This year’s Osheaga line-up features a handful of indie darlings and hip-hop heavyweights, but CanCulture’s Cassie Aylward brings you her top ten favourite acts from the annual festival, held in Montréal’s Jean-Dreapeu park August 3-5 this year.

The Shins

“You gotta hear this one song. It’ll change your life, I swear.”  The words uttered by Natalie Portman before handing Zach Braff her headphones in the lobby of a doctor’s office in New Jersey, launched the band’s whose music Braff’s character would hear in the 2004 movie Garden State into notoriety.  This year, The Shins, a five-piece indie group from Albuquerque, will bring their unmistakeable sound to Osheaga.

Songs I hope are in their set:  Australia, Simple Song, New Slang, Know Your Onion!, Fighting in a Sack

A$AP Rocky

The Harlem rapper burst into the hip-hop world late 2011, and has been quickly ascending to even more fame ever since.  Rocky’s smooth, chilled-out style has caught the attention of Canadian superstar Drake, whom’s tour A$AP opened for this past winter.  The buzz around A$AP hasn’t stopped yet, and it’s doubtful that it will.

Songs I hope are in his setlist: Wassup, Palace, Purple Swag, Trilla

The Weeknd

There’s practically no one who’s as talked about as The Weeknd in the music industry right now.  The Torontonian R&B singer has released three mixtapes for free on his website, grasping the attention of Canada and the rest of the world.  His first tape, House of Balloons, was nominated for the Polaris Prize this year (and I’m still bitter about its loss to the Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs in October) and was followed up by Thursday, and, probably the best of the three, Echoes of Silence.  The Weeknd’s now signature sexy, gloomy beats matched with stunning Michael Jackson-esque vocals are perfect for a chilled out, yet upbeat festival performance.

Songs I hope are on his setlist: Montreal (No joke intended regarding the festival’s location), The Party and The After Party, High For This, Dirty Diana, Next, Initiation, The Birds (Part 1)

Brand New

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 23, you’re probably still repressing memories from a really bad scene phase that you had when you were between the ages of 13 to 16 or otherwise young and stupid.  One band that was probably a pinacle of that scene phase was Brand New.  Lyrics like “I hope you think of me when you forget your seatbelt and again when your head goes through the windshield” are the perfect embodiment of the teenaged angst I’ve secretly never let go of.  Fans of the band can expect a high energy performance chock-full of yelling, angst, heavy guitar riffs, hauntingly beautiful and raw ballads and angst.  Lots of angst.

Songs I hope are in their setlist:  Degausser, Seventy Times Seven, Jude Law and A Semester Abroad, Limousine, Jesus Christ, Daisy


When I was in Grade 11, a Starbucks barista told me I looked like Shirley Manson.  It was one of the most flattering compliments I’ve ever received.  Nineties grunge group Garbage has one of the most badass front women I’ve ever seen, and puts on a hell of a show.  Even if you’re not a mega fan of the group, you might as well jump on this opportunity to see them.  With their on-and-off hiatuses for the past six years or so, it may be your last shot to get to say “I saw Garbage live.”

Songs I hope they include in their setlist:  Bleed Like Me, I Think I’m Paranoid, Why Do You Love Me, Special, Only Happy When It Rains

Snoop Dogg

Like you had any doubts that you were going to catch his set.  Yeah, his last few albums sucked, but we’ll always have Nuthin’ But a G Thang, and the possibility of a Tupac hologram, right?  Warning:  If you have asthma, bring an inhaler.  Also avoid the colour red.

Songs I hope he includes in his setlist: Nuthin’ But a G Thang, Drop It Like It’s Hot, Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)