Inside Igloofest, the World’s Coldest Music Festival

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Inside Igloofest, the World’s Coldest Music Festival

Admittedly, it’s a bit of a strange sight: a sea of tuques and ski goggles, revelers clad in fluorescent snowsuits and hockey jerseys, stalls serving mulled wine, and Quebecois delicacies. You’d almost think you’re at an après-ski in Mont Tremblant or Aspen if it weren’t for, up ahead and across a field of concertgoers whose warmth visibly radiates into the cold winter air, a stage from which echoes the set from a world-class DJ. 

This is Igloofest, Montreal’s premiere annual winter music festival—now in its 16th iteration—taking place in the French-Canadian city’s historic Old Port over four of the coldest weekends of the year.

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Co-produced by Piknic Electronik and the Quays of the Old Port, and marketed as the “World’s Coldest Music Festival,” Igloofest has been a mainstay of the Canadian electronic scene since its first iteration in 2006.

While not your typical festival, the event is a chance to embrace the harsh Montreal winters through dance and camaraderie. And though some might find the idea of dancing to sold-out sets from legendary DJs in temperatures as low as -20 °C (-4°F) unappealing, it’s clear that many Canadians and international visitors are happy to brave the frigidity for an opportunity to let loose.

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In years past, Igloofest has welcomed both local and international artists who are at the top of their game—Kaytranada, Flume, Camelphat, the list goes on. This year’s edition, which took place from January 18th to February 10th, offered festivalgoers one of the most exciting lineups to date, including Tiesto, Eric Prydz, Armin Van Buuren, and 100 gecs, to name a few.

Interested in attending next year’s Igloofest? Here are a few tips to prepare for this unique and immersive festival experience:

  • Buy Early: Igloofest offers regular and VIP single-day tickets, as well as full festival passes. The VIP tickets feature outdoor heaters and reduced queues, as well as an elevated side view of the stage, and both tickets offer access to Igloofest’s main and secondary stage performances. Whatever option you choose, make sure to buy early as all tickets sell out quickly. 
  • Dress Warmly (But Not Too Warmly): It goes without saying that, when attending an outdoor event in the negatives, it’s good to dress warm. But, with the heat of the crowd and lots of dancing, you might be surprised at how quickly you can work up a sweat. The key to dressing for Igloofest: layers. 
  • Take the Metro: One of the best parts of Igloofest is its location. Nestled within the historic Old Port, Igloofest is easily accessible via Montreal’s iconic metro, with the nearest metro station a quick 10-minute walk from the festival entrance. 
  • Explore the Grounds: Besides excellent musical programming, Igloofest also offers a variety of activities, from photobooths and slides (!) to merch tents and food vendors. Take the time to explore the Igloofest grounds, and enjoy the incredible winter vibes that make this festival what it is. 
  • Check Out the Other Stuff: Igloofest offers many additional activities for the budget-conscious or those simply looking to keep the party going past midnight. There’s Igloofête, a family-friendly and admission-less event featuring live music, visual performances, games, and treats. There’s also Après-Ski, a nightlife-takeover series that showcases the vibrant local and global EDM scene at some of Montreal’s most legendary clubs. 

If you like hearing about dance music’s best festivals, make sure to follow us @nexusradiodance for more exclusive festival coverage.

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