Your Guide to Keeping Warm at Toronto's Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival

Don't let ice storms, blizzards, blackouts, and now ice quakes get you down – winter isn’t all bad and Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival is proof that freezing your ass off can still be fun.

It is Canada, after all. It’s supposed to be cold. So why not embrace it? The Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival does exactly that, held at Echo Beach on the chilly shores of Lake Ontario each February. The annual EDM fest is one of the coldest festivals in Toronto, bringing thousands of snow-suited partygoers together with international DJs to withstand the snowy elements of the outdoors.

2013’s inaugural event brought headliners Moby and Dubfire among others over two days of music, while 2014 is one day only and headlined by Wolfgang Gartner on the Echo Beach Stage and Sharam in the Corona Technodome. But the festival isn't just about big names and Brrrrr! continues its tradition of featuting a nice combination of mainstream and more underground artists on both of its stages.

If you’ve never experienced Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival in Toronto, there are some things you should know. Firstly, yes it’s effing cold out. The idea of a beach party in below-freezing temperatures might not sound too appealing to you but Brrrrr! is inspired by Montreal’s Igloofest where people have been partying in even chillier weather since 2007.

Staying Warm at Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival

Toronto’s average low is -10°C in February and things will get progressively cooler temperature-wise as your evening progresses. Don’t worry about freezing your jewels off, though. Brrrrr! has a bunch of warming stations to keep your buns nice n’ toasty along with fully-heated areas including the Corona Technodome. And just because the booze might be warming you up, try to remember that it is still actually cold outside. No one wants to wake up with a case of the sniffles.

If you opt for a VIP ticket for Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival you’ll get access to additional heated sections including the VIP Lounge & Bar and Heated VIP Area with a primo view of the main stage, more washrooms and express entry to the event so there’s no spending extra time waiting in the cold lineup.

Now, I don’t want to sound like a mom, but for heaven’s sake don’t forget your mittens! Matter of fact: toques, scarves, long johns, Canada Goose - all of it. Bundle up and don’t underestimate how cold and windy it can get on the shores of Lake Ontario. I’m talking layers, people! But don’t forget about easy-access either. You will need to use the washroom and may want to strip down for whatever reason suits you.

The nice feature at Brrrrr! Toronto are their wintery-themed drinks including gourmet hot chocolates, mulled wine, hot toddies, hot buttered rum, and Irish cream coffee. They, along with the hot food served by the vendors, are all helpful warming mechanisms.

Getting to Echo Beach

Located on Ontario Place grounds, Echo Beach offers parking, which I can’t really cosign unless you don’t happen to be the one driving and don’t mind pitching in extra cash to park there. You can take the TTC to Exhibition Place, which is just a walk over to Ontario Place. If you’re travelling from a bit further, there is a GO Train stop at Exhibition Place as well. Check out suggested public transit routes to Ontario Place here.

Then there’s the easiest route: springing for a cab to get there. Plus, then everyone in your group can get nice n’ lit. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding another one as you leave the festival grounds. Or, you could always take TTC to any of the afterparties in Toronto. Since Echo Beach is an outdoor venue, all of its events end at 11pm in accordance with the city’s noise bylaw. This gives you plenty of time to tear up the town and hit up any of the Toronto clubs and bars hosting Brrrrr!-related events.

Getting Around Echo Beach

Echo Beach isn’t too big of a place, so it’s not that hard to find your way around once inside. Basically, the Main Stage is at the opposite end of the entrance and the Technodome is midway between both.

Peep the map for the layout of Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival at Echo Beach:

Some of Toronto’s most popular food trucks will be serving up hot food, with lots of different places to order drinks, port-o-potties to do number ones or heaven forbid a number two, and ATMs in case you need to grab more cash. Speaking of which, bring as much as you plan on spending beforehand, otherwise you’ll have to find an ATM when you're inside - and that’s just time spent not enjoying the music and money wasted on service fees.

What to Bring to Brrrrr! Festival 

According to Ticketmaster, guests are permitted to bring blankets to help keep all the more toasty, homemade food wrapped in plastic, lawn chairs, small collapsible umbrellas, and one sealed plastic bottle of water which you’ll be able to refill once inside. I don’t think you’d have much use for a lawn chair or umbrella except for the chance of wet or freezing rain. 

Brrrrr! is a 16+ event. You must be 19+ to order alcohol. Don’t forget your I.D. or it’s going to be cold as a welldigger’s ass waiting in the parking lot waiting for your friends to finish partying. So get out your one-piece snowsuits and put on your best party face – there’s no other festival experience quite like Brrrrr! in Toronto.

If you know anyone planning to visit Brrrrr! Festival in Toronto, don't leave them in the cold about what they can expect and how to prepare for it. Share this post to let them know the ins and outs of the city's chilliest electronic music party.

Other than that, check out the official Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival website for more information and tickets, as well as this video recap of the debut festival below:

Brrrrr! Recap 2013 - Moby & Dubfire from DOUBLE STANDARD FILMS on Vimeo.

Pete Richards
Pete Richards

If Star Wars and Van Damme had a baby, it would be me.

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