Osheaga: Arcade Fire makes up for lost time

Osheaga: Arcade Fire is making up for lost time


Who better than Win Butler and Régine Chassagne to kick off the 15th anniversary of the Osheaga Festival and, moreover, the first event of such magnitude held without compromise in the Quebec metropolis in three years?

Called in as reinforcements for the Foo Fighters – bereaved of their drummer Taylor Hawkins – Arcade Fire turned out to be a luxury plan B. And it wasn't until we heard the first notes of Ready to Start, the show's second track, that we could realize the magnitude of the moment.

The singer of the group Arcade Fire .

Navigating between the smells of food trucks, clouds of second-hand smoke and the excitement of a crowd of tens of thousands of people, the crowded music lovers remained hanging on the lips of the Mile-End power couple and their comrades.< /p>

Arcade Fire has been left wanting since its last visit to Parc Jean-Drapeau in 2010. The style of the eclectic Montreal band has evolved dazzlingly since, incorporating disco and dance-pop elements into the alternative rock that built its reputation.

Festival-goers were ready for the first day of the fifteenth edition of Osheaga.

The uninhibited and diverse crowd let themselves be lulled by the atmosphere of more contemplative tracks like Age of Anxiety I, but did not hesitate to sway their hips vehemently to the tireless melodies of The Suburbs or Neighborhood #1.

Although the members of Arcade Fire presented for the first time to the city that saw them grow their new opus , We, still explored their entire illustrious discography and skipped no classic. 

With devotion, love and sincerity, Montreal's favorite band has made up for lost time brilliantly. 

A “true” return

Due to the withdrawal of several headliners and the threat of a seventh wave of COVID-19 which is hampering the safety of festival-goers, the architects of Osheaga have not had the most peaceful summer. Mother Nature, however, seems to have heard the organizers' prayers, setting the stage for a successful kick-off down the line.

This year's edition has absolutely nothing to do with last year's, both musically and organizationally. Notwithstanding a much beefier program, the selection of food, drink and various merchandise is much more attractive, despite the huge costs expected in this type of event. 

Those who are not familiar with the immensity of the site, however, suffered the repercussions of this “true” return to normality. Many were struggling to find their bearings in the madhouse at Parc Jean-Drapeau, trotting from stage to stage like headless chickens, and the majority of employees still seemed to demystify this maze.

This did not undermine the mood of festival-goers, however; one could see at the conclusion of the last shows on Friday that several of them would have spent the night on Île Sainte-Hélène if that had been possible. 


The Aussie artist gave one of the most popular performances of the day, drawing attention more for his energy and charisma than his musical prowess – though younger festival-goers seemed to know his traits word for word. In particular, he asked a festival-goer for the name of his ex-boyfriend to urge the public to send him for a collective walk.


The formation of Baltimore, heir to Rage Against the Machine, allowed the bravest to headbang and jump into the moshpit at will. Frantic rhythm, vocal performance as fair as it is frenzied, retro sound palette: all the elements came together for an unforgettable punk moment. We would have simply added a few decibels to the case.


The Lévis native distinguished himself on one of the most modest courts in the site, and we don't hold it against the head of programming. In an intimate atmosphere, the sympathetic singer and guitarist with turquoise hair charmed an audience already conquered thanks to his casual attitude, but above all by surfing on his devilishly effective foggy pop. 

– Félix Desjardins, special collaboration