Day 2 of Osheaga Music Festival

By the second day of Osheaga, a certain familiarity with the lay of the park had kicked in, but there was still so much to be seen. Osheaga prides itself on offering quality in both music and art, and exploring the various installations set along the woods was a welcome retreat from the sun and music that still faintly echoed from the stages. Osheaga doesn’t quite belong to any age group, and there were many families with small children, who were provided their own play area, and interactive experiences throughout the park. Whether it’s a mature French attitude towards life, or just the nature of Osheaga, there weren’t too many of the stereotypes that are associated with music festivals – the lingerie clad teenagers and intoxicated festival goers were far and few in between.

The art during Osheaga was crossed with offerings by commercial brands, but it was a delicate balance, and it didn’t feel pushy or overt, and there was representation from all different markets, like Schick Razor, NYX Makeup, H&M and Virgin Mobile.

For those seeking an escape from the sun, Osheaga offers a chill zone, where hammocks were hung from trees, and people were free to lay and have a moment to reflect on all of their favourite music moments.

Osheaga is spread out among six stages, across the park.

Osheaga is spread out among six stages (River, Mountain, Green, Valley, Zone Piknik Electronique , across the park.

Osheaga's Happy mascots were a hit

Osheaga’s Happy mascots were a hit.

These Osheaga mascots were appreciated by kids and adults alike

These Osheaga mascots were appreciated by kids and adults alike.

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The Green Stage ( Scene Verte) featured a swing ride that put you above all the action.

 

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A festival goer tries their hand at rock climbing during Osheaga.

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BE WATER is an installation that serves as a cool, waterpark for festivalgoers.

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Osheaga was a very family friendly festival. While children were scarcely seen in the crowded pits, they were happily frolicking around the park, especially in the Kids Zone.

The vibe of Osheaga feels grown up and more sophisticated rather than catering to a teenage crowd

The Kids Zone was a retreat for kids and parents during Osheaga.

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This David Bowie statue memorialized the late singer, whose death was a shock to the music community this year.

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Art is just as integral as music to the Osheaga experience.

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Osheaga balanced between art and commercial vendors, and Sonnet.ca got the vibe of the festival right, with their marketing.

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Interactive exhibits sprung up throughout the park.

Whether you wanted to snap a photo or just admire, there was lots of art to see

Whether you wanted to snap a photo or just admire, there was lots of art to see.

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The Green Stage was an interactive to the brim at all hours of the festival.

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The NYX touch up stand at Osheaga featured complimentary touch ups and makeup artists meet and greets with celeb artists like Sonjdra Deluxe.

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H&M is a presence on the music festival circuit worldwide, and they always have supporters lined up for giveaways.

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Perrier is known for their Greenhouses, which features their own DJ and assortment of cocktails made with Perrier.

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Scene Piknic Electronique is where many of the electro acts play, the name is a nod to Parc Jean-Drapeau’s summer long, weekly fest which takes places on Sundays.

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Scene De La Vallee featured a mix of electronic acts and some rap acts with Post Malone and Jazz Cartier.

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The event was completely sold out, and nearly 50,000 people attended each day.

 

 

 

Canadian illustrator Pencil Fingerz is making his mark on hip hop

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(Pencil Fingerz)

The hip hop core community has changed significantly from what it was, during its sudden birth in the ‘70s.  As with all great cultural movements, hip hop evolved as it made it’s way from a niche – a few men beat boxing and emceeing in the streets of South Bronx – to finding a global audience through radio play giving a popular voice to black artists and changing the landscape of music in a way that still resonates today. As Kanye West declares he’s the biggest rockstar on the planet, rap has replaced pop music, brands are shelling big dollars for product placements in songs, and every pop starlet from Ariana Grande to Selena Gomez has sought out a rapper for a feature to edge up their sound.

Hip hop and rap’s ability to connect people through little more than bass and lyrics has attracted lifelong fans (and brands) from different environments and all corners of the planet. Everyone’s trying to cash in on the culture, whether it’s Hillary Clinton dabbing to Fetty Wap on the Ellen show or fast food chains tweeting about rappers feuding online. Social media has made it possible for anybody from all over the world to participate in the culture but true fans of the genre are now able to connect and actually influence their favourite artists. 

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(Andre 3000 drawn by Pencil Fingerz)

One of these lifelong fans is Pencil Fingerz, a digital artist, illustrator and painter who resides in the rural Canadian town of Chilliwack. While his environment is more suited for country music than rap, his portfolio includes: a music video for CJ Fly, tour posters for Yelawolf and Mick Jenkins, and album covers and more for Rittz. One of Pencil Fingerz longest ongoing collaborations is with The Underachievers and was sparked after Issa Gold spotted Pencil’s portrait of Andre 3000, with roses sprouting from his mind. 

