Yesterday, the Quebec Government requested suspending all public cultural and sporting events across the province until August 31st in order to keep fighting COVID-19 through social distancing. Following the request, Evenko announced that Osheaga, Île Soniq and the new country music festival LASSO won’t take place in Parc Jean-Drapeau late July and during August as originally planned.
“We are truly saddened by this situation, but everyone’s health must remain our top priority,” evenko President and CEO Jacques Aubé said in a press release. “It is too early to specifically announce the status of each of our events. We want to take the time to properly think about each of them and evaluate our options. Of course, we will do everything we can in order to minimize the impacts of this decision on all parties involved, by trying to postpone events, when possible.”
evenko now says it is in “solution mode” and will announce the fate of these events as soon as they work that out. They had already announced months ago, before COVID-19 was a concern, that their other festivals Heavy Montréal and 77 Montréal would be taking a break in 2020. Now we’re waiting to see if the other festivals will do the same or if they will be rescheduled, fully or in some form.
It is clear that even if we flatten the curve and social distancing restrictions are loosened and things get back to something that resembles normal, summer in Montreal will look and feel very different this year.
Friday and Saturday this upcoming weekend (August 9th & 10th) will mark the sixth annual Île Soniq festival, which will be returning to its original site at Parc Jean-Drapeau. So grab your sunscreen, don’t forget to #stayhydrated, and get ready to dance like its your last chance, because this one might just knock you into September.
Now, if you’re anything like me, the hardest part of almost any festival is simply figuring out how to divvy up your precious time. But fret not, because I’m gonna fill you in on all the shows you’re not gonna want to miss this year (and you can find the full lineup below)!
This year’s Île Soniq lineup is choc-full international talent, sure, but for those of you that are interested in finding out what Montreal–a city that has been home to some of the world’s most promising artists–is bringing to the table this year (besides the festival itself, of course), look no further.
If you don’t know them already, Christian Srigley and Leighton James started off as a pop-punk band and are now an electronic dance music duo based out of Montreal.
Relaxjosh is a local Montreal DJ with a unique but evolving sound. Though he’s been DJing since 11, he released his first single, Famous, only last year.
Underher is a sensual electronica/techno act created by Kalden Bess. Genre? Music to have sex to.
Sam Lamar has been rapidly rising through the ranks of the bass music scene, and has shown no signs of stopping yet!
DJ and producer from the collective ‘Drôle d’oiseaux’, best known for his groovy funkytrap and of course his mystical beard!
Île Soniq didn’t book many female performers this year 😒 … But here are a couple baddies you should check out.
Sydanie is a Jamaican-Trinidadian Toronto-based queer rapper and supermom and she’s changing the game in the Toronto hip-hop scene.
Whipped Cream, aka Caroline Cecil, goes hard with her limitless and versatile bad-ass bass sound.
Nicole Moudaber is a Lebanese/British radio personality and techno DJ and producer. She’s also behind MOOD, her own record label and global party brand. She gets pretty wild on the dance floor, and doesn’t hold back when she’s turning tunes either.
Nora en Pure
Nora en Pure is a South-African/Swiss DJ known for her deep house and indie dance music. She’s also a core member of the Helvetic Nerds.
Some other personal faves…
Superduo Redman & Jayceeoh team up to zap you with 1000 volts of their own bass and hiphop fusion, bridging the gap between rap and electronic music.
Lick (the DJ)
Lick the DJ (ha-ha) is from San Francisco, specialising in fine techno, deep house, and tech house. His music is vivid and electrifying.
Ronin is a DJ, producer, and avocado-enthusiast. If you’re somehow not already amped when you show up to Ile Soniq, you will be after his set.
Dabin Lee grew up surrounded by music and it shows. The Toronto musician’s melodic electronic music will make you feel like you’re living the emotional climax of the movie of your life, wind in your hair and all.
Full Lineup & Tickets
Check out the rest of the lineup.To get your tickets if you haven’t already, or for more information check out the Île Soniq website, and I’ll see you all there!
In 2015, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced that the concert space on the western end of Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène is getting a redesign. The municipal and provincial government will invest a total of $73 million to expand the space used by promoter Evenko to stage events like Osheaga, Heavy Montréal and ÎleSoniq every summer.
While originally planned for Montreal’s 375th anniversary, it won’t be ready until next year. This means Osheaga will have a new home for the summer and Heavy Montréal will take a year off.
Capacity would increase from 45 000 to 65 000, though it will remain an open-air ampitheatre. At the time of the original announcement, the Mayor assured people that some of the budget would be spent on reducing the sound that made its way across the water to the South Shore where St-Lambert residents had been filing noise complaints for a few summers. This would presumably mean that Evenko could stage more concerts in the space.
This week, the environmental impact of the project went public. 1000 trees will have to be cut down to make it possible. While Coderre promised $18 million to plant new trees, Projet Montreal, the official opposition party in City Hall, is not happy to say the least.
