I'm sure you're all well-aware that Montreal is absolutely teeming with festivals. It makes this city an awesome place to live because there's always an event to see or a new kind of food to taste.
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The one downside to all this is the fact that these festivals are downright impossible to keep track of. When there's a new festival every month of the year, it can get a little overwhelming.
This year, little every other year, Montreal is going to host a lot of festivals, so here are 30 of the ones you need to make sure you don't miss.
30. Jazz Fest
One of Montreal's most famous festivals is jazz fest and for good reason. It's the largest jazz festival in the world! If you love free outdoor concerts and jazz music, this is the place for you. Of course, there are also indoor concerts in venues that cost money, but the free concerts are what makes this festival so amazing. It's accessible to everyone! It just isn't summer in Montreal without jazz fest. Every Montrealer waits for this time of year for the streets to be full of musicians and jazzy, soulful music. Check out their website.
When: June 28 to July 7, 2018
Where:Place des festivals
29. Montreal Beer Festival "Le Mondial de la Bière"
This festival is basically just a huge excuse to drink. But hey, you'll be getting more cultured at the same time. At "Le Mondial de la Bière", you'll get the chance to taste beers from all over the world. There are even brews made especially for the festival. This is the place to be for all beer-lovers, and who knows if you don't like beer (like me), you might find the brew to change your mind. Check out their website for everything else you want to know!
When: June 6 to 9, 2018
Where: Palais des Congres
28. International Fireworks Festival
Since 1985, Montreal has hosted this amazing festival that is quite literally a sight to behold. Devoted entirely to giving Montreal something beautiful to look at, its the largest pyrotechnics competition of its kind in the world. Every Saturday night (and sometimes Wednesdays depending on the year), Montrealers expect to hear explosions in the sky. The fireworks are shot out from LaRonde but from most places, you can look up and see a show.
When: July 7 to August 8, 2018
27. Montreal Circus Festival "Complètement Cirque"
Montreal is already famous for its Cirque du Soleil, but every summer the city brings the performances to its streets for everyone to enjoy. Started in 2010 by Tohu, "Complètement Cirque" is always trying to make the most unique and enjoyable performances. From contortionists to juggling to clowning to acrobats, you will surely be impressed by the talent Montreal artists have to offer. It's a great way to spend with your friends, significant other, or family. Really, it's for everyone to enjoy. Their website has everything you'd ever need to know including places to eat and sleep if you're coming from out of town.
When: July 6 to 16, 2018
Where: Quartier des Spectacles
26. Les FrancoFolies
This festival is a great way to learn and experience French culture in Montreal. As the biggest French music festival in the world, Les FrancoFolies definitely has a lot to offer. It attracts over a million spectators every year and brings in over a thousand French artists from all over the world. In early June, Montreal is transformed into an appreciation of all things francophone. I've personally never been, but I think this is the year to change that. What better way to get better aquainted with the French language than to sing in French? Want to see who is going to be there? Check out their website.
When: June 8 to 16, 2018
Where: Place des Festivals
25. Food Trucks Festival
If you haven't seen this gigantic gathering of food trucks right near Montreal's Olympic Stadium, then you haven't lived yet. Simple as that. This is the event to go to on an empty stomach; there is no doubt that you'll be leaving here well fed. On the first Friday of the month during summer and fall, Montreal's food trucks all come together to offer you more options than you will ever need for lunch. It's truly a beauty to behold. Up to 50 food trucks and 20,000 people will be there at the same time!
When: Every first Friday from May to October from 4p.m to 9p.m.
Starts: May 4, 2018
24. Folk Festival
You can never have too many music festivals, that's simply a fact. And Montreal's Folk Fest is no exception to this rule. This event began in 2008 and was founded by Hello Darlin’ Productions and Hyperbole Music. They wanted to showcase folk, roots, and bluegrass music during Montreal's beautiful summer. This festival is a great place to relax and engage your inner hippie. Folk music can definitely get you feelin' some kinda way, especially with the beautiful Montreal summer weather. Check out their website for everything you need to know!
When: June 14 to 17, 2018
Everyone has definitely heard of Grand Prix at one point or another. And if you haven't heard of it, you've definitely heard it. I live on the south shore and even we can hear those cars zipping around the track while we're in our houses. Whether you're at the track or at home, you'll know when Grand Prix weekend is happening in Montreal. This giant annual car race features Formula 1 racecars and travels the world. Montreal has somehow turned this simple car race into a festival in the city. Restaurants, hotels, events, Grand Prix is definitely more than a car race. Check out their website for more details.