Pencil’s exposure to rap began by chance when he first found a stray Eminem CD on the ground. It was that serendipitous moment that ignited a respect for the culture. After Eminem, he fully immersed himself into early 00’s hip hop, and often reflects on this era, with portraits of artists, like Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Since then, he’s honed both his artistry as well as his appreciation for hip hop and has injected himself into the culture, by producing art for some of his favourite artists.

Since meeting Issa online, Pencil has collaborated with The Underachievers to produce covers for their Cellar Door, Evermore: The Art of Duality albums and their latest mixtape, It Happened in Flatbush. Under Issa’s instruction, he’s even drawn himself into the artwork for the latter, shown smiling and laughing, amongst the rest of Issa and AK’s inner circle. Not bad for a young kid working from a small town in Canada.

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(It Happened in Flatbush cover art by Pencil Fingerz)

He’s amassed quite a following on his Instagram, where he posts lifelike portraits of public figures like Chance the Rapper, Will Ferrell, Audrey Hepburn and Pickachu, replete with a blunt in his hand.  With talent, a Wacom tablet, a bit of Photoshop, and a rich portfolio of  illustrations of all the rap gods from the golden era and beyond, Pencil Fingerz has since become quickly sought after, for up and coming artists looking to incorporate his signature pencil drawings into their brand. 

We spoke with Pencil Fingerz, on our radio show and discussed his favourite works, his creative problem solving with Chance the Rapper’s management and his collaboration with Complex magazine.

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(Evermore: The Art of Duality cover art by Pencil Fingerz)

 

Lil Debbie brings her no nonsense flow to the stage

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“I’m nice but not that nice” is what Lil Debbie told the crowd in a packed club, after a man attempted to hurl a drink at her onstage. It was disappointing to witness, especially since nothing of the sort had happened at any of the other shows we’ve been to. For Debbie though, it seemed to be just another day in the life as she moved back into the music quickly, after reprimanding the offender.

A rap show is a testosterone filled environment. The whole setup, from the expletive laced performances by artists and hype-men, to the girls they bring up on stage to dance – it’s catered for a male experience. It’s been the nature of rap, one of the most male dominated genres from its inception, with women only participating on a bigger platform in recent years.

Lil Debbie’s fought to turn the tides of this seminal boys club since she first picked up a mic. Her career has seen her persevere despite routine backlash which first started when she left the White Girl Mob and continues today with online torment just because she’s a female with bars. The constant barrage of negativity she’s waded through in the last few years seems to have amplified her stamina.

Debbie is strong; her presence is felt even before she speaks a word on stage. She commands attention, demands that you listen to her and engage with her. She speaks often, going on a trail of F-bombs capped off with a sweet smile.

She yells, she smokes, she stops songs to encourage you to follow your dreams.

“Nice, but not that nice” needs to be the maxim of every woman in the music industry, and every woman period. Knowing yourself and your boundaries may not make you easily marketable to record labels, but it adds years of longevity to your career, because adhering to your persona and refusing to be pushed around is authentic. That authenticity is craved by music audiences, who can see far past the manufactured bullshit, which is why Lil Debbie is in high demand by her audience even though ratchet/hyphy music has simmered recently.

We sat down with Lil Debbie before this show and spoke with her about competition and camaraderie.

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Rich Homie Quan brings his Lifestyle on tour

TheScreenGirls_RichHomieQUan6Rich Homie Quan is new Atlanta. The city has long been home to those creating trends in music, long before the rest of the world caught on. ATL is infused with it’s own rhythm, running a circadian of rhythm and blues and hip hop music. From the The Dungeon Family to superstar producers like Lil Jon and Jermaine Dupri, no one makes party music like Atlanta.

Rich Homie Quan and his oft-collaborator Young Thug are part of a new wave of Atlanta performers making a mark in the industry. It’s been a little less than two years since Type of Way was released and he’s since launched his reach worldwide, with the video nearing one hundred million views on YouTube. He’s found himself in hot pursuit both by record labels, and other artists eager to have him on features. Rich Homie Quan is seemingly unbothered by all the hype, and the “will he or won’t he” surrounding his relationship with Birdman and Cash Money records. He’s concentrated his efforts on putting out a steady stream of songs, both solo and with Young Thug. He’s been a constant presence on the charts since he felt some heat from Type of Way. It’s a good way to be when the pace of what’s relevant switches up so fast.

He’s also been touring extensively, which is an excellent way to gage audience reaction to the music. We were more than ready for a rowdy audience, but the sheer pandemonium in the crowd when he started the first few lines of Lifestyle indicated that he’s played a major part in the soundtrack of many lives. It’s a momentum that he’s come by relatively quickly but that will take a solidly delivered album to sustain. For Rich Homie Quan though it’s obvious that he’s relishing each moment, as an artist, and performer. His set was much longer than we’re used too, and he took each moment in between running back and forth on stage, to thank the crowd for their support. Whether it’s due to an awareness that his life has changed immeasurably since being in prison ten years ago, or just innate Southern manners, it was duly noted.

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