Photo cred - Pat Beaudry
We always remember just how great Montreal can be when we're at a concert. You know what we mean; you're cheering as loud as you can along with hundreds of other people, enjoying the best music this city has to offer in one of our classic venues, or outside at the famed Parc Jean Drapeau.
Music really brings our city to life, and that's a big reason artists from every corner of the world love to perform here. They put on a great show for us, and for just one day they get to see exactly what makes our city so unique, from the exact opposite point of view than us locals. Bands get to enjoy Montreal in an entirely different way, because often they only have a few free hours to visit while they're here. Luckily, our city does have a LOT of unique and exciting adventures, even for a musician who's only here for one night!
1. The Best Fans
If you've ever been to a show outside of Montreal, you'll know exactly what we mean here. Montreal fans are the BEST fans. We are welcoming of every genre of music that exists; we're loud, and we make sure musicians know just how much we love them (and want them to come back again, and again). We can't help it; we're proud of living here and we want to show it to every person we possibly can. Musicians are consistently humbled to perform on the various stages across our city, and this is exactly why.
Did you really think this wouldn't be right up there on the list? We are FAMOUS for our poutine, and every restaurant makes it in it's own unique, delicious way. Musicians rarely come to this fine city without making a pit stop at La Belle Province (at the very least) or La Banquise (if they've come here a couple times and know where to go). Poutine is definitely a highlight of a one-night visit to Montreal.
Honorable mentions should go to great smoked meat and excellent brunch in the morning too!
3. The Nightlife
Bars, clubs, pubs- you name it, Montreal's got it. It's not every town on a tour that has such a varied nightlife the way Montreal does; people travel here from around the WORLD to check out what St.Laurent has to offer. Are you at a show at Club Soda or Metropolis? Make sure you grab a beer at Foufounes Electriques, the hot-spot for a post-show drink for many musicians in the area. Foufs is such a staple of the touring life, you'd be hard pressed to find a musician who hasn't stopped by at least once.
Oh and if you're there, make sure you head across the street for the best 2am pizza in town!
4. The Old Port
Some Montrealers might think that the Old Port is such a cliche tourist spot, but can we all just agree that it is one of the most beautiful places to visit on a gorgeous summer day? Another absolute must-see for musicians who have an afternoon to kill, The Old Port has a gorgeous boardwalk, great restaurants, shopping, and has the perfect Montreal "vibe" that we're so known for. Also, Beaver Tails.
5. La Ronde
We're one of the fortunate cities that has such an amazing theme park, and it's just a metro-ride away! Once La Ronde opens up, it becomes an absolute must for a little band-bonding time in the afternoon, or after sound-check. Especially on a more quiet, cloudy weekday afternoon, it's easy to spend a few hours riding roller-coasters and seeing our absolutely gorgeous city from the top of the Ferris Wheel.
6. Beautiful People
You might remember your favorite musician winning over the crowd with the sentence "You're beautiful, Montreal!" and you know what? It is 100% true. We have a gorgeous population of men and women. We don't mean to insult any other city, but artists who come through Montreal are always astounded by how truly gorgeous we are overall. Maybe we're just very attentive to our appearances, but we like to think there's a little something in the Montreal air, too!
7. Memorable Venues
So many bands come to Montreal and fall in love with our city. There's no greater memory than the first venue they played at; whether it's somewhere smaller like Divan Orange or they're playing at the Bell Center, all our venues have a unique vibe that make them incredibly memorable for those who perform there. It might be the inauguration of a band's first time performing at the Bell Center and receiving their Habs jerseys, or discovering the grungy basement of Metropolis and leaving their graffiti-ed mark. Whatever the memory, we can guarantee that every venue in this city holds some amazing experiences from musicians around the world.
8. New Restaurants/Shops to Discover at Every Corner
Montreal is no boring city, that's for sure. No matter which venue a musician is performing at, there's always something interesting to discover right around the corner (or in some cases, just down the street!) That's the great thing about Montreal, honestly. We may be home to tons of big franchises, but we've also got local businesses down. Musicians have a way of wandering through the streets and discovering a great local vegan restaurant, a new tourist boutique, or one of our city's landmark places to visit. There is never a shortage of things to see, eat, and visit in Montreal, and that's what makes it so awesome, even if it is just for one day while their tour rolls through town.
9. The European Feel of the City
Have you ever visited Europe and felt really strangely at home? No surprise there, Montreal is known for it's incredibly European vibe. We may be far more culturally diverse than a little town in Italy, but the bright colors of our buildings, old architecture, and cobblestone streets of the Old Port gives our streets that beautiful overall Europe feeling. The interesting thing is that after every few blocks, you enter an entirely new part of town, and that European vibe never seems to really go away. International artists feel right at home in our streets!
10. The Festivals/Outdoor Shows
The Jazz Festival, Francopholies de Montreal, Osheaga, Heavy MTL, Fringe Festival, F1 Grand Prix Weekend, Bal en Blanc, Ile Soniq, Piknic Electronik, Festival des Montgolfieres, and now, beach parties- have we missed any? Probably. Montreal officially has one of the most extensive and diverse list of outdoor shows and festivals to choose from. The opportunities that have opened up for musicians to perform in the city year-round are astounding. Stages like the ones at Osheaga and Ile Soniq can be once in a lifetime opportunities for some artists, as people travel to Montreal from around the world to attend. Not to mention they share the stage with other big names in the industry. These events aren't just memorable for those who attend, but those who perform too!