Slideshow: Noé Performs at Osheaga Festival in Montreal
Keeping in trend with North American summer festival tropes, the 2016 Osheaga Festival provided plenty in the way of sweaty concertgoers bedecked with flat-brimmed hats, cutoff shorts, and wristbands that allowed attendees to consume as much live music as they possibly could in three days. By the end of the first day, however, right as the Red Hot Chili Peppers were closing out the evening, a growing number of wrists received a different bracelet, this one advertising the band Noé's performance, which was scheduled for Day Two at 2:45 p.m. In addition to the Chili Peppers, the festival featured established acts such as Radiohead, Lana Del Ray, Leon Bridges, Kurt Vile, and Best Coast, among many others.
The members of the four-piece Berklee outfit—singer and band namesake Noémie Legrand '16 , drummer Corbin Johnson '16, guitarist Mateo Gold '15, and keyboardist Adrian Forbes—had traveled up from Boston for their slot in the Berklee Popular Music Institute's (BPMI) summer festival circuit, and were eager to spread the word about the performance, which promised to be the largest of their career to date since forming in late 2015. The bracelets are a BPMI tradition, as it allows the members of the band to make personal connections with new fans and give them a wearable reminder of when to catch the band.
Fast-forward to their Saturday performance, and many of those wrists were raised high in the air, pumping along with the dancey electronic pop/rock tracks, whether it was a cover of Kanye West's "American Boy," or the band's debut single, "Lady." To introduce the last song of the set, the soulful banger "In the Dark," the Paris-born Legrand dedicated the song to the victims of the recent Bastille Day tragedy in France, saying, "However much hate there is in the world, we're never going to give into it—never going to give in to fear."
The Value of the Festival Circuit
Reflecting on the experience, Legrand, a recent graduate who studied in Berklee's Songwriting Department, said, "I feel like I've been a part of something so much bigger than me. I'm really proud of what we've accomplished and what BPMI helped us accomplish."
BPMI's festival reach extends well beyond Osheaga, as the institute has previously sent artists to Electric Daisy Carnival and Lollapalooza and will finish out the season by sending Berklee artist Symone to the Made in America Festival in Philadelphia this September. “Everyone wants to perform at these festivals now,” said Jeff Dorenfeld, BPMI's founding managing director and music business professor. “These are the places where artists break and get seen.” This fall, BPMI will officially kick off its year-long curriculum that pairs music business students with Berklee artists in an opportunity that takes real-world experience far beyond the classroom. The pairs will work together on everything from contracts and digital media to recording and performance, with the program culminating in festival slots next summer.
Check out the photo slideshow above to catch a glimpse of the band's Osheaga experience, as seen through the lens of Berklee student photographer Reed Silverstein.