ShazamFest, a unique outdoor annual summer festival, returns for its 14th edition, and this year with more whimsy than ever. It has perhaps the most eclectic diversity of performances to occur at a single festival.

ShazamFest features a diverse range of entertainment including, but not limited to: live music performances, circus acts, burlesque, dance, theatre, poetry, wrestling, skateboarding, and much more. The festival is set to take place from the 11th to the 14th of July (this weekend), and is to be hosted in the Eastern Townships, 90 minutes outside of Montréal at festival founder Ziv Przytyk’s organic family farm. Free roundtrip shuttle services from Montréal are available, as well as free on-site camping. 

The festival is also particularly distinctive for its green initiatives, as part of its dedication to an eco-responsible and sustainable approach. ShazamFest is very encouraging of its zero-waste initiatives, having only produced 12 bags of garbage at its 13th edition last year and aiming to create even less this year by encouraging festival goers not to bring single-use bags, using only reusable or compostable dishware, providing unlimited free local source water, bringing in organic local food vendors, and numerous other eco-friendly features.

The headlining acts of ShazamFest XIV will be Afrikana Soul Sister, Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire, the Souljazz Orchestra, and Susie Arioli. A few additional must-see features include Matthew Silver, Ziv’s Sunset Show, Bibi Lolo BangBang the clown, a burlesque segment by Swell Sisters La PetiteFleur and Queeny Ives, and many more.

Here’s the full lineup:  

Visit ShazamFest’s website for more information about the artists and tickets.

Win Tickets!

That’s right, FTB is giving you a chance to win a pair of tickets ($125 value) to Shazamfest! Simply share this post on Facebook or Twitter, tag @forgetthebox and say Shazam!

We will draw a winner from the entrants and announce it Friday morning.

For everyone else, tickets are available through

Happening on July 11-14, 2019, 2722 Way’s Mills, Ayer’s Cliff, QC J0B 1C0 in the Eastern Townships.

Free entry for children 12 years & under
Free admission all day Sunday 
Free roundtrip shuttle services from Montréal 
Free on-site camping

Last year, as an alternative to Time Magazine naming then President-Elect Donald Trump its Person of the Year, we decided to invite our readers to select our recipient of the same title. Since Time really didn’t have a choice, given the amount of mainstream press he had received, we decided to encourage our readers to consider coverage in independent and activist media as well.

Even though Trump isn’t going to get the same honour this year from Time, why not continue the tradition we started in 2016? So, with that in mind, here is FTB’s Person of the Year for 2017 Poll!

We’re looking for the person or group of people (last year’s winner was the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) who had the most important cultural impact in 2017, be it locally (here in Montreal or wherever else you live, but just know that most potential voters live in the 514) or globally.

We’ve added some choices already, but feel free to add your own (it does need to be an actual person or group of people, though). You have until December 15th to vote and we’ll announce the winner of December 18th. You can only vote for one choice but can change your vote up until the 15th.

Here’s the poll:

Who should be named FTB's Person of the Year for 2017?
  • Those who came forward wtih #METOO 27%, 6 votes
    6 votes 27%
    6 votes - 27% of all votes
  • Valérie Plante 27%, 6 votes
    6 votes 27%
    6 votes - 27% of all votes
  • Antifa 9%, 2 votes
    2 votes 9%
    2 votes - 9% of all votes
  • Jeremy Corbyn 9%, 2 votes
    2 votes 9%
    2 votes - 9% of all votes
  • Colin Kaepernick 9%, 2 votes
    2 votes 9%
    2 votes - 9% of all votes
  • Angela Merkel 5%, 1 vote
    1 vote 5%
    1 vote - 5% of all votes
  • Emmanuel Macron 5%, 1 vote
    1 vote 5%
    1 vote - 5% of all votes
  • Niki Ashton 5%, 1 vote
    1 vote 5%
    1 vote - 5% of all votes
  • Donald Trump 5%, 1 vote
    1 vote 5%
    1 vote - 5% of all votes
  • Stephen Colbert 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • The ACLU 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Carey Price 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Jagmeet Singh 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Ta Nehisi Coates 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Justin Trudeau 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Trevor Noah 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Catherine McKenna 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Danica Roem 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Robert Mueller 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 22
November 25, 2017 - December 15, 2017
Voting is closed

So you may have seen that Time Magazine named Donald Trump its 2016 Person of the Year. This announcement was greeted with vocal condemnation and almost equally as vocal reminders that this isn’t an endorsement but rather an acknowledgement of the cultural and political impact Trump had in the US and around the world.

Given the fact that Time was going primarily on mainstream media narrative, Trump winning makes perfect sense. He did dominate the news coverage in 2016. If you have a problem with the result, then you should have a problem with the way the corporate media filter operates.

Instead of complaining, though, let’s simply take away that filter and see what we get. Forget the Box is going to name its own Person of the Year for 2016!

Like Time, we’re looking for the individual or group of connected individuals that had the biggest impact on our culture in the past year. Unlike Time, we’re not limiting our view of cultural impact to what is represented in the mainstream press. Social and indie media play just as big a role in our decision.