When: June 9 to 11, 2018
Where: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
22. Carifiesta Montreal
This festival is dedicated to celebrating Montreal's Carribean community and it all culminates in a parade that features vibrant costumes, dancing, steelpan performances, and more color than you can handle. Apparently, events like this started when slaves imitated their oppressors and then grew into full-fledged festivals to celebrate their heritage and everything they stand for. They've got Djs, performance, MUSIC! This year they're expecting 523,500 visitors. Check out more information like on their website. Come check out the feathers yourself!
When: July 7, 2018 (still to be confirmed)
You always know when it's Comiccon in Montreal because the metros are filled with cosplayers (people who dress up as characters). If you don't know what's going on it can definitely be confusing and weird, but once you get used to it, you barely even notice the person covered in fake blood standing next to you. Comiccons are pretty famous, and for good reason. You get to hang out with people with the same interests as you. Whether it be comic books or TV shows, you can watch panels, participate in Q&As. meet stars, get autographs. It's a really fun time. And even if you're not super into the fandoms, it's worth it to see the costumes! Check out their website for the live countdown!
When: July 6 to 8, 2018
Where:Palais des Congres
Just in case you missed Comiccon, Otakuthon isn't too far away! This convention is basically just the anime version of Comiccon (though of course it is much, much more than that and shouldn't just be compared). Montreal's Otakuthon is the largest anime convention is all of Quebec, so it's definitely something to be proud of. Come learn about Japanese culture through events and activities, but of course, much like Comiccon, you come for the costumes. The website isn't completely updated for this year, but it still has tons of great information.
When: August 3 to 5, 2018
Where:Palais des Congres
19. Festival International Nuit d'Afrique
This festival celebrates over 35 African nations, specifically their music. Come hear music from Africa, the West Indies, the Caribbean and Latin America. Featuring tons of free shows and events, this is a great place to come and, not only learn about African culture but enjoy it! Dance to the music, eat some great food. The Club Balattou has events going on like this for most of the year, so check out their website. But this festival is definitely a great place to start. You can even become a volunteer!
When: July 10 to 22, 2018
18. Shakespeare in the Park
One of my personal favorites is Shakespeare in the Park. Every summer, Montreal's Repercussion Theater puts on completely free performances of Shakespeare. Every year they pick a different play, and this year it's Romeo and Juliet! This company is dedicated to expanding the minds of Montrealers and featuring inclusive and stereotype-breaking performances, so this year, Romeo and Juliet will not be a heterosexual couple. I, for one, am super excited about this performance. It really is a great experience. They have food, they have chairs (if you don't have your own) and every year all audience members get the chance to win a trip. Last year, there was a lot of controversies since the performances are in English. But this year, they will offer live subtitling! This really can't get any better.
When: July 5 to August 8, 2018
Where: Parks in the Montreal area including Westmount Park
17. Just for Laughs
Need a laugh? Yeah, I think we all do. Good thing, Montreal's Just for Laughs comes around every year. Famous (and not famous) comedians from all over the world travel to Montreal just to make you laugh. The least you could do is show up. In all seriousness, this festival is a must. There are tons of free shows that you can check out and, of course, you can buy tickets to all the big headliners. But seriously, just walking around outside is reason enough. The decor is crazy and there's just so much stuff to do. Honestly, just show up and you'll be entertained. Everything you need to know is online!
When: July 11 to 29, 2018
Where: Quartier des Spectacles
16. World Press Photo Exhibits
This year is the 13th edition of the World Press Photo exhibits in Montreal, and it's pretty much what it sounds like. In the heart of Old Montreal, you can see the best pictures from all over the world, and I mean it. This event showcases the winners of the most prestigious photography competition from all over the world. There is no way you'll be disappointed. Last year, 5,000 photographers from 125 different countries sent in over 80,000 images. And then, they narrowed it down. So you're really only getting the crême de la crême here. Of course, art is subjective, but I really doubt you're going to be unamazed by any of the work you see.
When: August 29 to September 30, 2018
15. Montreal Pride
Montreal is known for being a really great place for the LGBTQ+ community and this reality definitely manifests itself during pride, the best time of year. Everyone has probably heard of the parade (which this year is on August 19), but most of the month is dedicated to pride! With over 100 activities, there is something for everyone and I mean everyone! You'll never feel more welcome. The website has everything you need to know about parties, events, and did I mention parties?
When: August 9 to 19, 2018
Where: Montreal's Gay Village
14. Fringe Fest
Fringe Fest is basically an event where artists get to be themselves and explore. And you, the public, get to come along with them on this journey. You will never run out of shows to see, and you'll never want to run out. As an international celebration of multidisciplinary arts, Montreal's Fringe Fest aims to diversify and break the limits of art. You'll see everything from fringe theatre, repertory, dance, music, and drag shows. Check out their website for everything you need to know!
