Igloofest: The hottest thing to happen to winter

Siham Jamaa

Igloofest is winter’s answer to Piknic Électronik, and it may very well be the world’s coolest festival. Now in its 14th year, the event is taking the Old Port of Montréal by (snow)storm from January 16 to February 8. Internationally acclaimed male and female DJs and VJs will play on two stages for an unforgettable experience under the stars.

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Diversity for your ears

Every evening from Thursday to Saturday, the outdoor festival site becomes an immersive experience with captivating audiovisuals. The incredible combination of sound and light will set your mind ablaze while the music—which now goes beyond house, tech house and techno—gets your feet moving.

This year’s program includes a balanced mix of emerging artists, rising stars and household names. Between the two stages, there will be something for everyone with mainstream tunes and more niche styles.

The festival kicks off with France’s electro-dance duo The Blaze, who won best electronic album at the 2019 Victoires de la Musique awards.

Next in the lineup are various Anjunabeats artists, including rising trance star ALPHA 9, whose past gigs include being the resident DJ at XS Encore Las Vegas and playing a sold-out show with the legendary Armin Van Buuren. San Francisco’s Gabriel & Dresden, who have a decades-long track record in electronic music, will also be there.

Meanwhile, the highly acclaimed Australian group RÜFÜS DU SOL is filling the indie dance/dance alternative bill. Their show is already sold out, which comes as no surprise since their album Solace received a Best Album nomination at the 2019 ARIA Music Awards and was crowned Album of the Year at the 2017 Electronic Music Awards, thanks to the hit “Innerbloom (Sasha Remix)”.

Female headliners

The 2020 festival roster includes several female artists, who account for nearly 40% of the lineup. Brazilian DJ ANNA will be heating things up with techno beats, while the ever-energetic producer and vocalist Nina Kraviz will hit the stage during the second weekend of the event. Finally, Charlotte de Witte will close the festival.

Homegrown music

Montréal is a hotbed for music and our homegrown artists have helped make Igloofest what it is today. The event’s organizers have strong connections with various local collectives, record labels and music events—and it shows in the programming. For example, this year Montréal DJ Alex Pycke, who’s previously mixed with greats like Sébastien Léger, is opening for Anna with progressive techno.

In the emerging house category, we’ll see Montréal duo Hicky & Kalo. Not only are they DJs, producers and the founders of Plaisirs Sonores Records, these two darlings of Montréal’s underground scene are known for their irresistible melodies and catchy beats. This year, they’ll be opening for progressive house star Jeremy Olander who’s known for making emotionally charged music and founding the label Vibrant. He has already released a microalbum with Bedrock and ranked among the top 8 finalists at the 2019 DJ Electronic Music Awards in Ibiza.

Next, the audience will welcome Kora and Gab Rhome, two DJs who got their start in Montréal before hitting the international circuit.

Québec rap and hip-hop artists are also set to play, including Charlie Shulz, one of the most talented rappers of his generation, and singer-songwriter Loud, who’s making his debut on the North American francophone rap scene. Both will take the stage on the final Thursday of Igloofest.

Last but not least, fans will flock to hear Kaytranada play pieces from his latest album, Bubba.

Full-scale immersion

Beyond audio-visual programming, Igloofest keeps things fresh by constantly coming up with new things to do and spaces to explore. This year’s highlights include tiered VIP patios with unobstructed views of the stages.

If you’re going as a group, consider contacting the festival team to organize a more personalized experience.

Also, keep in mind that several local clubs will be holding after-hours events with Igloofest DJs during the four festival weekends. Check the Igloofest website for more information, including details on discount tickets.

What are you waiting for? Slip into your ski suit and slide into the crowd in style! If you’ve got a particularly fun or retro outfit, you might even win the Iglooswag snowsuit competition!

Siham Jamaa

Siham Jamaa, contributor

Siham loves music and travelling. She’s got her ear to the ground for Montréal’s underground scene and will happily hit the road to catch the latest music festivals or special events. Her passion for the electronic scene is inspired by three things: its sense of healing and discovery and because it offers the music-loving community a great place to meet. She has written two travel guides on spiritual journeys and religious heritage in Québec and Montréal that were published by Ulysse.

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