Well, another year of the entire city partying it up in the snow, ice and cold weather has gone into the history books, and by all accounts, it was a success for Montréal en Lumière’s trademark event yet again. Of course, an event that attracts so many people at once – and with most of the events being free, who can blame them? – can bring with it both upsides and downsides, but that’s precisely why Nuit Blanche is such a special event in this city. Here are the five craziest things we saw during our experience this year.
The hordes of people.
If there’s anything to be gleaned from the moment you start walking around Place des Arts during Nuit Blanche, it’s that it’s a struggle and a half to get from point A to B in a timely fashion. The hordes of people around the festival’s outdoor site isn’t surprising, but nevertheless claustrophobia-inducing. Not only that, but to ride on the zipline, you’d probably have to wait in line until 2028 – even if you were wearing an outrageous outfit/horse head mask and tried convincing them to let you skip the line for the sake of them having a hilarious photo op.
I mean, it was +2 outside, but the festival decided to have huge fireplaces out there anyway. All in the spirit of the season, right?
The Gaslamp Killer.
This year’s Nuit Tribe might not have been headlined by A Tribe Called Red, but this was probably the next best thing. Equipped with huge, frizzy hair and glitchy hip hop beats, the producer born William Bensussen did a great job reeling in a crowd at the Centre Phi by dropping tracks that were as off-kilter as his label founder Flying Lotus’ musical output, whilst also spinning stuff that was recognizable (Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta”) and trippy (Tame Impala’s “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control”) early on in the set.
Although I wasn’t at Astral for very long, it didn’t take much to notice how J Dilla’s smooth beats and legacy live on far beyond his death in 2006, and this newest edition of Montreal Loves Dilla on Nuit Blanche was proof of that. Sadly, although it was still relatively early in the event (around midnight), the lack of movement in the crowd while the DJs were spinning tracks from his vast musical catalogue was disconcerting to say the least. Considering his music is incredibly easy to bounce and sway around to, much of the crowd at that time seemed to stand around like statues.
The upstairs of SAT.
While the downstairs of the Société des arts technologiques (SAT) next to Club Soda had a nice – albeit rather dark – party atmosphere with deep house dominating the DJ’s soundtrack, the upstairs was a whole other level: a huge sphere with crazy patterns and visual effects engulfing the DJ and the crowd, as well as an open patio despite obviously less-than-ideal weather conditions. The chill but very lively atmosphere was like little else you could find at shows during Nuit Blanche, and was arguably the highlight of the night.
(This post originally appeared on Shoeclack. All photos taken by me.)