Osheaga Threatens to Leave Montreal over Space Dispute
Organizers say the city wants to reduce the number of stages from six to four
Published Apr 15, 2021Organizers behind Montreal's Osheaga festival have suggested the event may soon be moved out of the city if a dispute over how much space the fest is allowed to occupy is not resolved.
A report from La Presse points to a wider revitalization plan for Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau that calls for a smaller footprint for the annual slate of music festivals and public events hosted in the space.
The publication reports that the space reduction, due to come into effect in 2023, will see the festivals lose an area of approximately 600,000 square feet that can accommodate 20,000 to 25,000 people. However, the park's currently unused Place des Nations is expected to open up for use in 2024, which could allow more space for stages.
Groupe CH, the parent company of promoter Evenko, estimates that Osheaga and fests at the site like îleSoniq and Lasso will lose 25 percent of their crowd capacity and see the number of stages reduced from six to four.
France Margaret Bélanger, executive vice-president of Groupe CH, told La Presse that a four-stage festival model is not something the company is interested in pursuing, sharing, "We will consider all of our options. It isn't what we want, but, unfortunately, one of those options will be to take [Osheaga] elsewhere."
Osheaga has been held at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène since its inaugural edition in 2006. La Presse reports that should Osheaga make the move, Groupe CH would eye locations elsewhere in Quebec, including Mont-Tremblant, Laval and Oka.
Montreal's municipal government, led by Mayor Valérie Plante, has stated the revitalization of Parc Jean-Drapeau will bring value to Groupe CH's festival slate. Councillor Robert Beaudry shared with La Presse, "We never told Evenko we don't want festivals. Rather, we want to concentrate activities as much as possible."
At present, Osheaga 2021 is still slated to take place July 30 to August 1, with previously scheduled 2020 headliners Foo Fighters, as well as Cardi B and Post Malone.