Hey Montreal, time to cheer-up a little! With one third of the winter officially behind us, thoughts of warmer days should bring you all comfort. Braving the cold every year isn’t an easy task but for us Canadians, it’s an innate ability – we’ll be out of hibernation soon enough.
In order to lift my spirits up during these cold months, I personally choose to daydream about my next getaway – think of the many exciting summer festivities and the multiple music festivals to come! Having been to my share of techno and electronic music events in the last year, some similarities can feel astonishing at times. From the lineup to the kiosks displayed on-site, organizers constantly have to revamp and adapt to the latest trends and likes, all to stay relevant to the ever-changing game.
Fortunately for us, our scene has its share of music connoisseurs, blessing us with some of the best parties in North America. Considering the tremendous amount of work required to make an event successful, we are lucky to have this many quality events in the vicinity of Montreal.
Having held only three editions since 2015, AIM is still fairly new. However, we would suggest keeping it on your radar, as it is fast becoming a favorite amongst music-lovers. So far, here’s all you need to know to start daydreaming with me! We tried to include the most information about the outdoor electronic music festival as possible. If you’ve already attended AIM or aren’t sure about the 2018 edition yet, we hope that our interview with the festival’s founder will convince you.
To talk about it in more detail, we interviewed AIM co-founder Francois Lebaron (FL). He begins by sharing the reason behind the festival’s creation:
FL: “I’ve been in the business since 94, as a DJ, as an original rave organizer, a music composer, an artistic director, a label manager, a show producer and an artist manager. With that said, in 2014, I felt like it was time to create something new and push my boundaries. I quit my job at “Bonsound”, a Canadian record company, I discussed the idea of starting our own music festival with my friend Michel Tardif which for me was the best partner to do this project. We thought it would be the missing piece to what’s been missing in the scene. A complete immersive experience!”
Husa Sounds (HS): “How did you come up with the name?”
FL: “It was important for us to create a simple and solid brand that would connect with the history of the location. Parc Carillon [hosting the event for the fourth consecutive year] is known to be a historic site where Dollard Des Ormeaux and 17 of his men lost their battle against the Iroquois. The 18 monoliths were put on the site to represent the brave men who died during the battle.
The name of the festival came to me during the research process. I decided to consider the acronym AIM when I came across the American Indian Movement history. AIM felt like a powerful and simple 3-letter word. AIMing higher, further. Next step was making sure that it would have the right meaning in both English and French. Something that would reflect properly the experience and values we wanted to promote. ART – INNOVATION – MOVEMENT.”
The unique 3-day musical experience offers 32 hours of non-stop electronic music, interactive multimedia arts, more than 50 artists and 5 stages. The variety of artists, music genres, workshops and attractions offered on-sites were all chosen to enhance your overall experience. Not only is the festival located in a beautiful and intimate setting; it is also within reasonable distance of both Montreal and Ottawa. Additionally, the campsite option ensures a complete and captivating experience to all “weekend warriors”. Lucky for them, the walk between the 5 stages, the many food trucks, the kiosks and the tents is very short.
HS: How did you first choose the location (Parc Carillon) and why did you decide to stick with it for a fourth year?
FL: “After many unsuccessful researches, my partner Michel suggested a location he knew… and that was it! Parc Carillon was the perfect site for a festival and business wise; we were able to negotiate a long-term agreement. We were looking for a breathtaking and unique spot to accomplish our project; it couldn’t have been better than this.
With the growing amount of music-focused events around the world, focusing on the greater experience is a must. Not only do organizers have to include a variety of popular and crowd-pleasing acts in their lineups, they also need to fine-tune all logistics, including food trucks, kiosks and the camping facilities made available to guests.”
HS: It takes a lot of energy and dedication to organize such a big event, in your opinion, what was most challenging in establishing AIM?
FL: “There are so many, but I would say programming, considering we are in direct competition with all other major events happening in the world that month.”
HS: What are you most excited about for this edition? AIM seems to get bigger from one year to next, how do you accomplish this?
FL: “The experience in general will be optimized. The lineup, the musical diversity, the site’s ergonomics, the sound and the lighting, everything will be optimized. We work hard on [all of these factors].”
HS: In comparison to the other music festivals, what sets you apart?
FL: “The cutting edge musical diversity, the 3-days camping experience, the 32 hours of non-stop music, the distance from Montreal (compared to some other out of town festivals, we are only 50mins away), our shuttle service during the whole weekend.”
HS: What is the method/process behind your selection of artists and DJs invited every year?
FL: “Step 1, we do a list of whom we ultimately want.
Step 2, we go by elimination, depending on availabilities.”
HS: What would you say is the ratio of international DJs vs locals?
