POP Montreal turns 10

Our hangovers have subsided, our feet have stopped hurting, and it’s time to look back on what made this edition of Pop Montreal one to remember. While the star of these birthday celebrations was arguably the free Arcade Fire concert that saw a reported 110, 000 Montrealers come out of the woodwork and fill Quartier des Spectacles at Place Des Arts, there were dozens of other landmark moments for the festival that received slightly less press coverage.

Arcade Fire at Pop Montreal. Photo by Kayleigh Jordan-MacGregor

In shaping the lineup of concerts and peripheral events for this year’s festival, creator and Pop boss Dan Seligman was careful to not only appeal to all tastes and and demographics, but to incorporate new events in making sure this year was one that counted. Apart from the usual offshoots of Fashion Pop (a showcase of of mini-collections by young clothing designers), Puces Pop (a handmade fair that celebrates local artisans), and Kids Pop (something you go to if you have kids I guess), there were completely nonsensical but awesome events like the 1st Annual Charity Basketball Game, which saw members of Arcade Fire and Pop staff facing off and winning against the McGill men’s team. The Pop Symposium also boasted some big names this year, from R. Stevie Moore to Art Spiegelman and countless other artists, music managers, and industry professionals engaged in an open-ended discussion in the small auditoriums of Pop Headquarters. Smaller events, like the annual Notman House barbeque made their return and continued to foster a sense of community to new and old festival-goers alike.

There are too many artist highlights to mention, but the curators of the festival once again pulled off the impossible and filled a schedule that spoke to both nostalgia, emerging talent, local sensibility, and utter weirdness. The Raincoats, Grimes, Girls, Fucked Up, The Velvelettes, Trust, Les Sexarinos, and about 600 other bands I wasn’t able to see, all played incredibly memorable sets that once again made the people of this city wish the festival could run just a little longer. I even made a 1am trip to Eglise Saint-Edouard on the last night of the festival because there was talk of a secret Arcade Fire show and I will admit to a total fear of missing out. I arrived, however, to see just a few members of the full band onstage pounding out ’50s and ’60s covers under the name Phi Slamma Jamma. Moments like these are a testament to how weird and wonderful Pop can be, and with roughly 344 days until the 2012 edition you have plenty of time to rest up and do it all over again.

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Categories: Arts and Entertainment, Montreal Music Festivals

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