We’re giving everyone a chance to vote and are starting with some likely choices. As we’re based in Montreal, some are local and Canadian. We’ve also included Trump as a choice to be fair. If your choice is not on the list, simply state it in the comments below and we’ll add it to the options.

We do reserve the right to reject suggestions. We also reserve the right to make an editorial decision and give Person of the Year to someone other than the top vote getter, while still acknowledging who got the most votes. We probably won’t do that, but we will if the winner is Harambe (I mean, seriously, internet).

Anyways, here’s the poll, you have a week to vote. Then we’ll proudly announce FTB’s 2016 Person of the Year:

Who should be FTB's Person of the Year?

  • The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (38%, 13 Votes)
  • Bernie Sanders (24%, 8 Votes)
  • Gord Downie (9%, 3 Votes)
  • Donald Trump (6%, 2 Votes)
  • Anarchopanda (6%, 2 Votes)
  • Black Lives Matter (6%, 2 Votes)
  • Barack Obama (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Nigel Farage (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Amy Goodman (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Yoshua Bengio (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Denis Coderre (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Justin Trudeau (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Hillary Clinton (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jeremy Corbyn (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 31

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This week the very unsurprising theme will be what to go see at Osheaga. There’s this little known group from England you might have heard of called Radiohead that I think you might enjoy… who am kidding, this preview will talk about none of the well known acts you already know you’re going to see.

So have fun checking out the Chili Peppers, Death Cab for Cutie, The Lumineers, Cypress Hill, Bloc Party and Lana Del Ray (to name a few) but earlier in the day your plan might be a little less set, so here are some options.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

While this is hardly an obscure act, I couldn’t help myself but put Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats in this preview mostly because this is the group I most want to see, period. Nathaniel’s been around for quite a while now but only started to get “playing at Osheaga” type attention once he formed the Night Sweats.

This new project is a more upbeat, big band, electric guitar style of bluesy soul music than what Rateliff has done in the past and the results have been a positive reaction that has put the singer/songwriter on the mainstream map. Most people’s introduction to the Night Sweats is through the hit S.O.B but I encourage everyone to dig a little deeper in the band’s self titled debut album which is solid top to bottom with well crafted tunes.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats plays Scène Verte Sonnet, Sunday, July 31st, 6:25 PM.

Elle King

For those heading down early on Friday be sure not to miss Elle King who’s so-oh-oh-oh-oh fun and upbeat blues/soul/rock/country style will be a great early day choice. We’re hoping Elle breaks out the banjo and tries to make hipsters ho-down.

Elle King plays Scène de la Montagne Molson Canadian, Friday, July 29th, 3:10 PM.


Also on Friday afternoon I would recommend checking out Icelandic four piece volcano rockers Kaleo who have got some of the most beautiful, summery tunes you’ll hear at this year’s fest. Having released their second album A/B earlier this year and getting their songs featured in TV shows and video games these guys are starting to reach a bigger audience and that should include you.

While bands have being playing in odd places to gain attention ever since the Beatles took to the rooftops, these guys took it to a new (and uniquely Icelandic) level. Here they are rockin’ the volcano.

Kaleo plays Scène de la Rivière Virgin Mobile, Friday, July 29th, 2:25 PM.

Official Pre-Party with Elephant Stone + Walrus + Pif Paf

If you’re looking to start your Osheaging (pronuonced oh/sheeeee/age/ ing) off early then head over to Divan Orange on Thursday night for the official Pre-Party which feature Indie rockers Elephant Stone. The local trio are set to release their new album in September and will be (hopefully) playing some of the new tracks.

Here’s their latest music video which, talk about current, features a bit of Pokemon Go.

Joining them on stage will be Halifax natives Walrus and Pif Paf who we have already featured in a previous post.

Elephant Stone, Walrus and Pif Paf play Le Divan Orange, 4234 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Thursday, July 28th, 9:30pm (Doors 8:30pm), tickets $13.90 through indiemontreal.

* Featured image by Chris Zacchia

Osheaga 2014 Gogol Bordello © Bianca Lecompte

2015 has been off to quite a busy start, but before we get too involved, let’s take one final look back at 2014.

Every year we ask our contributors to vote on the favourite two posts they wrote and the two posts they liked most from all the other contributors on the site. Then, in a not-too-scientific manner, we turn that into this list.

In no particular order, these are the top posts of 2014 on FTB:

Standing in solidarity with Ferguson by Cem Ertekin, photos Gerry Lauzon

After the grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri erupted. In Montreal, the Black Students’ Network of McGill organized a vigil. Cem Ertekin was there to report and record audio and Gerry Lauzon took pictures (read the post).

Burlesque: A Naked Revolution You Can Do Too! by Cat McCarthy
Cat McCarthy on what burlesque has done for her and can do for you, too. For her, it’s a revolution of sexual liberation. (read the post).

