Travel Blog

21 Jul

Your 2016 Osheaga survival guide

No one goes to the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival to get away from it all. They go to have it all: the spectacular sights, the tantalizing wealth of tastes and smells (most of them anyway), the feel of summer on your skin. And, of course, the many, many amazing musical sounds. It’s an immersive sensory bath that is designed to overwhelm, albeit in a good way. Consider the following tips and helpful hints your guide to maximizing your time at Canada’s most unique outdoor concert event.


The 11th edition of Osheaga, July 29 to 31. Doors open at 11 am and performances begin at 1 pm. Performances end at 11 pm.

What you’re getting into

A bucolic music and arts festival in beautiful Parc Jean-Drapeau, across the St. Lawrence from downtown Montréal, Osheaga unites some of the world’s best acts at an open-air site. From July 29 to 31, get ready to party to live performances by Brit-rock royalty Radiohead, hip-hop pioneers Cypress Hill, hometown indie-rock phenomenon Half Moon Run, the inexplicably popular Lumineers, funk-rock icons Red Hot Chili Peppers, original indie hipsters Death Cab For Cutie, the very deservedly much-loved Lana Del Ray – and sooo muuuuch mooore. Truly, it’s a never-ending, gold-plated, chewy-centered lineup!

osheaga-625x400The proceedings

As of publication, all passes except for single-day general admission passes ($115) for Saturday, July 30 are sold out. You’ll be asked for your pass upon entry to the site. You’ll also be asked to open your bag and to empty any liquids you have on you. Festivalgoers are welcome to bring a clear plastic water bottle with them onsite to fill at the water stations.

Osheaga-Suzan_MossWhat to bring

Like any other large-scale festival, there are a few essentials: First on the list would be comfy shoes, as you’ll be hiking the stretch of that site over and over to get to see all the amazing shows going on simultaneously. Open-toed shoes, flip-flops and the like are definitely not recommended. Wear loose, light and creative clothing – it can get very hot in Montréal at this time of the year. Osheaga is a prime location for festival-wear-watching, and the outfits give even Coachella a run for its money. Hats and shades are great too, because there’d be nothing lamer than missing Radiohead because you’ve got sunstroke. You’ll also be grateful for a rain poncho in case of a summer shower.

osheaga-bulles-susan-mossWhat not to bring

There’s a laundry list of prohibited items that aren’t allowed onsite: Alcohol, illegal drugs and paraphernalia, glass bottles and cans, hard-sided coolers and lunch boxes (but you can bring food for personal consumption like a sandwich, fruit or a granola bar). Also not allowed are pets (except for service dogs), megaphones, musical instruments, fireworks, flags and banners, beach balls, soccer balls, Frisbees, large sports umbrellas, folding chairs, skateboards, camping-style backpacks, tents, laser pointers, water guns or misters, professional video and audio recording equipment, items intended for sale or promotion, firearms (or weapons of any kind), selfie sticks or similar monopods, drones and finally, but not leastly, First Nations headdresses and other feather headdresses because, well, they’re in very poor taste.

To get to the festival: It’s simple: take the metro. Get off at Jean-Drapeau station, and you’re but a few feet from the Osheaga site entrance. For other modes of transportation, check out the details here.

Osheaga_Food_TrucksImportant on-site info

All that music giving you the munchies (or the thirsties)?: The site is scattered with kiosks for beer, wine and mixed drinks, as well as tons of amazing food stations and well over a dozen of Montréal’s famous food trucks, which are worth the trip in and of themselves!

For the younger music fans in your entourage: Osheaga is an all-ages event, so families are welcome! That said, no one under the legal age of 18 will be served alcohol, and it’s up to parents to judge whether performances are age-appropriate for the young’uns.

OsheagaIf you lose something, don’t panic: The lost and found is located at the information kiosk near the site entrance. Staff will be happy to help reunite you with your lost item, but if ever finding it proves more difficult, send an email to, including a detailed description of your lost item, or call 514-521-7469, and someone will follow-up as soon as possible.

Osheaga_peopleAnd in the event that you party too hearty: Medical staff are constantly present on site. Be sure to bring all prescribed medication you may need and have a safe good time. While it’s important to have fun, monitor your consumption of alcohol and be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and juice throughout the day. Also make sure to take breaks from the sun if needed (see above note about a hat). Which brings us to…

Osheaga_aire_de_detenteThe chill zones: When you need a breather from all the excitement, there are plenty of trees for shade on the site, and spots where you can chillax and catch up on Wi-Fi. From the Coors Light Wi-Fi Chill Zone to the HM tent to the Perrier Greenhouse to the Hydro Silk Hotel, they’re all listed here. Enjoy!


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