During the winter months, it is well understood that Canadians strategically aim to spend as much time indoors as possible. Being outside for more than 30 minutes can lead to uncomfortably cold noses, cheeks, and toes. However, Igloofest goes against these conventions by inviting you to spend a winter evening outside, provided you’re ready to bundle up. Imagine pounding bass, retro snowsuits, and neon toques for as far as the eye can see. Add in negative twenty degree chills and you get Igloofest, one of Montreal’s most unique winter events. Igloofest features a variety of popular DJ’s such as Skream, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and RL Grime to name a few that attract quite the crowd. Although Igloofest also features glacial temperatures, it is a blast of wild energy, inebriated young adults, and neon lighting.
The festival lasts from Thursday, January 16th to Saturday, February 8th. Each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, you have the chance to dance the night away to mixes from well-known and emerging DJs. You can purchase Igloofest tickets for $18 at select stores (see complete list below) or $20.50 online (these tickets are valid for one night.) You can also buy a weekend pass for $40 or, if you’re dying to get your groove on every single night of the event, the $120 festival pass is your golden ticket.
The Old Port has been hosting Igloofest for 8 years attracting a larger crowd and better DJ’s year after year. While you do not get to rage inside an actual igloo, there are ice sculptures all around the event, most notably the large “IGLOOFEST” sign carved out of ice. Once you take all the photos you want in front of this sculpted masterpiece, the full scope of the festival will leave you awestruck. Three walls of brilliant LED screens surround a central stage. To the right of the entrance, a number of boutiques feature all kinds of Igloofest merchandise. By far the most famous piece of Igloofest apparel is the classic color-block neon toque. You’ve probably seen McGill students sport them with pride around campus. Besides merchandise, there are drinks and food available on the ground-level and balcony-level of the event. Be sure to check out the balcony if you need a break from the mosh pit as it offers a great view of the dancers below.
One of the most pleasant parts about Igloofest is, you’ll never guess, the temperature. If you have prepared yourself by piling on the right number of layers, this can be the best mosh experience ever. Indoor concerts usually require coat check and, consequently, extra money. These types of concerts, along with summer festivals, get really sweaty really quickly, making the whole experience less enjoyable. You’ll be surprised how fun it is to bounce around in your puffy jacket with the other people at the concert with no sweat involved but enough body heat to keep out the cold winds.
Tips to get the most out of Igloofest:
1. When going to the event, be sure to double check the timing of the DJs that you want to see because the main DJ of each night comes on at 10pm. However, other great artists play earlier.
2. Be sure to dress warmly. I’m serious. That means hat, scarves, mittens, hand warmers, the works. You can always take layers off, but if you don’t have them, they will certainly be missed.
3. Be sure to print out your ticket and keep it in a safe place until entering the venue.
4. If you’re looking to drink, do it at home. The line can be long and drinks quite pricey. Plus, nobody wants to be forced into a crowd of people while balancing a beer bottle.
5. Stick with a buddy. This crowd can get pretty rowdy, so make sure you have at least one friend in sight at all times.
6. If you plan on drinking, stay hydrated and keep snacks around you throughout the night. Passing out in the snow just isn’t fun for anybody.
7. Listen to the DJ of choice before going! It’s great to know what to expect from a foreign artist, that way you can have a favorite song to look forward to.
8. Wear shoes that you don’t care about. The dance area gets really muddy, so be prepared to clean your boots afterwards.