My Trip to La Grosse Lanterne, or: 25 Things You’ll See at an Outdoor Music Festival

August 28, 2014    


By Mike Ghenu

Outdoor music festivals: they’re such a staple of summer in Montreal. But it turns out they happen in other places too! Like this Big Lantern thing the editor sent me to.

Now – and I’ll be honest here – I was hoping my first outdoor music fest experience of the season would be something like Eclipse, or even “Space Gathering,” but I spent the summer being broke in Mile End and never setting foot off the island of Montreal but once. So when the opportunity to attend the first edition of La Grosse Lanterne, a one-day festival in the woods near Granby, I jumped all over it.

Anyhoo, here’s what these outdoor music festivals are all about.

#1: Tent-pitching


Tents! It turns out they’re great for keeping warm in, pissing outside of, or even just eavesdropping from on your neighbours in the VIP camping area and scribbling down juicy morsels with which to plump up your dispatch for Vice’s whatever sub-blog.

#2: Coleman coolers


They’re so wonderfully 90s and amazing, and they make me wish I had one last month when the lease lady at my old apartment took away our fridge with two weeks left in the lease—and suggested we use one of these to keep our food cold in instead! (This was a week after she’d cut off our internet.)

#3: Picnic blankets


Hey, you know what this scene reminds me of? Being at the Mountain on any given Sunday, except you can’t bring your own depanneur beer, the music is enhh, and there’s no space-cakes man with a basket of edibles walking around. Also, it’s 2014: WHY IS THAT GUY WEARING A WRISTWATCH?!

#4: Scowls


Look how nicely the late-afternoon sun is lighting up the scowling front-man of this band, whose opening track almost shattered my +1’s ear-drums, but maybe they were still sound-checking. We couldn’t tell.

#5: Exactly zero fucks


Because when you have no fucks left to give, languidly puffing on a cigarette in-between your knob-turning duties seems like a no-brainer.

#6: Beards & tats


I’m calling it now: we’ve hit Peak Beard and the second dude from the right is the future!

#7: Bros


I think this picture is a Venn Diagram, with hipster at one end, bro at the other, and the lollypop-sucking dude on the right with the fresh haircut that will make him look like a penis-head in about three weeks’ time (and I would know, because I had that same haircut in April) falling squarely in the middle.

#8: Smoking


Strangely absent from this gathering were the vapers with their blinged-out e-cigarettes, who are often seen holding forth on the merits of huffing atomized nicotine and propylene glycol to a rapt audience of impressionable chicks. Those guys are the worst.

#9: This guy


Unlike most people who habitually smoke marijuana cigarettes (REEFERS!), he feels the need to broadcast it to the world.

#10: More smoking


#11: Dudes rocking a beard and a sweet pompadour


#12: Tattoos that make you go “huh?”


Logic gates, or penises? You decide!

#13: People who actually get paid to write about this shit.


You can tell this guy’s a blogger, because he works in his boxers.

#14: People from a past life


My +1 says that in high school, she used to smoke doobies like, all the time with one of the members of this band or whatever, but he shall remain unnamed because I’m not a gossip blogger or anything.



#16: (Mostly) white guys rapping


#17: (Mostly) white girls getting down to said rapping


#18: An act that should not have been booked


These guys’ music was terrible—and they should feel terrible.

#19: People in need of a light


Hold on to your lighters, folks! Lighter thieves are everywhere and they strike when you least expect it.

#20: Micro-brews you’ve never heard of


#21: Lovers


#22: Porta-potties


One time at Warped Tour in the 90s, I spent twenty minutes badly rolling a joint inside a sweltering porta-potty, because cops maaan! Now I just roll spliffs on my iPhone and piss wherever it suits my fancy. In fact, I don’t think I set foot once in one of these things all weekend.

#23: A band with funny accents


I don’t get Quebecers preoccupation with regional accents. They all sound the same to me since I stopped caring about improving my French.

#24: Cheesy decor


This could have been a good installation, except that the smoke machine driving it was powered by a gasoline-burning generator and it was fucking loud. Behind the smoke screen, however, was the perfect place to puff on a joint.

#25: Terrible DJ afterparty


You know what’s cool? Trap music. You know what isn’t? Whatever garbage this guy was spinning. It made me retire to my tent before 1 a.m. because fuuuuck—I’m too old for this shit.



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