A Lukewarm Fest

“Did you go to Igloofest?” asked an unfamiliar face below me on the Hall building escalator. “Your boots look like you went to Igloofest.”

Both of us wore footwear caked with the greyish remnants of mud and dirt, the result of a night spent dancing outdoors.

The scene at Igloofest last Friday resembled most outdoor music festivals, except that in lieu of LED hoola hoops and glowsticks, concert-goers sported Canada Goose jackets and toques.

The throbbing beat of electronic music was audible from a few streets away. People became incrementally louder, and more evidently intoxicated the closer to the event.

For those who still regard the Canadian winter as a thing of legend, the concept of Igloofest is especially attractive.

It’s a celebration of the season that bucks common sense, and gives your average university student hope that their nightlife doesn’t have to stop just because it’s below freezing.

If there’s one thing to come out of hibernation for, it’s several hundred people on mind altering substances dancing about maniacally in a corporate sponsored enclosed space to rhythmic bass.

The beauty of the sublimation of EDM into the freezing atmosphere was heightened by the heat created by hundreds of agitated bodies.

The crowd was hemmed in by three walls of colourful projections, which lent the scene a surreal quality as attendees reveled in their surroundings.

Electronic avant-pop artist Matthew Dear was performing. He came on around 11 p.m., to cheers of the crowd.

Whether their enthusiasm was due to the DJ’s appearance or the exit of the mediocre musician who had performed the opening set was difficult to ascertain.

I had arrived early to Scene Sapporo (around 10:30) and had taken advantage of the relatively sparse crowd to push my way to the very front.

I found myself next to the metal barrier which separates the crowd from the stage. This resulted in an unusual combination of sleeveless shirt and mittens (skin against cold steel is not a good combination), but as an outdoor music festival in January is already an unusual situation, it felt almost natural.

Some friends who had attended Igloofest the year before had not enjoyed themselves. They complained of irritating freshmen and the inconvenience of freezing, only to overheat once the concert was in full swing.

I had therefore come prepared. Luckily the night was unusually mild, so I was wearing only a sweater and jacket, which I stored in my backpack as soon as the crowd heated up.

“Do you know who’s playing?” asked the guy standing next to me at the barrier.

“Matthew Dear,” I responded. He made an expression of helpless non-recognition before commenting, “The music now is not so good.”

Not everyone was disillusioned. The overall crowd was enthusiastic, and people were polite and friendly, even amongst the bustling throngs. The vibes were good and the music was more than decent—but not exceptional.

Igloofest is decent, far from waste of time; I’m just saying that, concept aside, it was nothing special.

Totally worth it if you’ve never grinded outside during the middle of winter and are nearing Jack Nicholson-levels of cabin fever.

But if EDM and the cold aren’t really your scene, you could spend your time doing something just as rewarding, say, watching Netflix and drinking Sapporo beers.

The sponsors of Igloofest will be equally happy.

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