Most people spend January and February huddled up indoors trying to avoid any contact with the frigid, brutal elements. Not Montrealers, though—for three weekends every year, hordes of ravers dressed in 90s ski-jackets and spacesuits brave the winter, fill up Quai Jacques-Cartier, and dance the night away. This year was no exception: Despite bitter cold temperatures and icy dance floors, Igloofest unfolded as planned, booking a genre-diverse and well-rounded line-up.
The McGill Tribune took full advantage of the festivities and got the scoop on the 13th iteration of this infamous event.
Polo & Pan—Night one: Jan. 17
This endearing French DJ duo isn’t typical for Igloofest’s lineup: They produce electro-pop, sampling musical styles across genres and eras. Their funky, suave, and downright-weird music electrified the audience, leaving the crowd happy, mesmerized, and sore from dancing all night.
Skatebård—Night one: Jan. 17
Straight out of Norway, Skatebård’s stocky frame and gruff beard makes him look like a modern-day Viking, well-equipped for the bleak Montreal winter. Skatebård’s music falls within a sub-genre of house called Italo-disco—the B-movie of the disco genre—making for a surprisingly melodic and funky set. Spontaneous dance circles ensued, providing audience members with the perfect opportunity to showcase their most creative moves.
Nina Las Vegas—Night two: Jan. 18
Opening for the very popular Diplo to a mostly student-populated crowd unfamiliar with her music, Australian producer and DJ Nina Las Vegas had a lot to prove. Laying down one of the most technically-proficient dance sets at the festival and lining up perfectly curated tracks over one another, Nina infused the whole crowd with energy.
Four Tet—Night three: Jan. 19
Igloofest is branded as “the coldest music festival in the world,” but even Montrealers were unprepared for when the temperatures stooped to -24°C. Somehow, the venue filled up for Four Tet with groups huddled together on the dance floor for warmth, taking intermittent breaks at the firepits to defrost frozen toes, fingers, and eyelashes. Maceo Plex, the opener, warmed up the crowd with his signature blend of techno and experimental music, laying down hard bass lines and strange time signatures that made for an off-brand, intense performance.
AC Slater—Night six: Jan. 26
AC Slater, the L.A.-raised DJ pioneering the British genre of Bassline, touts himself as the champion of ‘nightbass’ and has made it his mission to expose North America to UK Bassline. He appears to have succeeded; his rich basslines and built-up drops invigorated the crowd, which pumped its fists and ‘gun fingers’ in the air. His act perfectly led into the headlining deep-house demigod: Chris Lake.
Chris Lake—Night six: Jan. 26
Since his debut in 2002, U.K.-native Chris Lake has played at every major music festival venue. His track selection featured a blend of fan favorites like “Lose My Mind” and “Deceiver” and new boundary-pushing lyrical tracks that truly separated him from the ever-growing pack of house DJs.
Maceo Plex—Night nine: Feb. 2
Maceo Plex closed out Igloofest with a strong three-hour set. He brought the music, and Montreal brought the energy and increasingly bizarre antics. There was a shirtless man dancing his heart out, and one fervent fan made it their prerogative to shout “Maceo Plex is my dad,” repeatedly. His smooth, groovy techno made for the perfect end to a successful festival. Still, when the lights came on at the end of his set, Igloofest was over. Everybody was smiling, and could not help but look forward to next year’s festivities.