Archives for posts with tag: Osheaga

It has been four days since Osheaga ended, one of the many music and arts festivals held annually in Montreal. This was the fourth year in a row I’ve attended but the first year I volunteered with them, and I’ve not fully recovered from it as I’m still tired. My whippersnapper days are long gone though, so…yeah. It was simple enough: out of the 39 hours of the festival, volunteers were required to work three shifts (13.5 hours) and in return had free entrance to the 3-day festival (plus access to private washrooms and the back roads, a major bonus imo). The only other requirement being a $100 deposit that was refunded once the shifts were completed. The entry wrist band could be cancelled at any time if one missed a shift. Or in my case, if one of the other volunteers decided that, even though the team lead read off the 12 names on the list and thus all 12 people were accounted for and 12 people departed for the shift (and my name and signature were on both the sign-up sheet and the waiver form and checked off on the sign-in sheet), I am somehow AWOL and thus has my wrist band cancelled whilst I am out on shift…

En tout cas, on Day 1, before news of the wrist band nixing, about seven minutes into this first shift, the sky opened up and poured sheets of water on our totally unprepared ragtag group of four as we crossed the one area of the grounds that held the six stages where there was zero shelter… The remaining four hours were marred by thunder and lightning storms, delayed starts and a cancelled act. Unfortunately for me, it was one of the three acts that I had come to Osheaga to experience: De la Soul. *sigh* I did however get to see Sampha, Rag’n’Bone Man, plus some of BadBadNotGood and MGMT, all of whom put on amazing shows. At the end of that first day as I made my way home though, tired, wet and cold, with feet like prunes in squishy destroyed kicks, I wondered if it was worth it…

Day 2 started with the inconvenience of having to obtain a new wrist band. Luckily there was no line-up. Then luckily-er, the weather gave us a break, with only a few light showers sprinkled throughout the day. But… then came word that another act had been cancelled, unfortunately for me again as it was yet another of the three acts that I had wanted to see: Lil Uzi Vert… I may only know a couple of songs by him, like the one with the Migos and… … OK, so maybe I only ‘know’ that one song but I have heard others, and in any case, it was enough to pique my interest and push him into my top 3 as I thought he had a lot of potential and wanted to see what he could do live. *sigh* I did, however, catch Jillionaire’s set and saw Major Lazer. The other act I enjoyed was Gordi, who were the first act of the day and were purdy good despite that they had stepped off the plane from Australia only an hour or two earlier. As I made my way home that night, I wasn’t cold or wet and my feet were happy and I was feeling hopeful about the next and final day.

Day 3 was the day I had been waiting for since hearing of the line-up. Die Antwoord was scheduled to play and was the third act I had come to Osheaga to see. The weather was perfect. The people were awesome, especially the security guards and other people working at the festival. I caught some of Bishop Briggs, Denzel Curry, Flatbush Zombies, Tegan and Sara and Run The Jewels. Then… thank goodness… Die Antwoord showed up… and it was good… and immediately after their show as I made my way along the back road to avoid the crowd, DJ God, Yolandi Visser and Ninja went by me in a golf cart. They were literally 3 feet from me. I heard myself say “great show”, immediately did a mental face palm for not coming up with anything more ‘interesting’ to say, aaaaand then I was done. Exhausted, I slowly made my way out of the grounds with a happy and content half-grin – only cuz I was too tired to get the other side of my mouth up.

I’ll be crazy honest though; my ultimate goal had been to meet Die Antwoord. I had this fantasy that we would get to shootin’ the breeze and they would ask me who I thought the best local group was and then somehow they would end up collaborating with the Dead Obies and Kalmunity Vibe Collective, along with Young Paris or Future… and this was somehow going to save the world from WWIII… … … Yes, I have a VERY wild imagination, and No, Die Antwoord doesn’t collaborate. But they say ya gotta dream big, so I figured why not let my imagination go crazy. Besides, the worst that happened was that all I could think of to say to them was ‘great show’…

Anyhow, here are a few of my “best” and “worst” of Osheaga 2017:

Best Shirt: The Smiths… with an unassuming photo of Will Smith and fam in place of Morrissey and Co… it was the punniest one I saw…

Worst shirt: My Indian Name is Runs With Beers… when the guy passed by wearing it, I couldn’t leave my post to talk with him about how offensive it was, especially as Osheaga takes place on unceded Mohawk territory. Unfortunately I didn’t see him again…

Best Quote from an artist: El-P from Run The Jewels – If you see a girl you want to meet and you think it’d be a good idea to grope her or push up on her, DON’T! cause that ain’t right (my paraphrasing)… he then called on everyone to look out for each other. It warmed the cockles of my heart…

Worst Quote from an artist: at Flatbush Zombies: “If you don’t know the words, keep showing them ti*ties and be quiet”… I dunno who on stage said it, but it prompted my swift exit, stage right…

Best Show: Die Antwoord was great with only one minor mic issue. Major Lazer put on an amazing show too, with Diplo getting into one of those big see-through plastic balls and rolling across the crowd. Rag’n’Bone Man was prolly the biggest surprise for me though, as I had never heard of him and his performance kinda blew my mind…

Worst show: … all the artists I saw put on great shows, even though there were quite a few who frequently used the word bi*ch… with one repeatedly singing “Texico bi*ch” and another talking about how he was gunna make lots of money and then “gunna fu*k your bi*ch”… due to my dislike for the word because of how it feels like a physical slap to me, excessive use would bring on my departure from that scene…

