One sure sign that summer has arrived in Montreal is Piknic Electronik, the weekly outdoor electronic music, dancing, beautiful-people and food-and-drink extravaganza that has drawn increasingly bigger crowds and electronic-music stars for 12 years now…
This year, Piknic Electronik expands to 23 events, transforming a picturesque corner of Parc Jean-Drapeau into a chilled-out, sunshine-drenched party every Sunday (and occasionally all weekend long) from May 18 to September 21. While many fans are drawn to Piknic’s two stages to hear cutting-edge music from international and local producers and DJs, long-time Piknic-goers and newcomers alike also flock to the event for its relaxed atmosphere, natural surroundings and welcoming spirit.
Big names in the 2014 line-up ensure huge, happy crowds over several Sundays. Piknic Electronik opens with two days of music May 18 and 19, featuring American DJ teams Soul Clap and Wolf+Lamb on the main stage, along with a live set by Slow Hands on Sunday, followed by a mini version long-running French rave, Brest’s Astropolis Festival, featuring techno label Infiné founder and producer Agoria, along with Oniris, Madben, and Sonic Crew, and locals VeroniKa Oliver. Bookending that long weekend with another over the Labour Day holiday, British producer Jamie xx (known for making beats for indie band The xx) surprises at every turn, while Hyperdub label founder Kode9 has more than a few twists and turns of his own.
More music from the UK comes in the form of Fabric club resident Daniel Avery, standout emerging producer Leon Vynehall, and artists Will Saul and Midland on bass-garage-house label Aus Music. Naturally, Montreal stays friendly with the French by inviting a variety of the country’s most energetic producers to Piknic, including Sébastien Léger, Joachim Pastor, Bobmo, and duo Masomenos, who pair up with Montreal producer Ohm Hourani’s Anoma label showcase. And our friends to the south have never been strangers to Montreal’s electronic music world – hear new sounds from Detroit tech-funk artist Jimmy Edgar and the west coast’s Dirtybirdcrew DJ-producer J. Phlip. World talents also joining the fray include Germany’s Appelscal, Schlachthofbronx and Mathias Zimmerman, Norwegian producer Cashmere Cat and Belgium’s Surfing Leons.
In keeping with its friendly, community vibe, Piknic has never ignored local electro artists in favour of international names – some must-see Canadians this year include Piknic mainstays Misstress Barbara, Poirier and Mightykat, as well as hip-hop-flavoured 10Kilos.US, Hushlamb collective’s minimal techno, the soulful house of Mile End Records, and many more connoisseurs of the latest trends and classic tracks. Locals also provide an array of delicious food and beverages, from gourmet food-truck fare to poutine, hamburgers, local beer and summery cocktails.
Festivals get in on the Piknic act too: Montreal’s massive outdoor music festival, Osheaga keeps people on their toes with Piknic in its program August 1-3, while earlier in the summer, on June 1, electronic-music mainstay Mutek brings its 15-year anniversary celebrations to the park with music from Donato Dozzy and Move D. Two free Piknic events happen during Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Weekends of the World on Saturday July 5 and 12, and on July 27, MEG puts Clekclekboom artists Aleqs Notal, French Fries, Manaré, Paul Trafford and Woulg on the Piknic stage. Pop Montreal adds their own kind of indie-cred to the party in mid-September. No matter when you’re in Montreal during the city’s warmest months, Piknic is ready to party – and as a bonus, handily partners with Montreal hostels and hotels on special accommodation packages to suit all budgets, all summer long.
Piknic Electronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau, Sundays May 18 to September 21, 2014
Photo credits : Élise Apap, Miguel Legault and François Rousseau
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