Back for its 7th full edition (+1 redux edition last year), Montreal’s Parc Jean-Drapeau EDM festival, IleSoniq, brought in 60,000+ dancing fans over its 3 days.
I’ve covered every year of IleSoniq since it began its EDM domination back in 2014. To see how big it has grown is really cool, considering the under 10k people it had early on. This is also the first year it has stretched out to 3 days, and I believe the extra day is here to stay.
I was hired and contracted to cover the Mirage stage, which is the festival’s second stage. While I did pop in to see the huge new main stage, I am always happier covering the smaller stages. Not only are the artists and management more accessible, as the stage is on the opposite side of the main stage, fans who are there REALLY want to be there. It means our stage is a huge party stage with a great sense of community.
A few stats of my 3 day weekend, my first at Jean-Drapeau in 2022:
24 artists photographed – 8 per day
37,950 steps taken over the 3 days
47C – the highest “feels like” temp recorded (2 days in a row over 40C)
2 photographers out of the 5 working the event called in sick on Sunday
5:00pm – the earliest set to have pyro going off
4250 photos taken in 3 days
557 officially submitted photos, usually processed and uploaded within 30 mins of being taken.
I’ve always loved the challenge of shooting IleSoniq. It can be very easy to just photograph the same 3-4 angles for each artist, but trying to find variety and trying to play with the light and emotions is what makes this style of music such a blast to photograph. Who wants to just fall in an easy routine? 🙂
Quick recap (text and images) of each day:
Highlight sets of the festival on the first day. Always a pleasure seeing Black Tiger Sex Machine as my cousin is one of the 2 remaining performing tigers. Huge props to Sullivan King. His love of metal and rock infused with the bass and his impressive energy and stage presence was tops for me.
Always the non EDM day on this stage. We got rap legends like Sean Paul and French Montana, new sensations like Rae Sremmurd. Mr Sremmurd was a good 45 mins late for his stage time closing the festival. Many photographers decided to leave, but as the official festival photographer for the stage, I stayed. for the 30-ish minutes played, he put on a great set.
Reminds me of the 2018 performance of Travis Scott who showed almost an hour late and pretty much every photographer but the 2nd stage photographer left.
This was the first of 2 above 40 degree days. You can drink all you can, but the heat weighs you down. The metro / subway going home was a sauna.
With the weather saying huge rain storms, we planned for the worse. Stage evacuation, covering the gear, lowering the monitors. I had a rain jacket, camera rain gear, was all good to go. We only had a few bried periods of rain, which made everything that much hotter.
Security was on point putting out fans who couldn’t take it, giving out water bottles to everyone. It was an intense day to work, but mirroring what I said before, we were a community. People in the crowd with fans were fanning me and the security. I got handed a bracelet for all my positive vibes. We are there to ensure that fans have the best time possible, and we try out best.
It has been a blast to cover this festival for so many years. Unsure if I will be back next year, but all I can say is how grateful I am to have been shown a style of music that I would not really of known originally. Many say these are just button pushed who plug in a USB key. And while that can be true, many of them are artists and creators in their own right and deserve the recognition they get.