Turning Up at Osheaga
Photographer Hannah Sider and SSENSE Menswear Buyer Alix Rutsey Take Us Through a Weekend of Music and Parties at Montreal’s Biggest Music Festival
Held every August on Île Sainte-Hélène, the former site of Expo 67, Osheaga is Montreal’s biggest music festival—a weekend of over 100 musical acts and countless parties that embodies Montreal summer at its most delirious. New York-based photographer Hannah Sider joined SSENSE menswear buyer Alix Rutsey to chronicle three days of Osheaga madness.
I’m standing at the side of the stage directly in front of a pounding speaker as Jazz Cartier pauses his performance to disappear and run back dragging a 14-foot ladder that he stole from production. He quickly sets it up and climbs it while continuing his performance. Fireworks go off in the background and the kids in the audience go wild. It’s Saturday night at Osheaga and Montreal is serving its best this weekend.
On Friday Hannah and I go to Apt. 200 to see No Vacancy Inn. Theophilus London shows up before his set down the street at École Privée. It’s very cool to see the community that’s developing in the city. Everyone is super supportive of each other, but for a long time it was kept within the confines of Montreal. That’s changing now. People are coming to the city and seeing all the cool stuff that’s happening.
No Vacancy Inn, Nathan Gannage
We dip out quickly to go see Tommy Kruise at Le Belmont. He’s in the private basement with 20 skater boys and 200 beers, about to go upstairs and jump on the decks. I grab some portraits of Jamal Smith, who I saw win the Dime skate competition the last time I was in Montreal.
Later that night we go to see some of Theophilus London’s set. What’s dope about these parties is that they're filled with kids partying with the artists. The DJs are in the crowd and everyone is going nuts. It’s one big party. The energy is insane.
Saturday we go to the festival and start at Kaytranada’s set. The backstage at Kay’s shows is so lovely because it’s just filled with his family and best friends. Everyone has known each other for years. It’s like being at a family party, but with the best DJ.
After Jazz’s set we all walk into the crowd to see Future. It’s very cool that one second Jazz can be putting on this amazing performance for thousands of people, and the next be dancing with his friends in the crowd.
I hear someone yell at me as I’m walking off the train, “DO YOU LIKE TO PARTY?” and I turn to see a shirtless Australian kid with a cowboy hat trying to balance a Four Loko on his head. He’s definitely not making it to any afterparties tonight. We are, though. I’m hosting a party at Apt. 200 with my best friend from NYC, Kitty Cash, who has flown in for the night to DJ. We arrive to a huge crowd of people outside and we know the night is going to be crazy.
Jazz and his crew come and the party goes off. Jazz is swinging from the pipes in the ceiling. I’m standing there praying they don’t break. Heron Preston comes after his set. Everyone is covered in sweat dancing. Shirts come off. All night everyone is yelling, “I’m moving to Montreal. This place is too lit!”
Before you know it we’re walking to an afterparty at Saintwoods. We sit on the rooftop listening to music while Corey Shapiro of Vintage Frames waves around bottles and Heron freaks out because he almost fell through a hole in the roof… oops. Kitty and I fall asleep in an Uber on our way home and I wake up to her leaving at 8 AM, saying she wants to come back next weekend.
I only know it’s Sunday because I’ve looked at my phone, but otherwise I’m having trouble telling left from right. We meet Jazz and his crew at Suwu for brunch. I remember that Caesars exist (NYC doesn’t have everything) and we all start to shift from zombies to humans.
Sunday we go to see Skepta. His set is incredible. It’s very cool to see a crowd full of people going nuts to a style of music they probably hadn’t heard of a year ago.
Zach Macklovitch, Charaf Tajer, Stéphane Ashpool
We have to rush to meet Vince from Dime, to shoot him in the legendary St Viateur Bagel Shop. Vince recently got a tattoo of the shop’s mascot, a little smiling cartoon bagel with arms and legs. It’s 11 PM and he stands smiling shirtless in the shop as customers walk in confused.
No one bothers us. I think they offer him a dozen free bagels for his tattoo, though.
Skepta and the Pigalle boys are at Apt. 200 tonight, so I’m on my way there for the third night in a row and I’m not upset about it. Thomas Pilgrim, also known as Rue De Bois, is DJing. The night ends with the lights on and nobody wanting to leave, trays of shots going around, and Thomas throwing on Outkast’s “Hey Ya” in an act of defiance.
Skepta, Zach Macklovitch
Photography: Hannah Sider
Text: Hannah Sider and Alix Rutsey