World-Renowned DJs Nina Kraviz and Jeremy Olander Dominate at Igloofest

Montreal’s popular winterbound techno festival, appropriately titled Igloofest, occurred this past week on January 25th. Contributing writer Clara Gepner tells us a first-hand account of what events transpired and how the performers stacked up against their competition...

From the moment you walked up the stairs from the Champ-de-Mars metro station to Vieux-Montreal, you could feel the energy pulsing from the attending crowd.

It wasn’t that cold, but it had been snowing for a few hours. There was a layer of powder and it was warm enough that it was starting to melt, which made it hard to walk. Regardless, the music streaming up from the Quai Jacques-Cartier was enough to draw a sizeable crowd in.

Once I made it through the line, security, and ticket-check (and the obligatory bathroom stop), I made my way to the main stage, where international techno super-star Nina Kraviz had just started spinning.

The slim Russian DJ was already playing some intense beats, and the crowd was loving it. They were braving the sleet and the sludge just to dance their hearts out. Nina’s music is unpredictable and changes pace every two minutes; this is why her audience loves her.

The ground rapidly became a hard-packed mix of ice and slush, as the crowd stomped on the snow and water in response to Nina’s beats. Everyone was getting soaked, but the tracks were intense and exciting enough to make people stick around. The crowd danced relentlessly, and despite the occasional sloppy transitions and the mixed rain and snow coming down from the sky, everyone was having an amazing time.

It seemed like a large portion of the crowd kept coming and going between the main stage and the smaller stage, which was being hosted by FrontRite, Montreal’s main electronic music community. Not long after Nina Kraviz came on the main stage, Jeremy Olander took over the smaller one just next door.

Seeing the mass migration, I followed some of the crowd to the Olander stage, where the Swedish producer was spinning some melodic techno and trance tracks. The crowd was packed tight in the smaller space, dancing in an unreserved fashion, despite sleet soaking their tuques and snow getting splashed at them by other dancers.

Back at the main stage, Nina was still playing with the crowd, bouncing back and forth between styles and rhythms. Her restless DJ style showed its true colours, making her move constantly to her music, which flowed effortlessly from song to song.

The atmosphere was intense yet playful; her audience loves her and showed so by moving to her beats without reserve. There were smiles on everyone’s faces and it was as if the weather didn’t matter: everyone who comes to Igloofest expects some level of discomfort, yet they come because they love the music and the vibe, which Kraviz and Olander delivered.

Saturday was no exception, and 15 minutes before the end of the show, the site was still full of techno lovers. Like its predecessors, this rendition of Igloofest still offered a lot of snow and rain, and I got soaked. Regardless, I was dancing alongside the crowd, drawn into the excitement of it all.

Finally, I had enough. It was time to go inside and dry my face, wet from the rain and snow being thrown around by those dancing. I followed the mass of people going to after-parties (many of them are on their way to Newspeak, where Jeremy Olander was once again playing later) and slowly made my way back to the metro.

Nina Kraviz’s intense beats followed me all the way up to Place Vauquelin, where I remember turning around one last time and seeing the lights dancing in the night sky. This was Nina’s second Igloofest appearance, and she did not disappoint. In similar fashion, Olander proved himself at his first Igloofest set. Here’s to another stellar lineup!