It’s that time of year again! Osheaga —the Coachella of Canada, if you will — is almost here. An annual three-day music festival in Montreal, this year’s event features an incredible lineup of artists, including Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, The Lumineers, Logic, and Mac Demarco. Personally, I’m a dedicated Osheaga attendee, having danced my way through the festival every year since the ripe age of seventeen. While I might not have as much energy as I used to —I’m bringing a lawn chair this time around — I’ve learned a few tricks for making the most of your weekend.

 

With friends at Osheaga 2018, note the fanny pack! Source: Kaia Depelteau

How to: Get dressed

In the age of social media, fashion takes centre stage at music festivals. Since Osheaga happens in the sweltering August heat, amid masses of sweaty young people, it’s important to stay cool. I recommend opting for light-weight fabrics because they will prevent you from overheating and give you the freedom to dance.

It’s also important to safely house your vitals —your identification, cash, and phone —because nothing sucks more than losing your wallet at a music festival. My recommendation? Rock a fanny pack. They’re a festival staple and not as obstructive as backpacks.

Despite the expectations, I sincerely urge you to wear Whatever the Heck You Want. Montréal is a trendy city however, if fashion isn’t your forte, don’t be intimidated —plenty of people are just there for the music and the vibes. My advice is to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, confident, and safe. Personally, I’ll be in tie dye the entire weekend.

How to: Get around

Music festivals are big, loud events, jam-packed with people, and Osheaga is no exception. Reaching a max capacity of 45,000 attendees per day last year, it’s one of the largest Canadian music festivals. This year is going to be even bigger because they’re returning the festival to the original site of Jean-Drapeau Park, which can host up to 20,000 more people per day. It’s going to be crazy, but luckily, I have a couple of tips.

First, try to memorize the festival map. As Osheaga has six stages, attendees need to hop between locations to catch all of their desired shows. I’ve sprinted from one stage to another to make a show, and learned how confusing it is to find each stage despite navigation signs posted throughout the event space. Give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to B, because there’s no way to predict how long lines will be, or what unforeseen circumstances might prevent you from making it to one of your favourite artists on time. Trust me, I’ve been there.

How to: Stay Safe

         At the risk of sounding like a doting mother, I have a few things to say about personal safety. While music festivals are extremely fun, it’s possible to find yourself in some scary situations.  Many attendees will be under the influence, and, whether or not you choose to partake in these activities, you’ll be surrounded by intoxicated festival-goers. In the case of a medical emergency, be aware that the festival provides on-site paramedics, and free Naloxone kits are available at any Canadian pharmacy. Don’t take anything from anyone you don’t know, and keep an eye on your drinks —if your drink ever tastes bitter or salty, throw it out immediately. Keep in mind that music festivals are an easy environment to get more intoxicated than you want to, so make sure to monitor yourself, stay hydrated, and stick with people you trust. Bring a reusable water bottle, so you can take advantage of the many water stations available at the festival.

My last piece of advice is to simply have a good time! Make the most of the event —see the shows you want to see, wear what you want to wear, and do what you want to do.

Not going to the festival? Don’t worry —Muse will be covering the whole event! Stay tuned for a  post-festival recap.
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