Our first and (probably) last post about Jian Ghomeshi by Johnny Scott

We only published one post about Jian Ghomeshi this year: Johnny Scott’s satirical response to the overbearing presence of Ghomeshi images in his Facebook feed. The story is important, but do we really need to keep looking at his face? (read the post)

Electric Winter: an interview with Igloofest’s Nicolas Cournoyer by Bianca David

Did you know that Igloofest started out as a joke? Well, it did, and now it’s anything but. Find out about the fest’s origins and its future in Bianca David’s interview with founder Nicolas Cournoyer. (read the post)

Black Lives Matter - In Solidarity with Ferguson Montreal vigil (5)
From the solidarity vigil for Ferguson held in Montreal on November 25, 2014. Photo by Gerry Lauzon.


Solidarity with the enemy: When the oppressor wants to fight oppression by Jason C. McLean

When municipal workers took up the fight against austerity, Jason C. McLean wondered if it was possible to show solidarity with those who didn’t reciprocate. Also, would that even be a good thing? (read the post)

Channeling Energy with Brody Stevens @ OFF-JFL by Jerry Gabriel

This year, we covered Just for Laughs, OFF-JFL and Zoofest. One of the more, um, interesting performances we saw was by Brody Stevens (he had a cameo in The Hangover). Find out why it piqued our interest in this report by Jerry Gabriel. (read the post)

Ferguson – The Grand Hypocrisy: Legitimate violence, ideology and the American Dream by Niall Clapham Ricardo

How legitimate is a legal system that serves more to oppress than to protect? Niall Clapham Ricardo takes a look at the aftermath of the Ferguson Grand Jury. (read the post)

The rise of EDM at Osheaga by Jesse Anger

This year, we returned to Osheaga and Jesse Anger discovered that it was more electronic than ever. Find out why. (read the post)


From November 29, 2014 Refusons l’Austerité march in Montreal. Photo by Cem Ertekin.


Say no to victim blaming by Bree Rockbrand

When the Montreal taxi rape story broke, Bree Rockbrand searched for stories of similar cabbie assaults. What she found lead to this post about why we need to stop victim blaming. (read the post)

Cuddles and catpuccinos: How Montréal is setting the course for cat cafés in North America by Josh Davidson

CAAAAAATS! But seriously, there are cats, plenty of them, at Montreal’s two cat cafes, the first such places in North America. Josh Davidson reports. (read the post)

Snowpiercer is a Welcome Addition to the Current Dystopia Craze by Thomas O’Connor

With the dystopia genre going the way of vampires, Thomas O’Connor takes a look at Snowpiercer. Is this a film that can buck the trend? (read the post)

SPVM officers issue a ticket for a situation they created (AUDIO) by Jason C. McLean

Lindsay Rockbrand just wanted to lay down for a few minutes on a park bench, but the SPVM wouldn’t let that happen. Even though it was before 11pm, they managed to give her a ticket for being in a park after hours (read the post and listen to the interview)

Tinder, Tinder, On The Wall… by Jules

Jules decides to try out Tinder. Wonder what will make her swipe left? Find out. (read the post)

Igloofest 2014 7 © Bianca Lecompte
Igloofest 2014. Photo by Bianca Lecompte.


2014 in Review: Why Feminism Still Matters by Stephanie Laughlin

It’s not usual for a year-in-review piece to make it to the list of favourite posts, but Stephanie Laughlin’s look at the events of 2014 as a reason feminism is still needed bucks that trend. Find out why. (read the post)

Some Nasty Advice: The Nasty Show @ JFL by Hannah Besseau

We didn’t like everything at this year’s JFL. While Hannah Besseau enjoyed the Nasty Show overall, she does have some advice for next year. Will those planning it listen? (read the post)

Quebec election postponed until August: Marois by Jason C. McLean

Our April Fools posts usually catch a few people (usually those just waking up) off-guard, but in 2014 we really seemed to have hit a nerve. Maybe it’s because the scenario we jokingly proposed wasn’t all that inconceivable, given the climate. (read the post)

P6 is police collaboration and I refuse to participate in it by Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson argues why, under no circumstances, people organizing a protest should comply with municipal bylaw P6. It is collaboration, pure and simple. (read the post)

Osheaga Day 3: The Green stage rules them all [PHOTOS] by Bianca Lecompte

More Osheaga! This time, it’s the Green Stage and quite a few photos by Bianca Lecompte. (read the post, check out the pics)

Petrocultures 2014: Oil Energy or Canada’s Future by Sarah Ring, photos by Jay Manafest

This year, McGill held a conference on oil and Canada’s energy future. It welcomed people with sustainable solutions to our dependence on fossil fuel and Ezra Levant. FTB’s Sarah Ring and Jay Manafest were in attendance. (read the post)

#FantasiaFest Interview with Director Leigh Janiak of Honeymoon by Pamela Fillion

No, this isn’t just in here because it mentions Ygritte from Game of Thrones, but that helps. It’s actually a pretty cool interview by Pamela Filion with Leigh Janiak, Rose Leslie’s director in Honeymoon. (read the post)

Our collective struggle: Austerity and Spring 2015 by Cem Ertekin

This piece by Cem Ertekin is a prediction of what’s to come in the Quebec student movement (SPOILER ALERT: We’re in for another Maple Spring). It’s also a great primer for anyone wanting a rundown on just what austerity is and Quebec politics for the last few years. (read the post)

With just a few hours left in 2013, the results are in! As we’ve done for the past few years, we asked our writers and editors to vote on their favourite posts of the year, both those they wrote themselves and those written by others. Then we tallied up the votes and factored in things like balancing the list by subject and social media shares to break a few ties and…presto!

