When it comes to parties, Montreal has become a regular stop on the international dance circuit. But no North American event is as unique as Igloofest, the outdoor wintertime dance party in Old Montreal.

Now in its second year, Igloofest brought bundled-up Montrealers out by the thousands to dance to the techno beats of some of the world’s finest DJs under the night sky. The Quay at the Old Port underwent a makeover with hundreds of light strands hung from the surrounding scaffoldings, giving the outdoor space the appearance of an indoor dance club. The southern point of the outdoor club featured a light-heated stage, complete with projection screens for synchronised visuals and lighting special effects.

Patrons entered the event through a large, carved-ice archway bearing the festival’s name in large lettering. Upon entering, revellers travelled through the magnificent “Igloo Park,” which also served as a chill-out area for those wanting to take a few moments out from the intensity of the party. Several artistic interpretations of igloos were on display in this area thanks to event sponsor Arctic Glacier, which commissioned the pieces.

Adding to the fun and frivolous atmosphere, patrons were encouraged to don their tackiest one-piece snowsuit for an all-out retro winterwear contest. Contestants were awarded nightly for their efforts and many went to extremes, wearing fluorescent fun-fur hats, frightening floral prints and any other variety of long-forgotten winter apparel.

Each night of the four-day, two-weekend event featured DJs sponsored by local event promoters such as Mutek or Ninja Tune. The weekend of January 18-19 featured Josh Wink, Abe Duque, Plaslaiko and Lee Curtiss from the US and both Misstress Barbara and Arsen from Canada. The following weekend saw locals Ghislain Poirier, Millimetrik and Mateo Murphy along with Devlin & Darko of Spank Rock, Deadelus from the US, Ghostbeard from the United Kingdom and Germany’s own Thomas Schumacher.

Montreal Mirror music journalist Lorraine Carpenter was on hand getting her groove on. “It’s a unique atmosphere,” said Carpenter. “Just the element of being outdoors really gives it a fresh feel. This is a big opportunity to avoid hibernating.”

Though the 2008 event has gone down in the record books as a stellar year, the event will be back next January. Piknic Electronik puts on various events throughout the year outside of their summer schedule. For more information go to www.piknicelectronik.com