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A behind the scenes look at the dancing crowd at Igloofest

First Timer’s Guide to Igloofest in Montreal

Who would ever think you could throw a successful party/dance/rave/festival over four 3 day weekends in the depths of a Montreal winter? OUTSIDE! Apparently four friends and founders of Igloofest in Montreal did.

The four founders of Igloofest
The four founders of Igloofest

These guys, who were behind Picnic Electronik, started the Igloofest tradition in 2007. The event has grown from 4,000 fans in the first year to a whopping 70,000 fans by 2012. Don’t forget – this is outdoors and the wind-chill can be a frosty -30 C. In 2020 Igloofest in Montreal runs from January 16 – February 8th.

Here’s a first timer’s guide to getting the most out of Igloofest in Montreal.

For starters do not bring any containers or drinks into Igloofest. They will be confiscated when you arrive at the security check point. And if you have a bag it will be searched.

Do wear the most outlandish ski outfits – one piece preferred – from the 80’s that you can find. Look for neon and retro – and the harder on the eyes the better. Igloofest has a reputation – well deserved as you’ll quickly see – as the most glamorous flea-market runway of the winter season. There is a grand prize for best (really worst) dressed – a trip for two down south. (Make sure you go to the pavilion to get your photo taken so you can be entered to win the Grand Prize.)

"Do you remember these ski outfits of the 80's?"
Do you remember these ski outfits of the 80’s? Photo credit – Nicolas Dupo

Have fun at the interactive booths. Grab a set of sticks and hit the drums at the Sapporo booth. The winner is the one who fills the glass of beer the fastest.

Fill the beer glass by banging on the drums
Fill the beer glass by banging on the drums

Hungry? Roast some marshmallows. Or at least warm up by the fire.

Get your sugar fix at Igloofest roasting marshmallows
Get your sugar fix at Igloofest roasting marshmallows

Order a drink from one of the many ice bars scattered around the venue. Mulled wine and energy drinks are also for sale.

Grab some friends and enter the Screaming Booth. Try to cause an avalanche on the screen in front of you.  

Go curling. The winner walks away with a prize.

Avalanche - as evidence by the ice blocks on the big screenAvalanche – as evidence by the ice blocks on the big screen

 Go curling. The winner walks away with a prize
Go curling. The winner walks away with a prize.

Warm-up with some dancing but grab a good spot as this place gets packed. Dance to electronic music spun by a line-up of local and international DJ’s until 12:30 in the morning.

Looking at the DJ from above
Looking at the DJ from above

A behind the scenes look at the dancing crowd at IgloofestA behind the scenes look at the dancing crowd at Igloofest

Quite a crowd
Quite a crowd

Enjoy the sight of Old Montreal from the top of the stairs looking into the main dancing venue.

You'd never know it was the middle of winter with all the people hanging out
You’d never know it was the middle of winter with all the people hanging out
The Igloofest venue is near old Montreal
The Igloofest venue is near old Montreal

Some useful info for Igloofest in Montreal

  • Have fun. The energy is contagious.
  • The event takes place at the Jacques Cartier Quay in the Old Port of Montreal.
  • It’s a five minute walk from either the Champs-de-Mars or Place d’Armes Metro Station.
  • You must be 18 years old to attend.
  • Buy tickets ahead of time to save you a lot of waiting time. Prices are $25 and up plus a service charge.
  • Dress warmly but in layers as you can work up a sweat dancing. There are fires you can warm up around but only a few indoor spaces.
  • Poutine and pizza are available for purchase.

Enjoy all the dancing, singing and drinking.

Further reading on things to do in Quebec in winter

Thanks to Tourism Montreal for my complimentary Igloofest ticket. I would never have guessed that I would enjoy myself as much as I did. 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. 70,000 two years ago?! Holy smokes that is a huge turn out, Leigh! I am still laughing after reading that because I have no idea what costume I would wear. I do know I would be consuming a few shots of Jim Bean before the security check! I would absolutely be checking out all of the booths. This was fun to read 🙂

    1. @Mike Just in case I wasn’t clear – that’s 70,000 over 3 weekends and they average on a good night about 10,000 people. Despite the fact that most of the crowd was wayyyyyyy younger than me, I had a good time.

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