Now, without any further adieu and with some forward-looking here are the top 14 posts of 2013 as selected by FTB contributors and editors. Happy New Year and see you in 2014!

seb black emery street

The Style of Emery Street
by Bianca David

In May, Bianca David paid Seb Black a visit at the headquarters of notorious DIY label Emery Street Records in advance of Black’s release On Emery Street.

P6 Power Trip: How the SPVM may be ignoring their own script

by Jason C. McLean

Mass-kettling? Ticketing parents of schoolchildren for promoting road safety? Jason C. McLean on how the SPVM have lost the plot with bylaw P6 and may be doing serious damage to the city’s image.

Why not give your time? Volunteering in Montreal
by Melanie Renaud

Melanie Renaud discovers the joy of volunteering. She also has some advice on how to get started giving your time in Montreal.

Your City Your Candidates: Richard Bergeron
by Taylor Noakes

Taylor Noakes’ series of Montreal municipal election candidate profiles included this in-depth chat with Projet Montreal leader Richard Bergeron. They talk about how he would deal with the provincial government if elected mayor as well as P6 and comments he made about the anti-police brutality march.


Irish pubs are boring. Go to a Japanese pub like Imadake instead
by Joshua Davidson

It’s high time for izakaya, the Japanese pub concept to take its place among the more lasting trends in food, according to Joshua Davidson. In this piece, he reviews Imadake, a rowdy Japanese eat-and-drinkery located on the western edge of downtown Montreal.

Mark Marek case will test the limits of freedom of expression in Canada
by David DesBaillets

Is freedom of expression absolute in Canada? David DesBaillets takes a look at one case where it might not be.

A Talking Cat!?!: Autopsy of a Film
by Thomas O’Connor

Thomas O’Connor takes a unique approach to tackle a uniquely bad film. It’s not a takedown, it’s an autopsy.

Daniel Marin: The Barber of Blue Dog
by Yasmine Dalloul

In one of the more unique profiles we ran this year, fashion writer Yasmine Dalloul speaks with barber Daniel Marin. The interesting part is where he cuts hair: in a bar.

Is the Liberal Party still liberal?
by Niall Clapham Ricardo

With Justin Trudeau now Liberal leader, many have been wondering if Trudeaumania will come back. Niall Clapham Ricardo proposes that Trudeaumania could just be nostalgia for something that never was.

Best of Fantasia: Interview with The Dirties director Matt Johnson
by Pamela Fillion

One of the most buzz-worthy films at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival was The Dirties, which won several awards at the Slamdance Film Festival. Pamela Fillion got the opportunity to speak to director, writer, and co-star Matt Johnson.

Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson and the tools for change
by Jason C. McLean

Jason C. McLean interviews activist Katie Nelson in this piece from late August. She is the self-proclaimed anarchist and Concordia student who is suing the City of Montreal and the SPVM for political profiling during the student protests.

Johnny Scott’s Search for Sasquatch
by Johnny Scott

This piece is about much more than Johnny Scott’s wish for a brotherly bond with Sasquatch, the elusive forest dweller he believes really exists. It raises questions about humanity’s loss of faith in friendship and love as a whole.

Motivational Blah Blah
by Jimmy Gutman

Inspirational quotes, motivational speakers, the power of the individual: Jimmy Gutman calls bullshit on the matter in this humorous but dead serious piece.

What the Twerk? The Miley Cyrus Aftermath
by Jessica Klein

Jessica Klein is more surprised by the reaction to what Miley Cyrus did at the VMAs than the twerking itself. This piece offers quite an interesting analysis.


National Geographic has a venture called The Genographic Project which, through genetic data gathering, is able to map out where each individual’s genetic background comes from. By participating you are able to see where your ancestors travelled from, and how you might have ended up where you are. What is so profoundly important about obtaining these results, is the fact that not a single human being can claim ownership to any land or country through birthright, simply because down the line their heritage reveals them as migratory elements containing multitude of different races and immigrants.

You, being born in this land, does not make you a native.

The language you speak just like the genes you have inherited come from thousands of years of evolution that was prompted by relocations, wars, invasions, and trades which tremendously influenced your modern tongue, as well as every single linguistic development in the world as it still does today. The French you speak is not pure. The English you speak is not pure. The Farsi you speak is not pure. They are mutants of long forgotten languages that were themselves mutated from other common ancestral languages.

Your mother tongue does not make you a native.

The Genographic Project has proved without any room for speculation that all human beings have migrated out of Africa, because we share a common gene that links us all to a tribe that resided there, and then we proceeded to migrate to all the corners of the world in search of better conditions. The linguistic experts have all agreed that all modern languages have a common ancestor which then branched out to create different dialects and ultimately different forms of languages which then through progress in travel got intertwined.

