Igloofest 2019

January 11th, 2019

Igloofest is a Montreal original that has fast become a tradition with the young-adult set.

Held at the Old Port every year since 2007, this midwinter, outdoor electronic music festival draws ten thousand-strong crowds, for a total of 70,000 people attending last year. DJs sets provide a feast for the ears of electronic music fans to get them dancing, and VJs enhance the sound with eye-popping visual effects. Igloofest has a high profile on the international festival scene, which means that organizers can attract top artists from around the globe to enliven our winter nights.

Here’s a primer for anyone over age18 who wants to attend the coldest festival on earth.

Piknic Electronik, the main organizer of the event, is presenting this year’s edition over three weekends from January 17 to February 2. VJs and DJs will perform on Thursdays from 7:30 to 11 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 to 12:30 a.m. No events are scheduled Sunday through Wednesday.

The main draw of any festival is the level of talent it can attract, and 2018 was a banner year for Igloofest with sets by more than 50 of the world’s best DJs, performed for record crowds. This year’s edition looks equally promising, with headliners like Polo & Pan, Diplo, Four Tet, Chris Lake, Above & Beyond, Chris Liebing, Mind Against, RL Grime, Baauer, Gramatik, and Maceo Plex. Full program details are posted on the festival website.

The schedule: each day of the festival is numbered sequentially. For example, January 17 is called Igloofest #1, Friday the 18th will be Igloofest #2, and so on, for 9 days in total, not counting an extra day: Igloofest X Massif, to be held on March 23 at the Massif in Charlevoix (an idyllic, mountainside locale for a festival, possibly too far for a commute from Montreal, but a boon for electronic music lovers in eastern Quebec).
The site: the festival is held on Jacques-Cartier Pier at the Old Port of Montreal, on two stages surrounded by a variety of satellite stations and amenities that form the Igloovillage. The small stage is named after Vidéotron; the main stage is called Sapporo.
The sets: each of the two stages hosts three sets per night, and there are usually two musical events scheduled at the same time. Early evening sets are about one hour long; the last show of the night—the main feature—runs longer. Each set matches a DJ with a VJ.
The event is adult-only and tickets are available for purchase online.

Individual tickets: one-day general admission tickets now cost around $30 (the price will rise as the date approaches). Two different VIP daily tickets, each costing $90, offer express entry and access to either the Vidéotron Terrace or the MusiquePlus Terrace and their amenities: heated lounges, a view of the main stage, heated toilets, and more.
Passes: nine-day regular festival passes are now sold out, but a few weekend passes are still available and offer priority access to the site for the three consecutive days of the selected weekend.
Packages: several hotels have partnered with Igloofest to offer attractive packages that include a room and festival access. Prices range widely, from HI Montréal, a youth hostel located very near the site, to the William Gray Hotel on Place Jacques-Cartier, which offers a VIP package that is still cost-friendly for this clientele. Hôtel Monville and Hôtel Zero 1 also offer packages.

Festivalgoers will be dancing for hours, but they also need food, drink, and other things to do. Over the years, festival organizers have arranged and rearranged the site, partly to surprise their regulars, and partly to apply lessons learned about how to enhance the festival experience—and they are getting good at it. Last year, the main stage had a dance floor large enough for 10,500 people. Igloovillage is designed to support revellers. The Jacques-Cartier pavilion and its courtyard offer a warm area, and an Igloocantine, for a break with friends around a fire. There are also games and activities, a slide called Iglooglisse, a giant pocket game, a tug of war, and a photo studio for the Iglooswag carnival contest.

Igloofest’s high profile was built on the foundation of Piknic Electronik, which not only helps organize and promote the Igloofest Festival, but also maintains a strong presence on Montreal’s music scene with their eponymous outdoor music concerts held at Parc Jean-Drapeau in the summer. Hats off to them for their role in putting Montreal on the electronic music map!
Info: igloofest.ca