It isn’t a summer music festival unless you’re trudging around in the mud. At least that’s what Craven organizers over the years have led us to understand.
But, what if I told you that isn’t the case everywhere?
What if a festival site was thoughtfully designed with drainage, sound control and amenities that could serve up to 65,000 people?
Montreal’s redesign of Parc Jean Drapeau has achieved just that.
As part of Montreal’s 375th birthday, the provincial and municipal governments pumped in a total of $73.4 million to overhaul Parc Jean Drapeau starting in 2017.
The park is situated on Saint Helen’s Island, which was later expanded to include man-made Notre Dame Island, in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River.
The island was first commercially developed for the Expo 67 World’s Fair (Espace 67).
Named after the late mayor and initiator of Expo 67, it’s sufficient to say the park likely needed a facelift from its earlier inception.
And, that is just what it got.
There were many upgrades to the park such as preserving vegetation and creating public art installations.
But as a festival attendee, most of that doesn’t matter. We’re there for the music!
Which is why a great deal of expense was put into sound-mitigating.
A budget of $2 million was set aside for the study and design of permanent tower delay bases.
Delay towers allow sound to be spread over a large area while providing the same quality to every spectator be it front or back row.
All the extras you could ask for
In addition to sound concerns, the amphitheatre area was equipped with weather-resistant, stabilized stone dust which shed moisture quickly.
The site’s natural grassy knoll was maintained as a natural vantage point as well.
Concrete sidewalks were poured to provide gutters and enable rain flow to drain into a filtration system.
Water fountains and fill stations were installed throughout the park.
An attractive water pad installation was a huge draw on the days we visited, as temperatures soared.
This is all in addition to enhanced emergency lighting, fibre optic access points for security, wide corridors for ease of moving crowds, and 13 brightly lit emergency exits.
Nothing was overlooked.
When can I go again?
I fear Parc Jean Drapeau may have ruined me for other festival sites.
It’s going to be hard to go back to the Craven outhouses now.
I’ve tasted the “bonne vie” in Montreal.