The crowd at Montreal's Igloofest 2019

Igloofest 2019

Dress up to get down at Igloofest 2020

We spoke to programmer Lucas Jacques about the peculiar magic of the annual dance party series.

It’s cold, it’s icy, the holidays are over and we’re in this for the long haul. This means that, once again, it’s time to don your vintage ski suit (or whatever keeps you warm) and boogie on down to the Old Port to dance off the chills at Igloofest.

The line-up this year is among the finest in fest history. The avalanche of groove talent includes Montreal favourites like Kaytranada and Loud alongside international acts such as electronic bigwigs like Nina Kraviz and Charlotte deWitte (whose Osheaga set last summer knocked hard as hell).

Yes, there’s plenty to hear, see, drink, eat and get warmed up to at Igloofest, which kicked off last night and runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until its Feb. 8 finale, whatever the weather. We reconnected with programmer Lucas Jacques, who hit us with a few plump, icy snowballs for limber-limbed and winter-brave partiers this season.

Best of Igloofest

Darcy MacDonald: In a few words, how does Igloofest keep itself fresh each year?

Lucas Jacques: Nothing (is) tepid, only the coolest music and the most cryogenic vibes ( ☞ ◔ ౪ ◔)☞

DM: How do you balance programming locally based or more traditionally “Montreal” artists with the international talents invited?

LJ: It’s always very important for us to showcase local talent. More than half of our program is actually Montreal DJs! We navigate between multiple styles and niches of music. I try to involve the extremely passionate local ambassadors who go above and beyond to promote, all year long, these niches in Montreal’s musical ecosystem.  

DM: Who are some of the international artists to look out for this year that we may be less familiar with?

LJ: I’m quite a fan of all the artists that are playing at the festival but if I’m to pick acts, I’d strongly suggest to check out Sentimental Rave, Trance Wax and Lauer (who performed last night). Prepare to dance your ass off! Polar weather has nothing on their hot beats.

DM: And what upcoming local talent would you put the spotlight on?

LJ: All of them unequivocally deserve light shone upon them. It’s always worth it to show up early and take time to check out what the local talent has up their sleeves!

Hip hop injection

DM: Is Loud the first live hip hop act Igloofest has featured? If so, how do you anticipate it may change that night’s dynamic?

LJ: Loud isn’t the first hip hop performance at Igloofest but it’s actually the first night 100 per cent dedicated to hip hop and we’re especially proud that our first hip hop night is hosted by all local talent! 

We felt that the Thursdays (with the earlier curfew, weekday responsibilities, etc.) had more of a concert vibe than a club night vibe. If anything, I think that it’s actually a more cohesive offer. Our long term goal for our Thursdays is to embrace musical diversity outside of electronic (music). We feel like everyone, from all backgrounds and interests, should feel welcome to try out the festival experience! 

DM: What has been some of the most-heard artist feedback about performing at Igloofest?

LJ: Quite literally, “WTF just happened?!!!!!” and laughter! 

DM: What advice would you give a first time attendee?

LJ: Come to dance and dress up properly! There’s nothing else like Igloofest. There’s something really magical with the weather that helps you transcend your inhibition and unite with your fellow freezing comrades. But you can’t really appreciate that if you’re wearing Crocs. ■

Igloofest takes place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Jan. 16 to Feb 8. Line-up and ticket info can be found here.