Osheaga announces its entire line-up for first edition in three years


Charli XCX, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Burna Boy, DJ Kygo, Dominic Fike, Machine Gun Kelly, Wet Leg and Lucy Dacus are among those added to the lineup, headlined by Foo Fighters, A$AP Rocky and Dua Lipa.

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Osheaga is back for real, with the 15th anniversary edition finally set to happen this summer. It will be the first full-scale Osheaga since the summer of 2019. The last two editions were canceled due to the pandemic.

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The line-up, announced Wednesday morning, features 100 artists, in sharp contrast to the pared-down Osheaga Get Together that happened under pandemic restrictions last fall with just 30 acts. The headliners for this summer’s edition are Foo Fighters, A$AP Rocky and Dua Lipa, as previously announced in December.

Osheaga is set to take place July 29-31 on Jean Drapeau Park, with Foo Fighters ending the night Friday July 29, A$AP Rocky capping the festivities Saturday and Dua Lipa winding it all down at the end of the soirée Sunday.

Full weekend passes went on sale Wednesday morning and single-day passes go on sale Friday at noon. Three-day passes start at $375. One-day passes start at $145.

The full line-up is the usual ultra-eclectic Osheaga fare, ranging from British pop star Charli XCX, veteran alternative rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Nigerian rapper Burna Boy, Norwegian DJ Kygo, indie rapper and Euphoria star Dominic Fike, American actor and rapper Machine Gun Kelly, cool British post-punk outfit Wet Leg, and acclaimed singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus.

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The three headliners are probably the most mainstream yet for the fest but there’s something for everyone in the diverse programming.

“When this festival started, when it was Ben Harper and Sonic Youth that first year, we didn’t have any pretence that what we were booking was going to be on the radio,” said Nick Farkas, senior vice-president of booking and concerts at Evenko and the founder of Osheaga. “It was an indie rock festival. Now it’s a varied line-up. If you look at Turnstile or Wet Leg, I think we did go back to try to get some of that indie-rock stuff. Mitsky. Men I Trust. There’s a ton of that indie stuff.

“We’ve never been only about headliners. From the first band on stage forwards is important to us. We always wanted to be a festival that has a strength of line-up from top to bottom. So for the 15th anniversary, we really wanted to look at how things fit together, what we needed to fill out a day was super important. But as the festivals changed over time in North America, the headliner’s position became more and more important. So obviously we have major heavy hitters at headliners but it doesn’t change the fact that to me that our line four, five or six (on the poster) are still strong. You see a lot of these festivals come out and they’re super top heavy.”

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Farkas said they are working on the principle that this will be a full-capacity edition of Osheaga with no public-health restrictions. That would mean up to 45,000 to 50,000 people on site each day. Capacity was only 7,500 fans per day at the Osheaga Get Together this past fall. It will also feature all six stages, including the River, Mountain, Valley, Green, Island and Tree stages.

Other artists set to play Osheaga this year include rap legend Big Sean, pop artist PinkPantheress, electro/house DJ Porter Robinson, francophone Belgian-Congolese hip-hop artist Damso, producer Jack Antonoff’s solo project Bleachers, and Sam Fender, who just received a Brit Awards nomination for best solo act.

Farkas is just pleased to finally have wrapped preparations for the first edition of Osheaga since the pandemic shut down the concert scene in the spring of 2020. They kept booking potential versions of the festival only to have them canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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“Honestly it’s a huge relief,” said Farkas. “We’ve been working on this thing for so long. I look back at the last two years and it was just such a grind, to book it and then book it again, then book it a third time. It’s just been a labor of labor. We’re just happy to be done and we’re really happy with the result. We had a lot of time so we just took a step back at a certain point and said: ‘We want to be true to what the festival’s roots were, which is being an indie music festival for music fans who want to explore new things. ‘ We wanted it to be a discovery festival. We wanted it to be multi-genre. We wanted to challenge people a little bit. And our fan base has always been up for it. That was our goal, to get the message of what Osheaga has always attempted to be and really look at everything that is out there and curate a festival that would have enough of everything for everyone.”

For the full line-up, visit osheaga.com

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