DoNorth

Ice Cold Beats | Montreal’s Below Freezing Music Festival

Each winter, Igloofest gathers together thousands of electronic music fans to dance under the stars at Montreal’s Old Port. The concert features the mainstage, where the international EDM and techno DJs are performing, and a second stage highlighting local DJ’s from the Montreal area.

(DoNorth)

Each winter, Igloofest gathers together thousands of electronic music fans to dance under the stars at Montreal’s Old Port. The concert features the mainstage, where the international EDM and techno DJs are  performing, and a second stage highlighting local DJ’s from the Montreal area. Igloofest provides ice and winter-themed decorations, along with other activities to participate in, such as ice skating, hockey and snowball fights.

Co-founder and executive producer Nicolas Cournoyer says the idea came from a summer festival he hosted in Montreal years ago. He invited DJs from all over the world to attend. Because Montreal’s summers were so short, he wanted to have daytime concerts for families and kids to enjoy. He received  good responses, so he and his team started brainstorming what they could do next.

“We came up with the concept of having DJs outdoors during the winter,” Cournoyer explains. “It was a silly idea at first because it’s a bit unusual to have iconic music outside when it’s minus 20 degrees celsius.”

During the Igloofest’s first year, Cournoyer and his team made it three days long, and they received about 2,000 attendees per night. Cournoyer was surprised by the outcome but realized there was a need for people to party during the winter time. His team then expanded to make it three three-day weekends to include more DJs and days for fans to choose. Cournoyer felt that including both international and local artists was important.

“So, if they don’t like the music on the mainstage, they can go on the other side and enjoy the music,” he says. “There’s house music, some dubstep, some techno. We follow the trends, and we’re targeting some artists that are newcomers for people to discover as well as old ones too.”

This year’s lineup will include several EDM sensations such as Haitian-Canadian DJ and record producer Kaytranada. The artist, known for his electronic music, won the 2016 Polaris Music Prize and the 2017 Juno Awards for his album “99.9 Percent.” Another headliner includes Nghtmre, who will be performing Jan.25. His hit singles, such as “The Killer” feature a distinct variation of instrumental sounds throughout to bring an EDM flair to each song.

Cournoyer says the VIP experience includes a private area to get a better view of the stage, as well as better prizes. Past prizes included paid trips to places such as the Caribbean and Iceland. For more info on the package deals offered, visit igloofest.ca.

Past attendee 22 year old Kiesha Cook mentioned that she appreciated there were other activities to do while she was there. Included each year is the winter-wear competition called “Iglooswag.” To help attendees plan their outfits, there is a new theme every weekend. Cook described it as “Halloween all over again.”

“People go all out for that,” she laughed. “I was freezing, but it’s funny because those same people rocking onesies also had to wear some sort of thermal layers underneath or something.”

Cournoyer agrees, and says it’s fascinating to have a different mood with a unique theme every weekend because it sets up an original atmosphere.

Attendees can choose from five restaurants serving concert food, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and some Canadian classics. For Cook, she says surprisingly, the food was one of her favorite parts of the concert.

“Canadian food is so much better,” she says. “So, of course, I got some poutine and a beaver tail pastry, which is a Canadian version of fried dough.”

Cournoyer says another perk is having the festival located in Old Montreal. Besides having local bars and restaurants nearby the port, the Terrasses Bonsecours is open for reservation. After Igloofest, partygoers can shed their layers and party at the Terrasses Bonsecours.

“If you want to have the craziest time of your life, something that you won’t forget for a long time, check it out for the ambiance and the experience,” Cournoyer says. “It’s something people don’t really know until they come and see it.”

Issue 10: Winter/Spring 2018

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