Other than the weather everything went in Mutek's favour over the span of the 5 day electronic music festival. They did get one day out of two (Sunday) outdoors as Parc Jean Drapeau, but everything else went according to plan or better.
The music gods were shining on Mutek when they arranged (sometimes through freak luck) that internationally acclaimed acts like Sweden's The Field, Germany's Modeselektor and even local turntable whiz Kid Koala had space in their hectic schedules to play at this year's Mutek. With Mutek you know you are not getting average artists/DJs, you are getting ones that are world renowned. The festival is completely international. Meaning that the 50+ artists that performed at Mutek came from many different countries and that Mutek is branching out to bring shows elsewhere in the world. Mutek has also become an organization that acts as cultural ambassadors for Montreal and Canada. It has held shows in Latin America that succeed in bringing what we have to offer to the world.
With Mutek you are not just getting music but anything surrounding the electronic music and digital art industry. Always cutting edge, the lineup this year was especially eclectic. We got traditional electronic DJs, but also live acts, spoken word, astonishing visuals, and all of the latest trends in sound. It showed its relevance and cutting edge side at the same time. We get the established acts and get to discover new ones. Careers have been launched at this festival.
For me three of the highlights of this year's festival were the performances by Montreal's own Megasoid and Mossa and Germany's Modeselektor. All of these acts reinforced how non-linear and expressive this art form can be when done well. They, in their own unique ways, did not take the easy routes; rather they did the unexpected and reaped huge rewards (and applause) as a result. The enthusiasm they generated with their sets carried over and benefited the other acts they played with.
Not only do we get to hear/witness some of the best electronic music artists we also have the opportunity to visit some of the best music venues in Montreal. One of these is Parc Jean Drapeau, which hosted Piknic 2 (the closing show) on Sunday. The crowd at Piknic was a prime example of a typical laid back, but very into it Montreal music crowd despite the grey clouds.
I was shocked to find out that the festival's artistic and general director, Alain Mongeau, was thinking of packing it in three years ago. Everything for Mutek back then was a struggle – funding, attendance, etc. It seemed as if the festival was not being appreciated. Three years later and it couldn't be more different. Funding from the city of Montreal was increased and shows are very well attended. We sometimes get blasé about festivals in Montreal as we are inundated with them over the summer period, but it would have been a shame if we had lost Mutek as it has put Montreal on the map in regards to electronic music.
After all the great shows packed into 5 days it left me wondering how they are going to top this year next year for their 10th anniversary?! I'm sure it will be something to behold! Congrats to Alain Mongeau and his team for sticking it out as they now are the crème de la crème in North America in regards to festivals of this type.
Photos by Maha Haddad