Sunday, January 18, 2009

Igloo Fest

Montreal seems to have a never-ending supply of weird things to do that I have never quite gotten around to checking out. Case in point: Piknic Electronik. While Anglos and people who like to beat each other up while wearing Renaissance Faire gear go to the Tams, Francos and Raver Kids go to Piknic Electronik every Sunday to dance to beats from some of the hottest DJs worldwide. Having never been to a Piknic Electronik event in person prior to last night, I can't confirm if the linguistic split is true for the Sunday parties. Last nights event was sort of Franco-UN, with French dominating and every other language of the world flying off the tongues of those present. Ah, we can all unite under 150 bpm.

So, Igloofest is Picnik Electronik's winter slamdown. Every weekend for a three week period from 6 p.m.-midnight, the Jacques Cartier Pier is transformed into an igloo park on one side and a large party hall on the other. Almost the entire venue is outdoors, including the DJs who wear huge jackets to keep warm or look cool, or a bit of both. The igloo part includes an igloo bar for energy drinks and a lounge igloo. SInce staying warm is very important at Igloofest, people do not spend a good deal of time around the igloos, except to gawk.

The dance hall is true Canadiana. The walls are lit up with screens and lightboards. Speakers make sure the sound is heard throughout the hall at a not uncomfortable but loud volume. The snow is packed down from the feet of those dancing. And I tell you, people are dancing. You have to or else you will freeze. People come out in their snowboarding and winter gear, big down jackets, ski masks, snow pants, boots. A few get a little funky with care bear outfits or crazy hats. Somehow, even in all that clothing, people manage to move. You can't see every shimmy and shake, but you can see arms and legs in all directions as bodies go with the beats. Also striking... the smokers. For all those people deprived of the right to smoke at their favorite venue, they smoke freely and incessantly as they dance, which is intolerable for someone like me who doesn't smoke. Also in the dance hall is a bar with a variety of drinks that include the Caribou... a whiskey-maple combination.

The atmosphere is fun, jovial, but perhaps not conducive to making chit chat since you have to keep on moving to stay warm. I wasn't too impressed with the DJs, but Skratch Bastid has a set next weekend and if I knew a thing or two about the international techno scene, I'd probably have a better sense of who was worth checking out. As for Igloofest, it was worth the gander, but as soon as my sweat started to cool in the -19 temperatures, I left the party for other activities.

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