FL: “International artists are definitely taking an important %, for many reasons, but it’s very important for us to support local and emerging talents. Our mandate is to provide cutting-edge, established and emerging artists in order to create artistic convergence.”
Personally, with their 3-day weekend X-mas special at 69$ (+ tax, + service charge), AIM sure made it to the top of my “festivals to attend” list for 2018. With the phase I tickets already sold out, we can assume that people were very happy to see the event come back for its fourth edition. Make sure to be on the lookout for the unveiling of Phase I (according to Francois, should be announced shortly) and to grab your 3-day bracelet soon!
AIM Phase 2 tickets available here (July 6, 7 and 8, 2018)
HS: Out of all the extraordinary artists you’ve included in your line-up this year, whom are you personally most excited for?
FL: “You’ll have to wait until Phase 1 is announced
Soon, soon! Stay Tuned. “
HS: Tell us about your support for and collaboration with Young Musicians Of The World, The River Foundation and the Canadian AIDS Society. Do you believe events such as these have a responsibility to give back?
FL: “As a non-profit organization, our ”behind the curtain” mandate is to support causes we cherish. Since the festival industry reaches a lot of people, we believe that it’s important to use this opportunity and try to make a difference in the world.”
HS: In comparison to other years, will the price of the daily-pass and weekend-pass increase?
FL: “Yes, like any normal businesses; the price increases a little every year, we invest to evolve and optimize the experience. But still, AIM is the most affordable.”
HS: In comparison to year 1, 2 and 3, you’ve added a couple of stages for the 2018 edition, is there a reason why you wish to diversify?
FL: “Absolutely. The Quebec market is unlike any other markets in the world, it’s a small market. Our goal is to become a unique platform where you can enjoy different types of quality electronic music. Personally, I don’t like all genres of electronic music, but there’s quality artists in each of the genres we choose to feature. The fact is, we want to extend our reach and grow our community. It’s a win/win situation :)”
HS: What demographic do you wish to attract most?
FL: “For now, our focus is the greatest Montreal, Ottawa and Ontario. But, we already have fans from Vermont, New Brunswick, Quebec City, Michigan, Detroit, New York, Boston, France, and Mexico.”
HS: We’ve seen a lot of promotion through social media and adds in the metro and around the city of Montreal, how else do you go about promoting the event?
FL: “Through key promoters, media partnerships such as Mixmag, Narcity, Nightlife Magazine (just to name a few). Also, we use SEO and Google targeted ads.”
HS: How do you choose the people working the event… is it only on a volunteering basis?
FL: “It’s a blend of both. We hire people for some specific areas and volunteers that get in touch with us.”
HS: Where should people go sign-up if they are interested?
FL: “Here: email@example.com
HS: with the evolution of AIM, change is inevitable, what do you wish to maintain?
FL: “The quality of music in all genres, the camping experience, the shuttle service, the non-stop music marathon. We also want to improve the workshops and keep them really relevant through the weekend activities.”
HS: Outside from the musical experience, will you be adding more boots and activities this year?
FL: “Yes. Keep an eye open for this.”
HS: What advice or tips would you give to a first time attendee? Get your ticket in advance to pay less.
FL: “Go for the complete 3-days camping experience (it’s a must), prepare a schedule of artists you want to see, drink a lot of water and do few disco naps throughout the weekend.”
HS: What are some steps taken to lessen the P impact of the festival? Do feel supported enough by external and internal groups, as well as festival attendees in these endeavors?
FL: “We believe that it’s possible to have a good time without destroying the environment. Conscious of the impact of an event like AIM, we implement several initiatives to respect the environment.
Yes we feel our initiatives are supported by the attendees, but, there’s always space for improvement. We decided to integrate a new green initiative encouraging attendees to turn in a piece of garbage this year. In exchange for a gift, return an empty bottle or empty cigarette pack to the AIM Green Booth.”
HS: What do you see for the future of AIM Music festival? Any plans in the work?
FL: “For now, the goal is to continue to grow our community here, in Quebec, Canada. But who knows, someday, we might have branches elsewhere in the world!”
Catch AIM on social media:
Can’t wait to see what Lebaron and his team have planned for us. Is it too early to start the countdown?!
In sum, out of all the summer events announced, I would highly recommend adding AIM to your list. Keep in mind that events like these were created to promote the arts and love of the music, to share good vibes and discover emerging talents… It is inclusive of all people and facilitates the bonding between new and old friends.
We ask you to respect the site, the personnel and the people attending. Stay tuned for all the announcements to come; AIM has something in store for all electronic music lovers (Techno, House, Deep house, Electronica, Trance, Bass, Dubstep.
We hope to see you all July 6, 7 and 8, 2018, for what should be another great edition of AIM
Article by Telsa