If you consider political and philosophical matters you will also come to the conclusion that throughout human history certain aspects of our needs and wants in terms of social justice and equality have always been shared. Discrimination has always been punished, and morality has always been rewarded. We tend to be compassionate toward one another’s suffering. We want equal opportunities. At every step in our history, no matter where we came from, no matter the colour or race, no matter the religious or political standings, we have managed to find answers and find a way to reduce injustice and tyranny, at times more successful than others; and yes many civilizations were lost due to idiocy and misplaced opportunistic hatred, however what was the root of these idiotic, racist, prejudiced behaviour was, is and always will be division.

genographic_projectYou and I are less different than we think.

Yes, I was born in Iran, and you might have been born in Israel, India, China, Germany, Canada, England, Scotland, France, Japan, Africa and so on, and thus look, sound and write different.  Does that sound like something acutely different, or considering that we share so much genetically and linguistically as well as intellectually and philosophically, all the rest are superficial nonsense?

You see we have started nitpicking and projecting differences between ourselves in order to justify our bigotries. We blame and label nationalities based on stereotypes. We blame religious minorities because we do not want to understand them. We blame headscarves, crosses, turbans, beards, sideburns, skinheads, tattoos. We are doing our best to be different, because we are scared of what might happen if one day we decide that these differences do not matter.

We are scared to count ourselves as part of an all-embracing human race.

We are scared of being fully committed to making everyone’s life better, and not just our own. We want somebody to blame. I have a suspicion that we like our indirect democracy for the same reason; otherwise this form of governance is not viable. We want to elect someone to do the dirty job for us, because we do not want to be directly involved, and when things go awry we can blame someone else.

You send others into battle and rather be safe yourself, why? Why can’t you see that if someone is injured, humiliated, taken advantage of, or killed every single human being on this planet will be affected? Why can’t you see that you are not from this country or that, and are not just responsible for your own land and your own perceived kind, because you do not have a native land and kind of people? Why can’t you see that you are responsible to speak out against all the injustices of this world, and not participate in any system that aims to supress people, take away their right, or withhold their basic liberty? Because those people who might look and sound different are not different from you. You are not defined by your colour, nationality, language, religion, political views, job and so on; you are defined by something much more simple and profound: your humanity.

Wouldn’t be better to say out loud that you do not agree with prejudice, instead of hoping someone else does? Why would it matter if you alienate you mother, father, brother, sister, wife, family, community, or half of the world, if what you say and do shows that you are standing up to sources of division? Wouldn’t be better to lead by example? Because I promise you, things will only get better if people see you stand up and say I want fairness, integrity, honesty, inclusion and unity.

When the thunderstorms retreat, I sit outside on my tiny patio, drinking sangria, content that the seedlings are growing (with only a few transplant casualties), and pluck away at some guitar strings humming along with some of my favourite melodies. The signs of summer also announce the beginning of Montreal’s festival season and there is no lack of choice for the initiated and uninitiated alike. Thanks to McAuslan brewer, who brew the most wonderful rosé cider and are ardent supporters of local arts, and Hello Darlin’ productions Montreal has its very own Folk Festival on the Canal providing a spot for acts to land and share their tunes with music lovers as well as an opportunity to showcase local bluegrass, country, and folk talent.mccoury_band-no-logo

The 6th edition of Montreal Folk Festival on the Canal boasts some impressive programming and begins on June 12th with the first of three indoor shows with Roger McGuinn of The Byrds. The next evening, Corinna Rose, a talented and promising local act, will be opening for headliner Tim O’Brien who in turn will be kickin’ off the fest’s opening gala. On friday, The Travelin’ McCourys who are considered bluegrass royalty by many, will be playing at the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre. Of the three indoor shows, I am the most intrigued by The Travelin’ McCourys who have been playing on the road for around twenty years. Two of the band members, the McCourys, have bluegrass in their blood as they are the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury.


For the second year, the weekend programming and “meat” of the fest is free taking place at the Ilot Charlevoix near the Atwater Market. On saturday, I am most excited for Will Driving West and Old Man Luedecke. I first heard of Old Man Luedecke from David Pearce of the Jimmyriggers, whom I met whilst volunteering for the fest a couple years ago, when he sent me the tune “I Quit My Job” after hearing me complain about my barista gig one too many times. Old Man Luedecke is a one of kind treat, not to be missed, and lately I’ve been humming his tune “A&W Song” round the house.

As for sunday, The Franklin Electric, a Montreal based music collective, will be launching their debut album This is How I Let You Down an emotional blend of folk and pop. Apart from them, I am less familiar with the acts lined up for Sunday, but that’s not a bad thing. I’ve found that this can be  the best scenario for finding a new ‘coup de coeur’. A few years ago, I was taken by surprise by Canailles when they took the Folk Fest stage and by Anthony D’Amato when he took part in a songwriter circle. They are now amongst my favourite musical acts. This year, The Once seems most promising. I spotted one of them playing a bodhran in one of their videos and my heart danced a little.

The_OnceThat’s not all, along with showcasing folk, bluegrass, and traditional artists the Folk Fest, in partnership with Parks Canada and Mountain Equipment Coop, provides music lovers and their friends and lovers an opportunity to experience some urban camping. Starting on saturday, tents will be pitched sprouting like tiny mushrooms along the canal and fest goers will be able to enjoy all of the weekend programming on site. Urban camping is made sweeter by the opportunity to try out some of Montreal’s lovely treats and new food trucks including Popcorn Mania, Sweet Lee’s Bakery, Hot Dog Mobile, Smooth Fruit, Grumman 78 (tacos!), Landry et Filles, Ma Tante Quiche, and Latte on Wheels.


