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Option paralysis?

Excitement? Anticipation? Extreme happiness? A mix of all three? It’s difficult to name exactly what I – along with tens of thousands of other anticipated attendees – feel about what’s to come to Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Ste-Hélène this weekend. Suffice it to say, get pumped – it’s that time of year again. Montreal’s annual indie-rock dream-playground, the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, will spread over five stages this coming weekend, from July 29 to to 31.

Osheaga seems to get bigger and bigger every year, having featured such legendary acts as The Smashing Pumpkins, Arcade Fire,  Sonic Youth, MGMT, Weezer, Bloc Party, Metric, Coldplay and hundreds more since the festival’s inauguration in 2006. In 2011, Osheaga is only getting better, and more eclectic, with arguably the best-known rapper on the planet, Eminem, as a headliner.

Eminem joins other big names of the genre, Lupe Fiasco and KiD CuDi, among others, to act as an impressive hip-hop/rap follow-up to Snoop Dogg’s performance last year. If all the hype for one of the biggest festivals of the year in the city isn’t enough, this Friday will mark the first time in over a decade that Eminem takes a Montreal stage, performing at the Scène de La Rivière at 9:20 pm. With more acts than ever storming Parc Jean-Drapeau this year, Osheaga organizers have decided to extend the festival over an extra day, with Friday added on to the usual Saturday and Sunday schedule.

Like with all things Montreal arts, Rover will be joining hoards of avid music geeks and festivalgoers for all three days of summertime relaxation, heat, bliss and, of course, great live music at Osheaga. We will be letting you know about all of this year’s highlights and surprises over the entire weekend, and while Osheaga is still days away, here are a few picks from the lineup, worth checking out before hitting the stage barriers on Friday…

Braids: Having appeared on the scene in early 2011 with the release of their debut album, Native Speaker, Braids have now been shortlisted for the annual Polaris Music Prize (which acknowledges the top Canadian album release of the year), while still seemingly busy with coming out of the woodwork. With a dreamy, experimental sound somewhat reminiscent of Broken Social Scene (also at Osheaga this year) and sure to put just about anyone in a trance, Braids are bound to make a noteworthy wave around Île Ste-Hélène this weekend.

Sam Adams: Originally known online for his remix of Asher Roth’s party classic I Love College, renamed I Hate College, this Massachusetts native with a knack for quick, clever rhymes and good flow has the makings of the next Mac Miller/Wiz Khalifa-type internet sensation, pleasing teens and twentysomethings with beats about living the lavish life and consuming of a wide array of both legal and illegal substances.

Ellie Goulding: Adding some British flare to Osheaga, Goulding has already stolen the hearts of many with her undeniably catchy, electro-poppy hits Starry Eyed and Lights, the former racking up quite a buzz in the online world with its dubstep remix boasting over 470,000 plays on bass-beat DJ Bassnectar’s SoundCloud. Bassnectar will have a set on Saturday – fingers crossed for an on-stage collab!

Janelle Monáe: With a handful of Grammy nominations, sold out shows, a collaboration with B.o.B. and Lupe Fiasco and dates played with Prince and Stevie Wonder under her belt, Monáe is likely to be a name that we’ll all be hearing a lot more about soon . The funky/soulful Tightrope singer’s set is predicted by the Gazette’s T’Cha Dunlevy to be “the show of the fest”.

Osheaga at Parc Jean Drapeau on Île Ste-Hélène, July 29-3

For more information and a full schedule of performances, visit

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