Overall, it was a great musical weekend. Despite the temporary location, the weather and the cancellations, it looked and felt like everyone had a great time. The only ‘not-so-good’ thing I saw happen – aside from a few people keeling over from alcohol consumption – was a guy being chased by security as he ran onto the floating dance floor area, which had a capacity limit for safety reasons. He wasn’t kicked out of the festival though. After he tripped and did a face plant, security grabbed him, removed him from the dance floor and simply let him go. I dunno if any reports of sexual assault or harassment have been made at this point. Last year there was, which is probably why this year Evenko hired the Hirondelles, a trained safety team on the lookout to make sure women and vulnerable people were safe. Overall, my only real ‘complaint’ is that there was a lack of vegetarian/vegan options like veggie burgers/dogs.

Word is that music fests are struggling to bring in patrons around the world, but I was told that Montreal is different. So different in fact, that Evenko has been busy overhauling their original festival site to accommodate 20K more people in 2019. That’s gunna be crazy. As for me… It’s too early to say if I’ll attend next year. It’ll depend on the bill. At this point, I feel like, if De La Soul is on it again… or Nicki Minaj… or Future… or Young Paris… I might just hafta be there…

came across a quote the other day about ego traps, that if you think yerself ‘better’ than others because you think the music they listen to isn’t as ‘spiritual’ or “good” as what you listen to, that’s an ego trap… i feel shame to say that i have fallen into that some times in my life.

it sucks when people try to make someone feel bad or somehow inferior for liking a certain song or style of music. people with their sweeping generalizations and their judgements of ” i don’t like rap/country/rock/jazz/pop/classical music”. or people who declare that one genre of music is better than another, adamantly. critics with their expert opinions on what album/song/musician is best… acting like they’re being objective. like, this one guy had zero poker face and gave me an incredible look of confusion, disgust and disdain while asking why i was talking about Tupac… … it was funny to me tho, cuz, uh… music is one of the most subjective things. ever. and each genre has its own forms, its own instruments, its own rhythms and beats, its own language and its own message, that all reflect the realities from which they come.

music brings people together, it makes ‘em feel good and smile and talk and dance and sing and feel inspired by it all… as Kendrick Lamar said two years ago at Osheaga – “it’s pure energy and nothin’ else”. and it’s good energy. it incites good times and good vibes. it doesn’t necessarily incite illicit behaviour, music issa conduit to help release all the pent up energy like sadness and anger and joy and love over the honest truths and brutal realities and sense of community and collaboration and hope and inspiration and beauty that the artists share… and then all the energies combine to create what can only be described as looking and feeling like peace and love.

music is ultimately about community, where the skilled artists can get us up in the air to see and feel all the beauty in the crazy patterns of this world. it’s not a distraction so that we forget about what can feel at times like a “bug’s eye view”*, but rather helps find the beauty in it, or at least make some sense of it. sometimes it can only be found in music and the movie screen in your head and the way it makes you feel. sometimes it’s the soundtrack to what’s going on in real life, but feels like a movie… or a sit com…

in what more pithily sums up the many words i wrote about music and truth in my Religion honours thesis, (… 30-40pages dissecting how so-called “sacred” or “absolute” truths about the world can be understood as being determined through value systèmes that are created by our own individual understandings and feelings of the words and images that are used to describe these truths and therefore ‘truths’ are not simply found in so called sacred texts, they can be found in every kind of text and every kind of music and every kind of art) … if music don’t contain some sort of truth and it don’t create some sort of sacred place of congregation, then i dunno what does. and it’s not just one type of music. truth can be found in all genres of music. from polka to post-rap… just like truth can be found in all religions. and all texts… even a cookbook.

~

*Bug’s Eye View reference from the spoken word sample in the song Harmonic by Hex, off the album Cold Krush Cuts, Ninja Tunes, 1997, is originally from the album Four Dreams of Man by Dr John Furbay, Columbia, 195?.

“Now those people who fly have a different point of view of the world from those who spend their whole lives on the ground. Don Blanding wrote a poem once, when he was flying, and he called his poem “The God’s Eye View” and he said it was so different from the view he always had on the ground, which he called the Bug’s Eye View…

Now I thought about that bug’s eye view when I over in Teheran in Persia. They told me an old Persian legend about a bug, who spent his entire life in the worlds’ most beautifully designed Persian Rug… All the bug ever saw in his lifetime were his problems; they stood up all around him, he couldn’t see over the top of the them, and he had to fight his way through these tufts of wool in the rug to find some crumbs that somebody had spilled on the rug… And the tragedy, of the story, of the bug in the rug, was this: that he lived and he died in the worlds’ most beautifully designed rug, but he never once knew that he spent his life in something which had a pattern.

That’s why I want to get you up in the air tonight… to see something the old bug couldn’t see in the rug. Because even he, this bug… if he had once got above the rug so that he could have seen all of it, he would have discovered something, that the very things he called his ‘problems’ were a part of the pattern.

Have you ever felt like that bug? That you are so surrounded by your problems that you can’t see any pattern to the world in which you live? Have you heard anybody lately say that the world is a total mess? ….. That’s the bugs’ eye view… …. seeing only a little of it, we might think that….”

~
Next Week: music – part deux…