Heading to Piknic Electronik on Sunday, July 28th was strange for me. When I was younger, this weekend in July was always about one festival and one festival only: Heavy Montreal. (Back when it was still lovingly stylized as Heavy Montreal.) Admittedly, I haven’t attended in the last few years, mainly due to the fact that I’ve seen every band that festival could throw at me about 113 times each, give or take.
This is all relevant because both festivals happen to take place on the same day, in the same park. The metro was practically split down the middle between people in bright summer colors and people in black leather and work boots. One conversation I overheard between two worlds colliding featured each festival’s flagship genres being explained at length to equally fascinated listeners. What a city.
Not only were the Heavy Montreal grounds and stages visible from the entrance to the Piknic grounds, but they were also fully audible. Only once one approached Piknic’s own mainstage did the sound of electronic music succeed in drowning out the down-tuned, distorted guitars and guttural screams.
Of course, for the better part of the day, there was nobody at the mainstage. It was one of the Summer’s hottest weekends and the sun was unforgiving. As such, almost everybody there found refuge dancing under the shade of the smaller stage area up the hill. This made for a much more intimate environment than I had experienced on my two previous Piknic outings; it really felt like a small contained party. To get a real sense of the stark divide between the two stages, I strongly recommend you go check out our Instagram page. And even if you don’t care, you should check it out anyway, our photographers are great.
This meant that poor Fundance’s opening set of lighthearted Euro-style beats at the main stage was largely unattended; only about thirty or so brave souls opted to stay in the sun for extended periods of time while other listeners opted to seek refuge in the chairs under the trees. Side note: I don’t think I’ve spoken about this before, but the chairs at these things are all really weirdly shaped, like something out of one of those loft parties full of bubbles you always see in movies about the ‘60s.
It also meant that Marcbook Pro, Kate White, and OMNOM enjoyed a dream set of circumstances for any DJ playing the second stage at a festival of this magnitude. I arrived just as Marcbook Pro was finishing off his set, but the crowd was already massive. Kate White had the fuck money, get bitches type of swag that was perfect for the intense party that raged in front of her. Her music was full of hooky vocal samples that she mouthed along with as she pumped her firsts. OMNOM was more chilled out, but the dancing was no less intense for his set. At around 8:10PM they announced that they would be closing the stage out soon due to…you know…the police, which hilariously drew boos from the people dancing.
The crowd literally was standing room only. The path leading to the right side of the stage (which is, coincidentally, an area featuring no less than three drink kiosks) was impossible to penetrate without some serious zigzag skills. There were more people seated on than I’d previously witnessed; one young lady had even brought a book to read. (Really? You paid money for a ticket to a dance music festival and you’re choosing to sit down and read a book? Whatever, to each their own.)
Demuja’s trippy beats cultivated a friendly environment for a respectable crowd to grow in front of the main stage, but it wasn’t until OMNOM wrapped up that the party really exploded in the main area, just in time for the disco-infused stylings of Detroit Swindle (notably only including one member of the erstwhile-duo) to bring it home.
Also, it was important to me that I try something I didn’t try the first couple of go-arounds, so I went and gave the seedy-looking dim sum food truck a try. The sticky rice wrapped in leaves was pretty good, although they did advise me that I shouldn’t eat the leaf. I ate the leaf. Nothing bad happened to me.
Written by Syd Ghan
Photography by Marc-Antoine Morin
*edited by Danielle Kenedy