After getting to know the boys behind Bacchanale, we were curious to know if they would live up to their philosophy. They told us the 4 areas to look out for as we headed into their new festival, Ancient Future: the bookings, the venue, the time, and of course, the ambiance. These 4 things are what the Bacchanale team pride themselves upon, so as we picked up our media credentials and made our way about the festival, we remained focused on the efforts placed behind these areas of expertise.
A true dedication to the techno fans of Montreal, La Bacchanale ensured a line-up overloaded with techno talent. A few names include: Octave One, Extrawelt, Lil Louis, Omar S, Phuture, Delano Smith, Alex Do., and many more. The local talent featured a cool mix between the deep-tech DJs like Von Party & Lebaron, and the more dark techno styles of Or Room and Alessandroid, and even one of Montreal’s very own live talents, Claire. The international bookings were spread over the 3 day festival on multiple stages, and there certainly was a vibrant scene of varying sizes at each stage visited. However, the scheduling was botched up on the Saturday after an unforeseen cloudy, rainy day. The talents were shifted from one stage to another, and the set times became a scene for confusion. Some did not manage to see the artists they had expected to. That being said, the audience’s spirits did not appear to be dampened by the rain or the hiccups in set times, as the team had generously made the outdoor section free for all as compensation for the drizzly weather.
The grounds consisted of 3 different stages: Hangar 16, Main, and Alternative stages. Two of the stages (Hangar 16 and Main) were designed with a futuristic, almost cloud-like scene, while the Alternative stage had a tribal, jungle atmosphere about it. The smallest and most humbly decorated of the three stages, the Alternative stage was also by far the most intimate, and hosted a very friendly crowd. On the other end of the spectrum, Hangar 16 was jam-packed with some of the most innovative lighting systems I’ve seen executed in such an old building. Creating flower shapes in the ceiling, LED lights coupled with a ‘pully’ system, cultivated the illusion that lights were blossoming to-and-fro from the ceiling to the crowd. While the venues themselves were wonderfully unique, the method of moving from one stage to another could have used some work. Crowds looked confused trying to make their way from one act to the next, as some sections of the grounds were free for the general public, while others weren’t, and even this changed day-to-day.
While the first day began at 5pm, the Saturday and Sunday festival days had an earlier 2pm start. Friday and Saturday closed at 3am, and Sunday closed at 11pm, as expected with Monday being a workday for most. Official afterparties in association with ECHOisONE were available for the party-goer who wanted to keep their feet moving into the early am hours, but besides a few promoters at the festival and a Facebook event page, the collaboration between the two groups was unapparent. Bacchanale, who are known for ending their previous parties in the morning hours, did not seem to place a lot of stress on these after-party events. However, this was no ordinary Bacchanale event. The intention was to be able to enjoy the beautiful outdoor summer weather before returning back to late-night parties. Crowds seemed to happy to comply with this intention, as did we!
If Bacchanale know how to do one thing, it is to create an artistic atmosphere for the party-goer. The lighting set up in Hangar 16, along with the earthy touches added to it’s outdoor smoking areas and bars, created a simultaneously dream-like and futuristic world. The Main stage outdoors fit well with this theme, and it was only the Alternative stage that had a similar, but different feel about it, making it more humble and raw. The walk-way between the two outdoor stages was filled fire-breathing entertainers, picturesque benches and pillow chairs underneath fruit-bearing trees that also allowed people to get in touch with nature – not to mention, the entire venue was sitting right on the edge of the Saint Lawrence River, giving all a breath-taking and iconic view of Montreal. A fusion between dreams, the future, and physical nature brought the festival’s name Ancient Future to life and showed that Bacchanale highlighted the most beautiful things about life for their biggest project yet. Overall, Ancient Future was a success!
Photos courtesy of Sebastien Vergne (Touelve)