Igloofest: Hot Tips for a Cool Trip

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How to Have The Best Igloofest Experience

Igloofest is an awesome outdoor music festival that takes place at the Old Port of Montreal in the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It had its origins in 2007 and it now draws huge crowds of tens of thousands of people to this snowy Canadian destination every year.  Igloofest is one of the coldest parties in the world, where ravers freeze their asses off to some of today’s biggest electronic music superstars.

Why lock yourself indoors when the weather gets cold, when you could get outdoors and dance the night away to rad music with cool people from all over the world? Plus, this very cool (literally) festival features beautiful sculptures and igloos lit with fantastical LED lighting, creating a surreal and stunning atmosphere. Every night during the festival the live music runs from 7pm to 12am – then most people head to Montreal’s bars and clubs until 3am.  If you’re scared about the cold (maybe find a different festival), warm up with s’mores and campfires in between sets before heading back to the ice bar for a refill.

Here are some tips for having a great time braving the cold at the frigid, fantastic world of Igloofest.

What you need to know to have a rad time at Igloofest

– Buy your Igloofest tickets online in advance. You will avoid having to freeze in the long lineup to enter the festival.  Igloofest dates can be found on our event page or the official site. Treat yourself to an Igloofest VIP ticket if you’re feeling extra swanky.

– Don’t bring any drinks or containers into the festival – they will be confiscated at the security checkpoint. (You may want to have a couple of beers at home to get warmed up before you go!)

– Bring lots of cash with you, as there will more likely than not be a long line for the cash machines.  Make sure you keep it safely tucked in your yeti costume though- and don’t carry it all at once.

– Dress appropriately. Yeah, you want to look cool but it’s not worth getting frostbite. Wear a toque (that’s Canadian for hat) to cover your ears and gloves to keep your hands warm. The temperatures can dip below -25 degrees Celsius! (that’s -13 Fahrenheit) Alcohol can trick your brain into thinking you’re warmer than you are, so play it safe if you value your fingers and toes.

– Head to a thrift store and buy a neon snowsuit or wear an animal onesie – Igloo fest often features giveaways for the best outfits spotted during the event.

– Ski goggles can give you a cool wintry look and will also protect your eyes from the wind.

Pro Tip: there are gloves which have special fingertips that allow you to use your touchscreen phone even when you are wearing them. They are a lifesaver when it’s freezing but you want to take a selfie to show off your rave face.

– Dancing is also a great way to keep warm – so bust out your moves and make your Igloofest experience a warm one.

-Stay hydrated. Even though it’s cold you’re still going to sweat, drink, and dance- depleting your body of precious fluids.  Drink a bottle of water before you go, and another before bed- you’ll thank me later!

-Obligatory parent-like recommendation: ear plugs will spare you the expense of a hearing aid later in life if you plan on being close to the speakers. Trust me- it’ll still be plenty loud.

More Cool Things to Do in Montreal in the Winter

When you plan a trip to attend Montreal’s Igloofest, make sure that you allow extra time to check out all of the other great things to do in and around Montreal in the winter.

For a great snowy thrill, head to Mount Royal and go barreling down the hill on the designated snow tubing trails near Beaver Lake. You can rent an inner tube there and enjoy the rush of speeding down the mountain at high speed.

Photo credit: weekendblitz

Then, head to the most picturesque skating rink in all of Montreal – the Bonsecours Basin outdoor skating rink. It opens in early December and it remains open throughout the winter, so you can enjoy an evening of skating under the stars.

Skiers can find slopes not far from Montreal in the Laurentians region at Mont Tremblant and Mont Saint Sauveur.  They might not have the most challenging skiing for more experienced skiers, but they’re just a stone’s throw from Montreal so you can’t beat their convenience. If you somehow still have enough energy after igloofest, they’re well worth checking out.

If you are still craving outdoor adventure, you can also go snowshoeing at the Morgan Arboretum. There is a stunning 5km trail that starts from the Pine Cottage and takes you around the grounds.

After a big day of rad adventures in the snow, you can warm up at Le Banquise with their ridiculously huge portions of delicious, greasy, cheesy poutine. Try the T-Rex Poutine, a warm comfort food hit that is topped with a tower of sausage, pepperoni and bacon.

Igloofest and Montreal are a match made in Heaven (if Heaven is -20C in the winter that is), so make the most of your time.  For all things rad, both musical and sporty, stick around with Rad Season, where it’s always adventure season.

Related Articles:

The Ultimate Apres-Ski Guide to Canada

The Ultimate Music Festival to-do-List!

Feature image credit: Igloofest

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Kelly Dunning

Kelly Dunning is a freelance writer, travel blogger and digital nomad. She and her partner Lee, a web designer from Northern England, have been working remotely while backpacking around the world with no fixed address since May of 2011. Together they created Global-Goose.com, a resource of information and inspiration for other travellers.


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