Come for the tunes, stay for the folk.

“So what are you doing now?” is the question that has been consistently posed of me since my arrival back home from my final year of university.  It’s a question that hits a nerve every time that it is asked.  It may seem innocent but it can be packed with judgment, it’s not so much a question as it is a gauge of ones usefulness.

Originally a Montrealer, I spent the last four years studying at Western University, formerly known as the University of Western Ontario, in London.  While at Western I actively participated in clubs, edited the film studies journal, and was a zealous member of an on-campus fraternity, while simultaneously maintaining a straight “A” average.  In listing my achievements at university my intent is not to self-congratulate myself (there are many students at Western who have similar if not better achievements than I), it is to implore my elders and those who claim seniority over me to lay off.  After four years of hard work and campus involvement, what am I supposed to do?  At least allow me to catch up on some sleep before you ask me to figure out my life.  Now, to return to the question that opened this article: “So what are you doing now?”

Say What Again -- I Dare YouWhenever I hear that question I feel like Samuel L. Jackson’s infamous character, Jules, in the scene where he interrogates his doomed victims in Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic, Pulp Fiction.  I feel like pulling my metaphorical Colt .45 out of my pocket, look my innocently curious interrogator in the eye and yell, “say what again! Say what again! I dare ya! I double dare ya motherf#%^er! Say what one more Godd@!mn time!”

It seems to me that university grads are not getting the credit they deserve.  More alarmingly, the university system doesn’t seem to get the credit it deserves either.  From an economic standpoint, fewer students are able to land jobs upon graduation.  However, economic trends fluctuate and that statistic may change.  Yet, of late, I’ve noticed that the university system does not retain the clout that it once yielded on a sociological level.  Students have just finished what could be their final educational achievement and they are quickly shoved into another stage of their lives as if their milestone was meaningless.  It is no longer enough to say that you graduated university.

Times are tough.  It’s becoming increasingly difficult for university graduates to get a job.  Thus, we are forced to either take jobs that we are under qualified for, or, we feel the need to jump into a “practical” graduate program, which we are not positive is the right fit for us.  It is this mission, this search for the sacrosanct entry-level job that I believe spells doom for the new generation entering the workforce.

Sure, parents can blame it on laziness cultivated by electronic stimulants.  They can blame it on poor work ethic exacerbated by caffeine boosting energy drinks, which fuel the notorious college “all-nighters.”  This is only the surface of the problem.

What truly is the issue with my generation is our lack of curiosity.  Though, we are not completely to blame.  How can we be blamed when we are taught that university is merely a factory where students are conditioned to enter the workforce without thinking twice about what they actually want to do?  We are conditioned to believe that business and economics are the only valuable programs to study.  I believe that there is more to education than finding a job.

Many folks bemoan the destruction of art.  Music is not what it once was.  Films have become cheapened.  Maybe one of the reasons that artistic production has deteriorated is because students are no longer encouraged to follow their artistic dreams.  Conversely, they are told to stay away from the study of arts because art does not cultivate the ability to get a job.

Graphjam-Bachelor-DegreeI have an arts degree and I am proud of it.  Will it land me a coveted job upon my graduation? No.  My friends who have graduated with finance and business degrees, on the other hand, will.  Many have received high paying and highly sought after jobs at investment banks, start up businesses and other such firms.  I think that this is wonderful.  I think that the economy depends on people like my friends to contribute to the economy.

However, I don’t believe that employment out of university should be the only criteria of one’s value or worth in society.  I don’t believe that the only jobs that are worth a damn are ones that are purely financial.  I believe that students, upon graduation, should not be coaxed into a career that they are not sure they want to pursue.  I believe that parents and elders should encourage younger members of society to take a breath, think about what they want to do, and then go after that goal with ambition, passion and hard work.

Next time you see your neighbour’s kid arrive home from university, think for a moment.  Rather than ask him his plans and what he is going to do next, congratulate him, and tell him (or her) that he made his parents proud.  Everything else will follow in time.

I’ll open by saying that I’m at least glad I’m not one of those flaky chicks who sorta kinda loves everything all the time, ‘cuz for a minute there, I was pretty certain. I try not to call art and music and such “bad”, but rather “not to my taste” (exceptions include when people hang a solid color canvas and tell me that shit’s meaningful, and dub step, the majority of which makes me ragey and nauseous). Still, you can’t like everything, and well, this I didn’t like.

Pink Floyd’s always been on the peripheries of my awareness: people I know like ‘em, people who like some of the bands I like often like ‘em, but I never paid any attention beyond recognizing their biggest hits when I hear them. A while back it was determined that I simply had to hear Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety and how on Earth had I managed to go so long without hearing it? Well, I was nonplussed, but I maybe I don’t like concept albums. So, I was a fairly clean slate going into the show, and I was actually kinda hoping that I’d be impressed, maybe even so impressed that I’d pick up a T-shirt. I do like me some merch. It wasn’t long before I realized the plain fact: I don’t like Pink Floyd, and I can barely pretend that I do.

