Caution: The following contains pictures of nude bicyclists and fully-clothed music festival attendees. Go figure!
You know me, I like to look for and share life’s little juxtapositions. Here’s another one. It was hot and humid in Montreal last weekend. A three-day weekend across Canada but not here in Quebec where we had our long weekend in June. A perfect occasion for the annual Osheaga Music and Arts Festival.
Osheaga is a three-day fest that is held the first weekend of August on the small island in the St. Lawrence River that was once the home to EXPO67. Over the course of the event in excess of 150,000 young music fans from all over the northeast gather to watch and listen to their favorites perform. It has been likened to a mini Woodstock. Well, I’m not so sure about that.
There was a time when an event such as Osheaga, with thousands of young people crammed into a hot, sunny – in places muddy – venue, frantically dancing and taking-in music would have yielded countless photos of half-clad or naked revelers getting into the spirit a la Woodstock. But Osheaga’s attendees seemed to have drawn the line at scantily clad.
With what does this juxtapose you may ask. Well at the same time as the fully clothed youth were frolicking and enjoying the privacy of an island just off downtown Montreal, a group of cyclists participated in another annual affair, the naked bike ride. Yep, right through city streets these nude cyclists pedaled their way. Not lightly clad, but starkers, naked, nude, birthday suited. One might think the two events got their audiences and locations reversed.
Playing armchair sociologist, and pouring over thousands of photos of nude and nearly nude concert-goers and cyclists – all in the name of research, of course – I observe that while the Osheaga crowd were almost entirely in their twenties and thirties, the nude bikers formed a much wider age grouping. Some, good God no, may have even been fifty or sixty.
I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that this nude cycling thing is a weekly affair, so next Sunday I’m determined to plunk a few bucks into one of Montreal’s Bixi bike rental stands, doff my duds and pedal my way downtown. But then, maybe that was annual, not weekly. Oh well, only one way to find out!