Montreal’s Osheaga

Ever since Woodstock, North Americans have been trying to recapture that perfect confluence of music, love, drugs and general good times. Though Woodstock II was a miserable failure (riots, Fred Durst, etc.), a handful of upstarts, like Tennessee’s Bonnaroo festival, are making a go at re-establishing the music festival in its purest form. Of course, most of the new generation of fests veers toward the commercial, and Montreal’s own – Osheaga, now in its third year – makes no bones about appealing to the masses.

Osheaga’s bill is more pop than hippie, but the range is wide, with headliners including Las Vegas rockers Killers and surfer dude Jack Johnson. Beyond those Mix 96-friendly acts are living legends Iggy Pop and the Stooges and the retro-soul of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Also appearing are the druggy drones of Spiritualized, the gypsy punk of Gogol Bordello, the sexy Frenchy electropop of Sebastian Tellier and the spazzy silliness of Brazil’s CSS.

And those are just the out-of-towners. There’s also a solid line-up of local heroes, including Plants and Animals (just nominated for the Polaris Prize), Duchess Says and Chromeo.

While the music and corporate sponsors, overpriced concessions and clean bathrooms, may not seem true to Woodstock’s communal love-in ethic, the fundamentals remain the same: A very large number of good people coming together to dance under the sky and enjoy good tunes in the summer. What’s wrong with that?

Sunday and Monday, Parc Jean Drapeau, $67.50 per day or $120 for both. Click here for line-up, schedule and more

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