MEG Boat rides its own wave

A review of the MEG music festival party experience on the St. Lawrence.


For most land lubbers, the appeal of the annual MEG Boat is, as T-Pain succinctly put it, the mother fucking boat.

DJ sets and dance parties on solid ground come and go, but to weigh anchor from the Old Port and hit the open St. Lawrence waves with a drink in hand and the music blaring remains a singular thrill as far as recurring Montreal parties go.

This year’s edition followed the same format as usual. Partygoers, dressed for the inclement weather, lined up on Quai des Convoyeurs before the midnight boarding. The Cavalier Maxim boat used offers a front deck where most of the partying occurs while taking in an invigorating waterway breeze, as well as two decks on the inside, each with large windows offering a full view. There’s also an open air upper deck that went largely unused this year.


Unfortunately a torrid rainfall began just as the boat was leaving the dock. Too late to escape the three hour journey eastward and back, the early part of the night was spent inside, which is fine but doesn’t quite capture the feeling one seeks when they’re on a boat.

Each indoor deck had its own DJ. The lower Deck A was bestowed with the honour of having its music pumped into the outdoor area. When the weather is perfect, the music plays a complementary role to the boating experience, but in this case, the opening DJs, Paris-based DJ Slow and Darius, came out swinging with a mix of aggressive beats and recognizable hits to keep excitement from waning while the rain was pounding.

DJ Slow especially fell under the “one of these things is not like the others” category, but that was a good thing – his frantic and spastic cutting and recasting of Bando Jonez, Ginuwine’s “Pony,” the Weeknd, Drake, random grime and trap, along with D.R.A.M.’s silly summer banger “Cha Cha” maybe wasn’t enough to keep people from running to the front of the boat when the rain subsided, but it made for a disorienting pop tidal wave on Deck B.


For the final 90 minutes, there was only the odd light drizzle. Everyone gathered at the front of the boat for the concluding set from another Parisian, MYD, who provided the musical apex of the night with his own “Número Uno.” The boat glided past Montreal’s busy docks, still illuminated and dotted with workers even at night. Revellers also passed by some impressive Montreal backdrops, including la Ronde and some mammoth factories.

There is one little of tradition regarding the MEG Boat that will never grow tiresome: The music only gets going once the boat has passed underneath the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, and it stops once it goes under the bridge upon its return to the Old Port. It’s like a little New Years’ Countdown ceremony, which makes sense since MEG Boat only comes once a year. ■