By STEVEN HOWELL Press-Republican
---- — MONTREAL — From indy to electronica, classic ‘80s to rap, Osheaga is back in town.
Celebrating its eighth edition Aug. 2 through 4, the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, which is held outdoors on Parc Jean Drapeau, boasts more than 90 bands on five stages with a wide array of music.
Scheduled to appear are The Cure, Beck, Mumford & Sons, Phoenix, New Order, Frank Ocean, Vampire Weekend, The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Alt-J, Two Door Cinema Club, Tegan and Sara, Hot Chip, Beach House, Ellie Goulding, Flogging Molly, The Breeders, Grouplove, Father John Misty, Icona Pop and Tricky.
“We’re really happy with the lineup this year,” said Osheaga Artistic Director Nick Farkas. “It’s a good progression. We just try to make it stronger and stronger.”
For Farkas, creating a festival lineup that offers a little something for everyone never gets old.
“We work on this year round,” he said. “And with a festival you get to be a little more creative than if you’re booking a single arena show. It’s a labor of love.”
With five stages — dubbed the River, Mountain, Green, Tree and Piknic Electronik — as well as a larger fest area than years’ past, there’s room for everyone.
And there had better be — last year’s Osheaga sold out to the tune of 40,000 tickets daily. Expect the same this year.
Farkas first finds out who will be attending as booking confirmations come in. He starts the scheduling dance with headliners and works his way down the list.
“We got The Cure first this year and then Mumford for headliners,” Farkas said. “But it’s always exciting to find out when you get a confirmation.”
Logistically, many bands enjoy a festival shuffle of sorts by playing Osheaga in Montreal as well as Chicago’s famed Lollapalooza — both run the same weekend.
“Having Lollapalooza the same time is fantastic for us.”
BECK ‘A FAVORITE’
A late headliner added to the schedule this year was Beck.
“We had offers in to to him for the first seven years,” Farkas said. “It just never worked out time-wise. And this year the stars aligned. He’s always been a Montreal favorite.”
After booking, the real work begins — the delicate balancing act of who to put where when. Farkas and his team of four try to make sure that the demographics — be it lovers of indy, rap or ‘80s music — don’t collide.
“We try to put things that aren’t similar up against each other as much as possible. This way you can see a bit of something and then a bit of something else,” Farkas said.
“There are a lot of different styles of music, which I think creates an eclectic and interesting festival.”
And that is the beauty of Osheaga.
“We always love when someone discovers a new band,” Farkas said. ‘I love hearing that feedback. That’s my favorite part of the festival.”
Here are a few highlights for this year’s fest:
FRIDAY, AUG. 2
Alt-J, Mountain Stage from 4:15 to 5 p.m. The indy rock quartet from Britain, and last year’s illustrious Mercury Prize winners, means you’re in for an alt-indy treat.
Phoenix, Mountain Stage from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. The all-Francophone band, who perform all Anglo music, headline with some sure-fire hits from their latest, “Bankrupt!”
The Cure, River Stage from 8:45 to 10:45 p.m. Robert Smith and company are sure to please a wide demographic of kids who lived through — or who were born in — the 1980s decade of post-punk.
SATURDAY, AUG. 3
Grouplove, Mountain Stage from 1:30 to 2:10 p.m. For true indy sounds, the infectious sing-along that’s bound to happen during “Tongue Tied” is a reason to skip brunch.
The Heavy, River Stage from 2:10 to 2:50 p.m. How you like me now? For bluesy polish and a spot-on horn section, we really, really like you now.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, from 6:05 to 7:05 p.m. Expect the crowd to be dressed in their “Thrift Store” finest.
SUNDAY, AUG. 4
Icona Pop, Green Stage from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. The Lumineers, Mountain Stage from 6 to 7 p.m. OK, start with Icona Pop, if only for the summer anthem “I Love It.” Then “Ho, Hey” it over to catch the last half of the true indy stylings of The Lumineers.
Disclosure, Piknic Electronik Stage from 7:50 to 8:50 p.m. They’re up against New Order, but “When the Fire Starts to Burn” will be the way to end the fest.
Take Metro station Jean Drapeau.
The three-day general-admission pass costs $235 (Canadian dollars). Single-day admission for any of the three days costs $90.
Order tickets through www.evenko.ca.
Also visit www.osheaga.com.
Steven Howell is the author of Montreal Essential Guide, a Sutro Media iPhone travel app available at iTunes.com.