with a subjective guide on what not to miss during the three weekends of Igloofest
For me, Igloofest will kick off on Friday. I know, everybody’s talking about A-track on Thursday but it’s not my cup of tea. The real fun is starting the next day with two not-to-be-missed artists. First: Tanner Ross who’s about to release his first solo full length album on the renowned Wolf + Lamb label.
Tiefschwarz feat Mama – Corporate butcher
Second artist to check out on Friday the 13th (oooh spooky!): Tiefschwarz. Alexander and Sebastian Schwarz are two German brothers passionate about music. They’ve been djs since the early nineties and they’re encyclopaedias when it comes to electronic music. They also run a record label, Souvenir, so you might want to dig into their catalogue.
Buraka Som Sistema – Buffalo Stance
Maybe you’re afraid of the cold just like me? Then you need something more than techno music to get you out of your cozy house. Buraka Som Sistema is here to melt the snow. Kuduro-inspired beats from Portugal? A cover of Neneh Cherry’s hit Buffalo stance? Yup! That’s all we need to make us forget we’re in Montreal on January 14th.
Terence Fixmer – A Journey to Uncharted Destinations
Igloofest’s second week starts with Terence Fixmer alongside our local hero Tiga and a new signer on Turbo records: Bordello. With past releases on International dejay gigolo, Citizen Records, White noise and Turbo, you can be sure the French producer will wake your inner dark side.
Dillon Francis & Diplo – Que Que Feat. Maluca (Torro Torro Remix)
Who doesn’t like a dj set by Diplo? I’m pretty sure the answer is nobody! Are you tired of all your not-so-into electronic music friends asking which night they should go dance in their ugliest winter outfit to win the Igloofest contest ? Thursday January 26th is probably the perfect night. Diplo always puts on a good show that will be sure to please everybody from the rock to the hip-hop to the electro fan. To all the boys out there: make sure your girlfriend is wearing her biggest winter coat or else you might find her “missing” sipping vodka in the dj booth.
Maya Jane Coles – Senseless
My personnal pick: Maya Janes Coles is a young and very talented lady from United Kingdom. She started releasing music in 2008 but her career really kicked off last year that. She’s been voted Producer of the Year 2011 by DJ Mag, and named Best Breakthrough DJ 2011 by Mixmag. It’s her first visit in Montreal and she’ll be performing alongside Green Velvet on January 27th.
Marcel Dettmann – Duel
The last night will be a cold one. I’m not talking about the weather here but rather about the music. On January 28th two Berghain residents will be visiting: Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock. These guys are renowned for their uncompromising techno. Be prepared.
That’s about it. Make sure to dress warm and please abuse of the Glühwein if you want to stay alive! Our team of music writers will report from the field so stay tuned.