IMG_9206To be fair, these dudes are a cover band, albeit a cover band with a lighting tech and required gear to put the fun in funeral if necessary. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a great light show: what appeared to be simple beams splaying kaleidoscope rainbow stained glass in motion across the ideal architecture of Salle Sir Wilfred Peltier (still modern and distractingly gorgeous every time despite being designed in 1963) The sound, as to be expected, was also perfectly on point, which perhaps didn’t help, as I didn’t feel the musicians to be exceptional. Now, I’m totally throwing stones from my glass house, because I can’t play a lick of anything, but the last shows I saw being the grand Mr. Cohen, and the inspired brilliant freak show that is Vai, my ears are currently tuned, if I do say so. Minute musical complaints aside, I couldn’t help but think that maybe if these were their own songs, they would have mustered the passion to make it compelling.

And then of course there were the little movies playing in time with the songs. I kind of knew what I was getting into here, but I was sorely disappointed by the lackluster animations and petty symbolism. Flowers penetrating each other are too close to a poignant blue canvas entitled “The Moment In Between The Breaths of Angels” or some nonsense on the scale of petty things wrapped in meaningful ribbons. I asked my Official Music Man about the vids: why not use the full force of modern technology? Why not make it all that it could be? They’re the originals, plain and simple, and they stand as they stand, no room for criticism (I’ve advised him not to read this piece, by the by). Really, the movies smacked of straight laced tweens thinking they’re high on placebos and really looking at their hands, man. And I will not accept the argument that it was cutting edge for the time, because though Floyd was formed in 1965, their big hits came out starting with Dark Side of the Moon in 1973. For those who may not remember the good ol’ 19s, , that was the year Jim Morrison died, Jimi Hendrix met the Foxy Lady in the Sky the year prior, and Janis Joplin had been dead for 3 years. Woodstock was old news, LSD was already passe, the Haight-Ashbury had lost its lustre, psychedelia had had its say, and I just don’t get what Pink Floyd brought to that table.

It reminds me of those kids in high school who were totally anti-drug and made fun of the pot kids (once again, back in the 19s) until right at the end of high school they decided drugs were just the coolest, and made loud, grand gestures of inebriation to be assured that everyone was aware just how very high they were while we rolled our eyes, sober and over it. In my heart of heart, this feels like that. Still, art is subjective, so I will say I simply don’t get Floyd.

The crowd dug it like crazy, screaming, and giving ovations of the standing variety, and I felt left out like the last kid to the bus, trying hard to get on this ride with them, and then finally, tired of chasing the impossible, giving in to pout alone by the curb. I did Sun Salutations in my head, and grabbed a quick nap, which was lovely; quite like falling asleep to CHOM when I was a kid.

All in all, I can’t hold my Floyd grudges against these Brit Floyd folks. They brought out a crowd with a pretty interesting age range, with a few millenials sticking out in the chic lobby in their toques, and it’s nice to see people still aim for cutting edge by looking back at what brought the edge to here in the first place. Kudos to those kids; may they keep digging, and may their discoveries bring them joy. People seemed to leave between satisfied and thrilled to bits, with my Official Music Man admitting to me that good though he thunk it, having seen Australian Pink Floyd twice, he deems the Aussies a better experience overall.

I’ll take his word for it; if the Aussies come to town, I’m making other plans.

The votes are in! Or rather, they were in a few weeks ago, but in this age of electronic voting you can never be too careful (ed’s note: heh heh, great excuse, that will work, pats self on back).

To select the top posts on FTB in 2012, we employed the following process:

1. Site contributors were asked to select their two favourite posts by themselves and their two favourite by other writers. Votes were tabulated and those posts garnering two or more were automatically in.

2. We all had a great time on New Year’s, then recovered for two days. Then many of us had to return to work and there was new content to get out. Then  it was another weekend. Then we realized that we hadn’t gotten the top posts of the year out yet and should probably get on it.

3. Site editors weighed in and fleshed out the list

4. The final choices were then rearranged in a completely different and somewhat random order so no one can figure out how many votes each post got and so we could present them in a way that gives this piece a good flow.

No matter what you think of our process, you have to admit it’s no dumber than the first past the post system or the electoral college.

Anyways, without further adieu, here are the top 24 posts of 2012 as selected by FTB contributors and editors:

cross mount royalCross Stolen from Mount Royal by Jason C. McLean  We’ve been running April Fool’s posts for a few years now, but this one really seemed to catch on and even fooled a few people (mostly people who don’t live in Montreal for obvious reasons). If you’re going to say something about me spoiling the surprise, well, you’re technically not supposed to tell an April Fool’s joke after noon on April 1st, if you do, then you’re the fool.

The Lies of Johnny Scott by Johnny Scott  Aaah, the things we’ll do and say for love, or more accurately, to get laid. Johnny Scott has told a few whoppers in his time to get some action and now honestly lays (forgive the pun) them out for us in all honesty.

