10 Reasons to Attend Osheaga This Year
Head to Montreal for this can’t-miss festival lineup, the local cuisine, and to explore one of North America's coolest cities.
If you thought music festival season was over, you’ll be excited to hear that there are a few more lined up that are well worth attending. Case in point: Our neighbors to the north have yet to put on their annual Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts (French for the most underrated party of the year) in Montreal—and it’s shaping up to be a can’t-miss experience.
This year’s festival, which marks its 15th anniversary, takes place from July 29-31 at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Not only does Osheaga have a stellar lineup to celebrate this anniversary, but the festival delivers on all fronts, including access to local food and drink, after-parties, and more. If you’ve never been to Osheaga (or have and are on the fence about attending this year), keep reading because we’re about to put you on.
The lineup is full of heavy hitters
Let’s start with the obvious. This year’s Osheaga lineup has a reason for everyone in your friend group to attend every day. Artists from its 15-year history are returning as headliners, including Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2009) and Montreal natives Arcade Fire (2010) on Friday, while heavyweights like Dua Lipa and Machine Gun Kelly will close out the festival on Sunday. Every genre is represented with Charli XCX dropping in, Future closing out Saturday’s performances, and additional acts by alt-rock and indie artists like Mitski and IDLES.
And smaller artists we can’t wait to see
Founded right before the pandemic, British rock band Wet Leg is just one of the smaller acts we’re excited to see at Osheaga. Released earlier this year, their self-titled album is stacked with hits like “Chaise Lounge” and “Being In Love”—both ridiculously catchy (so much so, Harry Styles covered them).
Osheaga is organizing its own after-parties
It can be a pain to track down after-parties in a city you’re just visiting for a weekend, but that’s not an issue at Osheaga. Knowing attendees will want to keep going after the last performance, the festival has organized parties all across Montreal—with DJs at the ready. Tickets aren’t sold on the festival’s website but through each venue, and this handy guide provides all the details. For example, Gus Dapperton and King Hannah will keep the fun going on Friday night at the Théâtre Fairmount.
You don’t have to leave festival grounds to try local cuisine
If you’re hoping to try some local cuisine while you’re visiting Montreal, Osheaga makes it incredibly easy. Forget fried fair food; at the festival’s YUL EAT Gardens, the city’s beloved restaurants, food trucks, and catering services serve up their signature dishes. The gardens will be furnished like mini restaurants, so festivalgoers can escape the action and grab a revitalizing bite. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options will be available.
But you’ll be seriously impressed if you do
Want to try some exceptional local cuisine beyond festival fences? You’ve come to the right place. The city is known for its poutine, bagels, and smoked meat—and trying them is a must while you’re there. For bagels, head to St-Viateur where they’re made the classic Montreal way (boiled in honey). Excellent poutine less than 20 minutes from Parc Jean-Drapeau can be found at Chez Claudette or La Banquise (long lines abound). Finally, Lester’s Deli—or Smoked Meat Pete if you’re down for a trek—for smoked meat. For more, check out our guide to where to eat in Montreal.
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The arts expand beyond music
While Osheaga is primarily for music lovers, the festival is known for exhibiting work by emerging local artists. For example, the Music on Paper exhibition showcases screen-printed festival and artist posters submitted by creators and officially licensed by the bands themselves—then added to the online boutique for purchase. During the event, you’ll find interactive works installed across Parc Jean-Drapeau. The sculptures and murals also happen to make great photo ops.
Montreal is one of North America’s coolest cities
You probably could have guessed this already, considering it hosts one of the most prominent music festivals in North America. According to locals, Montreal is hard to beat. Equipped with an insanely delicious food scene, a party culture that ramps up at midnight (hint: try Apartment 200 or New City Gas), canals to explore, parks to hike, and culturally diverse events happening on the reg, this French-speaking city is très chic.
You’ll have fun no matter what neighborhood you stay in
Since there’s no camping at Osheaga, you’ll need to book accommodations in the city, which is, honestly, half the fun since some of the best neighborhoods in Montreal happen to be some of the closest to the festival. Just across the St. Lawrence River, Old Montreal is a stunningly beautiful (albeit touristy) 400-year-old neighborhood made up of cobblestone streets and massive stone buildings. You can sneak in a visit to the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal by day and hit the clubs by night. If you want to be in the center of the action, opt for Quartier des Spectacles where you’ll find Le Central, a food court with 25 signature restaurants, along with bars and museums. Lastly, The Village, close to downtown, is the heart of the city's LGBTQ+ community—and it just so happens that Montreal Pride begins the day after Osheaga ends.
The 15th anniversary is sure to pull out all the stops
Let’s get one thing clear: We’re not alluding to anything, but rather manifesting some special guests and surprises in celebration of Osheaga’s 15th anniversary. Plus, it’s just fun to speculate. Maybe Dua Lipa will bring out Calvin Harris and Young Thug for her new single, “Potion.” Maybe Travis Barker will be drumming with Machine Gun Kelly. Future and Drake? Consider our fingers crossed.
Both weekend and single-day tickets are still available
Did we mention tickets for Osheaga are still available? And not even through some third-party seller. You can head to the festival’s website and still get general admission weekend tickets (July 29-31) or single-day tickets for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday—leaving you plenty of time to explore Montreal. Don’t let the summer go by wishing you traveled more or actually used your PTO!