Post-Osheaga blues? Piknic Electronik is your religion? Want to sample DJ culture from around the turntable? Regular reader of RA (Resident Advisor) or Beatport? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Ile Soniq is your remedy. The two-day electronic festival takes over good ol’ Parc Jean Drapeau to keep the beat going from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day. And yes, there will be afterparties! Here’s a quick guide to where to stay, how to dress, and who to see.
Where to Stay
Those coming in from out of town who don’t go the couch surfing or AirBnB route can shack up in festival accommodations at the Carrefour Sherbrooke. Once a skyscraper hotel and now a gigantic McGill University residence, there are 2- and 4-person rooms available for $620 and $950 respectively. For those who have places to stay and are just looking for tickets to the festival, a 2-day pass is $145, and there are cheaper options for those who want to go for one day, as well as more expensive options for people keen to have a more luxe experience.
Check the weather to make sure you dress right for the day. According to the ever-reliable Weather Network, the temperatures are going to be around the high teens on Friday and the low 20s on Saturday and Sunday. Also, a mix of rain and sun. So, don’t wear stupid shoes, or at least have a pair of something flat and comfortable and perhaps waterproof to change to. You’re going to dance for at least eight hours at this one. So pack for the outdoors. If sunny, it can be hot. If rainy, it can be, obviously Sherlock, wet. Pack some layers and bring a small bag to hold all your stuff.
You can bring food, but not a cooler. You can brin gclear plastic water bottles, but not your own alcohol. Food (including food trucks), water, lockers, toilets are all at the site. In particular, Montreal’s gourmet hot dog restaurant, Dirty Dogs will be there with their three signature hot dogs: Le Bernie Mac, Le Morgan Freeman, and Le James Gandolfini. Gaufrabec with its waffles both salty and sweet is in the house. There is a special note on the Ile Soniq site that all bags will be searched. Whatever could they be looking for? I’m not advising anything illicit here, but let’s be honest — bag searches for festival sites are more cursory than thorough. It’s not like getting on an airplane. Don’t stick a six pack in there and you’ll figure out the rest, Captain.
Who to see other than the big headliners?
Like any fairly sizable festival, Ile Soniq features multiple acts performing at the same time on its three stages (Oasis, Superhero, and Neon). There are over 50. Obviously you can’t see them all. The big acts that everyone knows rule the Oasis stage. Friday night is Dutch club king Tiesto and Dillon Francis. Everyone in Montreal has local duo Adventure Club on their lips as the group not to miss at the Superheroes Anonymous Stage. Saturday get your ears on Toronto multi-genre duo Zeds Dead and then headliner for the night Filipino-Dutch DJ/producer Laidback Luke, . On the Mirage stage, you can catch Israeli trance boys Infected Mushroom.
But what about the rest of the festival? Some of the acts I recommend are:
Iggy Azalea at the Oasis Stage 6:15 p.m.- 7:15 p.m.
Young’un Iggy Azalea comes from Australia and she’s been tearing things up from the US as a hip hop queen since her controversial hit Pu$$y. Since then, she’s churned out some hits and has spent more time as a Billboard Hot 100 than Lil’ Kim. Iggy Azalea manages to attract fans that normally wouldn’t share a single other song on their playlists except for hers. Every single one of her videos is described as explicit.
For a less racy Australian who is making waves in the US, and probably bringing her DJ crates, check out Anna Lunoe
at 7:45 p.m.- 9 p.m. on the Neon Stage.
If you’d just gone to see Iggy Azalea and didn’t catch Anna Lunoe, might as well mosey over to see these guys:
The Chainsmokers at 7:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. on the Superheroes Anonymous Stage
The Chainsmokers who brought us the 2014 summer hit #selfie that we’ll likely want to forget as quickly as possible… if only it weren’t so apropos! Actually, these two guys are nerdy-ish north eastern seaboard type art students who claim to like hot chicks in yoga pants. I don’t think they pretend to be anything they’re not and it kind of makes me like this EDM group all the more. Remember when bands used to come on stage with giant blow-up penises? It’s that kind of vibe.
Jesse Rose at 9 p.m. on the Neon Stage
After this, I think I’d try and get my butt to see Jesse Rose. He’s from London, now LA, and is known for his brand of party house and dance. Like many djs, he has his hands in everything from recording his own stuff to producing, remixing, and running his own label. Prolific and respectable.
Tim Mason at 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. on the Oasis Stage
Get your ass up and go early for this guy. But, of course, I’m partial to UK DJs. I just think they have the right cultural crossroads in their country to pick the best of everything. English (home of all things good in music Brighton, no less) musician Tim Mason from Spinnin’ Records puts out progressive/tech house mixes that get people up and moving immediately. He’s Saturday, Oasis stage.
Cash Cash at 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. on the Oasis Stage
Luckily, right after Tim Mason, you can see these macaroons. Once upon a time Cash Cash was a pop band, but have evolved into EDM types and are known for remixing music by people like Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and Krewella. Okay, they also performed the music to sonic the hedgehog’s Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors. They probably won’t be playing their remixes of Sonic at Ile Soniq, but you never know…
Seven Lions at 4 p.m. on the Oasis Stage
Again, stay at this stage. For EDM, dubstep, electro house, progressive house, and trance, get your ass to see Jeff Montalvo, aka Seven Lions. Yes, the name sounds rather Haile Selassie and he looks like he forgot to leave after Heavy Montreal, but this genre bender gets lots of love for his experimental and uplifting songs.
From there on out, you can figure out what to see on your own. Tyga, Cosmic Gate, Kill Paris, etc. I think if I wanted to avoid the biggest acts, dubstep DJ Caspa is probably going to get things afoot.
Even if you’re not going to the festival, you can check out tonight’s acts at APt 200 (3643 ST Laurent) — wtih Anna Lunoe, Treasure Fingers, and Jay London from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. $10/15. Yes, it moved from Clock Tower Beach. There’s also an official launch party at Terrace Bonsecours with the Bixel Boys starting at 22 p.m. – 3 a.m. $10/15.
Il Soniq of course has a few official afterparties for those who want to keep their feet moving after things wind down at Ile Soniq, or who didn’t buy tickets but want a taste of the electronic fun. Jessie Andrews, Mike Robia, and Bryan Shipley are the Friday night afterparty at Terrasses Bonsecours in the Old Port from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. $10/$15. On the other hand, Mr Carmack will be at the Belmont with Esta, Da-P and Gnave. $15. For the all night nuttiness that is Circus Afterhours, you can see Arnej and Mark Reeve at Circus Afterhours from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. the next day. Then brunch.
Saturday, the official afterparty is at the SAT with headliner Popof along with local support from Vakkum, Groj, and Zepha from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. $25. Circus Afterhours hosts another afterparty with ARNEJ, Malek, Bloodline, Chris Element, Mark Reeve, Andrei B, and Shanin. This all night club spot will keep the party going from 2 a.m. until 9 a.m. the next day.
Passes for Île Soniq are $70/90 for single day tickets, $145 for a 2-day ticket, $180 for VIP tickets, $300 for a gold pass (includes access to a terrasse) or $7,500 for a diamond pass (entry for 10 people and access to a dedicated lounge). Click here to get your tickets.