Calling it a “chainsaw massacre” of Montreal’s shared greenspace to benefit one private promoter, they argued that a more environmentally-friendly version should have been considered. They also decried the lack of public consultation on the project.
With so many issues at play here, we decided to turn to you, our readers and not just make it a straight Yes or No question. In this poll, please let us know whether or not you support this project and why. If none of the answers fit what you think, you can add your own:
How do you feel about the current plan to build a new ampitheatre in Parc Jean-Drapeau?
Bad idea through and through 30%, 25 votes
25 votes - 30% of all votes
Any plan of this scope needs public consultation. Period. 30%, 25 votes
25 votes - 30% of all votes
I like the idea of a new ampitheatre but cutting down that many trees is unjustifiable 14%, 12 votes
12 votes - 14% of all votes
The area was in great need of repairs and a place able to welcome all the events happening an the Parc.*10%, 8 votes
8 votes - 10% of all votes
The old concert space was fine and doesn't need to change 8%, 7 votes
7 votes - 8% of all votes
We need a new ampitheatre and this is the right way to make it happen 6%, 5 votes
5 votes - 6% of all votes
I don't care (well, I care enough to answer the poll, but that's it) 1%, 1 vote
1 vote - 1% of all votes
I live in St-Lambert (or have friends who live there) and am fine with any plan that curbs the noise 0%, 0 votes
This week is very yellow line centered as two festivals hit Île Sainte-Hélène at the same time, I tell you the coolest (or maybe it’s the most random) thing you could do tonight and we actually mention a local band (Les Breastfeeders) amidst this sea of summer festivals.
For anyone into the metal/hard rock scene the angry little brother of our city’s festival season Heavy Montreal takes over Parc Jean Drapeau for it’s ninth’s edition this Saturday and Sunday. Around since 2008, this fest has steadily grown in popularity and has even seen a re-branding from it’s earlier incarnation Heavy Mtl (or heavy metal!!!!) in order to hopefully gain some crossover appeal and attract fans from a wider variety of musical tastes.
A little piece of advice for the organizers: you can change the name of the fest all you want but when you book bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed, Nightwish, Killswitch Engage, Napalm Death and Hatebreed to play then who are you kidding, it’s a bloody metal show! I guess their idea of diversity is a couple of headliners that are more hard rock than metal.
For those who don’t want to leave the island or pay the rather ummmm heavy ticket prices there’s also a Heavy in the Cityaspect to the fest with a bunch of smaller shows and after parties you can attend for a fraction of the cost. For example on Sunday you can head down to L’Astral and check out Cult of Luna as part of the official after party.
The most interesting off site activity by far is taking place Thursday night at Concordia University where organizers Grimposium are hosting a screening of the new film Death by Metal followed by a bilingual panel discussion with members of the industry as well as the director Felipe Belalcazar.
This will be followed by the coolest thing you could possibly do tonight, a workshop on how to sing death metal vocals. That and the fact the event is totally free makes this my hands down top pick of the week!
Heavy Montreal plays Plaine Des Jeux at Parc Jean Drapeau, Saturday and Sunday, August 6th and 7th, tickets $149.50 or 275 through Heavy Montreal.
Cult of Luna play L’Astral, 305 Rue Saint-Cahterine Ouest, Sunday, August 7th, 11:45pm (Doors at 10:45pm), tickets $21.50 through Heavy Montreal.
Also taking place at Parc Jean Drapeau this Friday and Saturday will be one of our newer and more musically specific festivals, ÎleSoniq, which basically turns part of Île Sainte-Hélène into a big outdoor rave. This event is also expansive in it’s secondary options available to people who want to stay on the island of Montreal in the form of a series of afterparties.
ÎleSoniq plays Parterre du Parc Jean Drapeau, Friday and Saturday, August 5th and 6th, tickets $95 to $250 available through ÎleSoniq boxoffice.
Yellow Line Fashion Show
For those paying attention to the dates you’ll notice that on Saturday afternoon there will be an overlap of people heading to Île Sainte-Hélène for both ÎleSoniq and Heavy Montreal. The festivals are obviously separate but anyone taking the yellow line will be treated to quite a display of strikingly different fashion senses.
Les Breastfeeders + OL’ CD + Hobo Lord
For those who want a straight up kick ass rock show I suggest you head down to L’Escogriffe on Saturday where Montreal’s own Les Breastfeeders will be playing with the support of two Toronto acts OL’ CD and Hobo Lord. Take a little pinch of punk, a dash of surf, mix it with a three and a half minute garage rock song and you’ve got the recipe for the evening.
In festival season we sometimes get locked into trying to see the biggest and best international acts around. There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s important to remember there are some seriously talented local acts ready to give you their all… and for a much more affordable price.
* Featured image from Heavy Montreal 2013 by Chris Zacchia
Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!