Igloofest 2018: The World's Hottest (and Coldest) Rave
Igloofest 2018: When, Where, and... Why?
An annual tradition forged in the Old Port of Montreal back in 2007, Igloofest is a nine-day outdoor rave spread out over three weeks featuring a slew of international producers and DJs held during the darkest, coldest nights of Montreal's winter season, a fact that, when revealed, leads select non-initiates to ask: "dancing? In the cold? Why?! Why would you do this to yourself?" Well, you might want to ask the close to 100,000 attendees expected at this year's edition the same thing.
In 2018, Igloofest runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from January 18 to February 3, 2018. Headliners include Kaytranada, Petit Biscuit, Sasha & Digweed, and Bonobo.
Igloofest 2018: Why? Why Do We Do This to Ourselves?
THE question. Who is insane enough to head into zero Fahrenheit weather to spend a night... chilling. Well, apart from the event's tens of thousands of fans, that would be ME. Me and Joris Voorn.
"It's such an amazing crowd, people go just absolutely mental from the very first record that you play. It must be a Montreal thing!" -Dutch producer Joris Voorn
Voorn nailed it. It is a Montreal thing. Better yet, it's a Quebec thing. To take myself as an example, when the mercury drops, I don't hide a heated cave waiting for a sparrow to sing me out of hibernation. I grab my thermos. I fill it with hot chocolate or tea. I head out to the skating rink. If I can score a ride to one of Quebec's hottest ski resorts, I'm in. And when I can find the time, I dance. I play. I frolick. Ain't no time for the winter blues. When you have the right threads for the weather* you can do anything in this town. Snow? A blessing disguised in ice crystals. The cold? Minor detail.
About those threads. Opt for down-filled coats, folks, not polyester fill which might fine for Paris, New York and London but is totally useless in Canada outside of Vancouver once January hits. High performance animal cruelty-free alternatives that can handle the same temperatures as down fill are few and far between and cost a small fortune.
And anti-fur activists may hate me (yet you shouldn't, I'm as disappointed with frivolous fur fashion statements as you are), but until affordable and functional synthetic alternatives that can handle extreme cold flood the market, at least try to make an exception for the frigid regions of the world.
Real fur is an incredible insulator when temperatures dip below -20ºC (-4ºF) whereas the vast majority of synthetic materials not only don't hold in as much warmth, they allegedly cannot prevent snow from melting and refreezing on it, which can make the difference between contracting frostbite and hypothermia versus not when engaging in outdoor winter activities.
A fur coat is one thing. But think twice before giving a Montrealer a hard time for wearing fur gloves. I've been there. I tried the fake fur route nearly my entire adult life. I resisted anything made of fur. But on top of being chronically sick, my synthetic ear muffs and mittens didn't hold a candle to the fur ones that recently came to replace them.
Igloofest 2018: Dates and Rates and Deets
The 2018 edition of Igloofest runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from January 18 to February 3, 2018 at the Old Port's Quai Jacques-Cartier. Admission ticket info and how to prepare for Igloofest are detailed just below.
Igloofest: It Gets Cold Out There, But Not For Long
Now here's the thing about Igloofest. Yes, dressing warm is a must—I get into the specifics of how to do that here—but do so in layers because it gets sweaty as the night progresses. You'll have to unzip your coat before you know it. It gets HOT out there when you're dancing with 10,000 other people, even in -20ºC (-4ºF) weather. And then you'll have to zip back up again when you stop.
And leave the heels at home. The dance floor, which is basically a bed of snow and slush, has more slip than grip.
Now let's say you do get cold. Don't fret. There are warming stations throughout the grounds and a heated "chalet" with bathrooms, food and a standing-only rest area. As for IGLOOVIP tickets holders, they're granted to access to a comfortable heated area with couches, a cash bar, and LED screens displaying Igloofest in action.
Got a One-Piece? Is It Horribly Ugly? PERFECT.
Another thing. Newbies might be interested in joining an Igloofest tradition. A handful of Igloofesters vie to outdo one another by wearing the ugliest, most fluorescently cheeseball snowsuits they can find. Unspoken bonus points if it's a one-piece. Wondering where to even score one? They're out there. Try Montreal's vintage stores and costume shops.
Is Igloofest Wheelchair-Friendly?
YES. Refreshing, isn't it? People with reduced mobility can comfortably access the site, food and beverage stalls and bathrooms. There are however mobility constraints in terms of accessing VIP sections, notably the second floor VIP atrium and private terrace.
If buying tickets on location, attendees with reduced mobility are instructed to head to the VIP line to buy a regular priced ticket. As for entering the site, use the VIP entrance.
Beer, energy drinks and mulled wine are sold on the premises as are poutine, pizza and other choice morsels.
Beat the Crowds
For a lineup-free experience getting through admission, get to Quai Jacques-Cartier before 9 p.m. Or even before 8 p.m. Igloofest nights in recent years have been known to sell out so the earlier you secure that ticket, the better.
Another way to avoid those lineups? Cough up some extra cash for the IGLOOVIP experience, a double plus admission rate which offers the privilege of bypassing most lineups across the site, from entrance admission to the bathrooms.
Igloofest 2018 Admission Rates
Regular admission varies from $20 to 35.
IGLOOVIP passes vary from $50 to $70.
IGLOOPASSE varies from $100 to $150 (grants access to every night of Igloofest)
IGLOOWEEKEND passes are $90 (grants access to 3 consecutive nights of Igloofest)
Note that IGLOOVIP passholders bypass lineups and are granted access to a heated VIP lounge, bar and bathrooms as well as a private terrace overlooking the main stage.