The Chocolate Farmer and the End of the World by Rana Alrabi  While many were focused on how the ancient Mayans had supposedly claimed 2012 would be the end of the world, Rana Alrabi looked at a film about a Mayan chocolate farmer. For him, this truly is the end of the world that he knows.

Oreos show their true colors by Julian H. Ward  Julian H. Ward weighs in on the controversy surrounding Oreo’s pride cookie. Is Kraft commodifying Pride to sell a product? Does the right-wing protest against it have any teeth?

The Doomed Christmas Party by Taymaz Valley  If you decide to visit Taymaz Valley during the holidays, you’ll be in some pretty interesting company. At least that’s what his artistic hallucinations would have us believe.

Heidy Pinet summerIt Ain’t a Road Trip Without a Playlist by Heidy Pinet It’s been a busy year for Heidy Pinet, going to NXNE, DJing around the continent, not to mention here at home. She did manage to find time to let FTB readers know what she was listening to and we’re all grateful for that.

100th Nightly Student Demonstration by Emily Campbell  This year, FTB got back into video, video news reports to be precise. This piece by Emily Campbell takes the political pulse of the 100th nightly student demo just before the Quebec election.

Is Television finally better than the movies? by Stephanie Laughlin  Could it be that the small screen (well, not so small anymore, but you get the point) has finally outshone the silver screen in terms of quality? Self-described film buff Stephanie Laughlin admits this may actually be the case.

Blog on Blog: Late night texts from your cat By Jerry Gabriel  So Blog on Blog is a regular feature on the best blogs to go to for a particular topic. I wonder how long it will take before someone writes about cat blogs? Not that long, Jerry Gabriel got there right away.

Exploring The Art of Blowjobs With Camille Crimson by Jessica Klein Sex columnist Jessica Klein chats with self-proclaimed “geeky redhead blowjob expert” Camille Crimson. They talk about art and sensuality, two words rarely associated with the BJ.

Another Election – Another Assault on Gaza by Quiet Mike As rockets fell on Gaza, Quiet Mike reminded us that the last time this happened it was under very similar political circumstances. The election in the US had just happened and the election in Israel wasn’t that far off.

harper-nope Canada is not an accident by Taylor Noakes We asked Taylor Noakes to write about the new PQ government removing the Canadian flag from the National Assembly. Turns out he was more offended by the part of tradition that Pauline Marois did decide to stick with: swearing allegiance to a foreign monarch.

Summer Time in Montreal: Sleep is Boring by Emily Hoge Transplanted maritimer Emily Hoge takes in the Montreal music scene marathon-style. She takes in The Unsettlers, Major Lazer, Speakeasy Electroswing and above all, the city’s nightlife.

How to Open a Dialogue with Someone Against the Student Movement by Megan Dougherty During the height of the Maple Spring, Megan Dougherty took a step back from all the madness and urged red square-sporting readers to inform themselves before entering into a dialogue with someone on the other side of the fence.

The Lucasfilms purchase and why you shouldn’t panic by Thomas O’Connor  Yup, Leia’s a Disney Princess now, at least. Don’t sweat it, argues Thomas O’Connor, as he explains why the iconic franchise falling into the hands of the mouse empire may not be such a bad thing.

Canada in 2100: a milder Montreal, a dryer Vancouver, and a prairie-free Alberta by Erin Hale A look into the future, the future of our environment courtesy of Erin Hale. Complaining about winter? Your children and grandchildren won’t be so much.

If Harper is Statesman of the year then it must be 1984 by Jason C. McLean  Harper as statesman of the year? I point out that this nomination is less Orwellian than it is kinda lame.

Rumor: Wii U’s Total Bill of Materials Estimated at $180 Two words: Time Magazine. They sourced this post on FTB talking about rumoured costs of the Nintendo Wii. Sidenote, I no longer trust Time as a source.

Cabin in the Woods by Pamela Filion Who doesn’t like Joss Wheadon? Not sure, but I do know that Pamela Fillion surely does and she loves horror, too and this film has both.

Ponds and Meadows, Beers and Cookies: Elgin Skye By Stephanie Laughlin  FTB’s Stephanie Laughlin had a chance to chat with the always loveable, clever and talented singer/songwriter Elgin Skye while Chris Zacchia snapped photos of her in a meadow. Elgin’s influences, turns out, are not what you might expect.

400 students in the streets? Quebec’s students are winning by Ethan Cox Shortly after Bill 78 passed the student protests became a populist movement. Ethan Cox reports from the massive Montreal demonstration and also the numbers game played in the mainstream media when events like this happen.

vegan brownie ballsBliss Balance Brownie Balls By Maria Amore  It’s hard to pick the best post by Maria Amore, cause all of her vegan recipies are so damn tasty. So, we’re just going to go with the sweetest…who doesn’t like dessert?

Blue Monday & the agony of small talk by Dawn McSweeny  Dawn McSweeney waxes philosophical about the lack of meaningful conversations in the cold winter months. Something anyone living in a northern climate can relate to.

NXNE: The Bright Light Social Hour & Tupperware Remix Party by Cassie Doubleday This year, we covered North by Northeast for the first time. Ex-pat Haligonian and Montrealer now living in Toronto Cassie Doubleday was there for the whole event and in this post attends a tupperware remix party.