I still remember my first road trip to Osheaga. I was going into my third year of university and driving up to Montreal from Toronto alongside four of my friends. We drove my friend’s family car that had become something of an heirloom after more than a decade on the road. The car itself was a little bit smaller than the average rickshaw. The air conditioning hadn’t worked since we were in high school and, even then, it only sent a feeble stream of air that felt as if it were powered by a small hamster running on a wheel.
Of course, the five of us talked throughout most of the six-hour trip, but when the heat melted away our willingness to speak, we looked desperately for distractions. We tried the radio but quickly remembered that too went away only a few months after the death of the air conditioning. The car itself predated the invention of the AUX cord by nearly 10 years, so we were forced to turn to the nostalgia of CDs. That’s when we realized my friend’s parents had gotten an old Phil Collins album jammed in the tray years before, so we were left with a mere 12 tracks from Face Value to carry us through the rest of the journey.
I’m not saying I don’t love Phil Collins but when you’re in a packed car with five sweaty men listening to “In the Air Tonight” for the seventh time, you can’t help but think, “There’s got to be a better way.”
Luckily, thanks to Chevrolet and SiriusXM, this year, there was.
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When Chevrolet and SiriusXM first reached out to my colleague, Julia, and me to gauge our interest in testing out the new Chevrolet Blazer RS as a road trip companion up to this year’s Osheaga festival in Montreal, my mind immediately went back to the backseat of that tiny car all those years ago. I was elated. Admittedly, it was a low bar to surpass, but little did I know just how much more enjoyable the proper vehicle could make the trip.
By the end of the weekend, I concluded that whoever coined the phrase, “It’s about the journey, not the destination,” was likely driving a Chevrolet Blazer (or at least had access to consistent air conditioning).
There’s a running joke throughout our office that I tend to pack my entire apartment for a weekend press trip. I’m constantly pushing the limits of trunk space or paying extra on flights, yet my monstrosity of a suitcase fit with ease next to Julia’s (embarrassingly reasonable) duffel bag. But even the best vehicles can’t control the weather. Within an hour of us getting on the highway, a torrential downpour left us relying on the Blazer’s lane assist, blind spot detection, available OnStar, and adaptive cruise control to safely navigate the roads.
Eventually, the rain let up and we were back to cruising through the highways to the sound of Dua Lipa on the car’s SiriusXM system. When we arrived in Montreal, we unpacked the car, ended the evening in our hotel, and got an early start to the festival the next day. Of course, Dua Lipa proved to be even more talented in person, but after dancing through the two-hour set, we couldn’t help but yearn for the Blazer’s plush leather seats that accompanied our first listening party.
On the drive home, we recapped the weekend through the open highways before fatigue caught up with us. Fortunately, SiriusXM provided more than enough ad-free entertainment to carry us back to the city with morale to spare. We explored exclusive channels, listened to favourite podcasts, and relived the weekend’s highlights through custom playlists.
As for how I’d compare my two Osheaga commutes? Well, in terms of virtually every safety feature, convenience, and amenity, the Blazer RS wins in a landslide. But in terms of Phil Collins fandom, we made sure to leave room for improvement.