Electronic music in the snow at Igloofest

Robyn Fadden

High-energy electronic music, wild dancing and winter parkas – expect all that and more at Montréal's famed outdoor winter music festival Igloofest, partying into its 12th edition with Kaytranada, Bonobo, Sasha & John Digweed and more incredible electronic producers.

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Carving out its own brand of open-air winter party, Igloofest ranks high on the list of things you can say “only in Montréal” about. Part of the diverse fabric of Montréal's electronic music scene and the cool-weather compliment to summer-long Piknic Electronik, Igloofest mixes major international names with local stars over three extended weekends in early 2018 – every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from January 18-20, January 25-27 and February 1-3 on the Jacques-Cartier pier in the Old Port of Montréal.

Whether you're there for deep-house or dub-techno, relaxing by a fire or dancing in the snow, drinking beer or hot chocolate, Igloofest serves up something satisfying and stylish every night. The festival kicks off on January 18 with the adventurous rhythms of award-winning Haitian-Montrealer Kaytranada and the retro house and rap of Kiddy Smile, followed the next night by the dreamy dance music of French musician Petit Biscuit plus locals Ouri and Frankie Teardrop on the secondary stage. And Saturday gets us deep into the grooves of a DJ set by legendary British producer Bonobo and the experimental hip hop beats of TOKiMONSTA along with more dance-worthy locals like Vilify and Deadboy.

Weekend #2 starts with the heavy bass and trap of Los Angeles producer NGHTMRE and a three-hour set of more heaviness on the second stage by Michael Sparks on January 25, the first of two nights open to music fans 16 and up (the usual age for club entry is 18 at Igloofest and all of Québec). From the Netherlands comes future house producer Oliver Heldens on January 26 along with local dancefloor shakers Kora and Jesse Zotti. And on January 27, international techno mainstay and Montréal electro legend Misstress Barbara takes over, joined by Spanish house producer Rafa Barrios and Montréal's Bamboo Herman.

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Igloofest's final weekend marks the first day of February with a night of trap by DJ Esco alongside Boi-1da, the Canadian producer behind Rihanna's Work and Drake's OVO Sound, while Dead Obies producer VNCE CARTER pulls out all the hip-hop stops – this night's also open to festival-goers 16 and up. Progressive house and trance superstars Sasha & John Digweed play a three-hour set on February 2 – they haven't played together in Montréal in 10 years, so this show is bound to be special. And French label Hungry Music rules Igloofest's Grand Finale this year on February 3 with the melodic sounds of N'To, Worakls and Joachim Pastor. Every weekend, enjoy the music from deep in a crowd of dancers or on a VIP terrasse, snack on poutine, grilled burgers and more, and go for an icy ride with a view on the Iglooslide.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden, blogger

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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