When: May 29 to June 18, 2018
13. Piknic Electronik
Every Sunday this summer, you can enjoy a nightclub during the day. Basically a huge DJ event, you can listen to house, techno, progressive, and minimal music along with all your friends. The great thing about this festival is that if you miss it one week, it just keeps going! From May to September, you'll definitely find the chance to go at least once. This outdoor musical event aims to offer immersive, social experiences in a friendly environment. Sounds pretty great! Check out their website for any other information you need.
When: May 20 to September 30, 2018
Where: Piknic Electronik
If you've been to Montreal in the summer, then you've heard of Osheaga. This is our most talked about festival and its massive! Montrealers wait around for the tickets to be released, but they're even more interesting in who is performing. The much-awaited line-up for this year has finally been released, so you can finally sleep at night. We also have an article for that! So, you're welcome. It's not quite Coachella, but we are super proud of our indie music festival. It's the event of the summer! Check out their website for everything from the history of the name to list of artists!
When: August 3 to 5, 2018
Where:Parc Jean Drapeau
11. Fashion Festival Mode et Design
Montreal's fashion week is the place to be if you know (or want to know) anything about clothes, design, and fashion. It's North America's largest outdoor fashion and design festival, attracting over half a million visitors every year. This event brings together leading international labels and renowned designers, so you are sure to be impressed. They have a variety of special invents including real-time design. You'll be sure to have a unique experience. Check out their website.
When: August 20 to 25, 2018
Where:Quartier des Spectacles
10. Heavy MTL
Heavy MTL is basically the heavy metal version of Osheaga. And it's definitely not for the faint-hearted. You need to have some thick skin to survive this festival. From moshpits to wrestling performances, this is the place to get nitty gritty and get out some of your anger. In all realness, this is the place to be for all fans of heavy metal, tough or not. Their website has everything you need to know about tickets and events for this year.
When: July 28 to 29, 2018
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau
9. Ile Soniq
Want to dance around and wave your hands in the air like you just don't care? Yeah, so do all the Montrealers that make their way to Ile-Soniq every year. It's the perfect place! It's the place to be if you want to enjoy some electronica, dance and hip hop with some of the best artists around. You'll probably get lost in crowds and color, but hey that's what the event is all about: frolic and fun. There's a music festival in Montreal for everyone, and this is the one for EDM fans. Check out their website for the dos and donts of this festival.
When: August 10 to 11, 2018
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau
8. Mural Festival
You can tell just by walking around Montreal that we have some amazing artists. The murals featured all over the city just add to the unique appearance of this urban place. Every year, the Mural festival gives artists a chance to be recognized. This festival is still relatively new, celebrating its 5th edition this year. So, you still have the chance to be one of the first to the scene when it comes to Montreal's Mural Festival. Basically what happens is that Boulevard Saint-Laurents gets transformed into an outdoor open-air museum where local and international artists come to show what they're made of. Check out the website to learn more.
When: June 8 to 18, 2018
Where: Check out their map
7. MEG (Montreal Electronique Groove)
This music festival is dedicated to showcasing contemporary music trends in indie rock, hip-hop, and electronic music. This event helps to highlight Montreal's culture and brings music lovers together. MEG showcases Canadian music in an attempt to bridge the gap between North America and Europe. This year they are celebrating their 20th anniversary, so let's hope the crowds are while! Do Montrealers ever really need a reason to party? Nope. Need more information? Check out the website.
When: August 30 to September 2, 2018
Where:Festival MEG Montreal
6. Weekends du Monde
First of all, this event at Montreal's Park Jean Drapeau is completely free, so that's reason enough to go. Second of all, it started in order to celebrate modern Montreal in all its glory! By bringing together various cultures and walks of life, "Weekends du Monde" aims to bridge the gap between the different people living here in the city. It's a great way to learn and an awesome place to be exposed to things you never knew! Come see the outdoors shows and bring everyone you know. There's more than enough room. Check out their website for more about this awesome event!
When: July 7, 8, 14 and 15, 2018
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau
5. Fantasia International Film Festival
Know any film buffs? Well, if so then they need to know about Montreal's International Film Festival Fantasia. It is the top genre film festival in all of North America. You'll get to see the most innovative, unique, exciting and individualistic genre films from all over the world. The genres include action, alternative documentary, animation, comedy, fantasy, history, martial arts, police drama, science fiction, suspense and urban drama. So, really there's something for everyone to enjoy. Films are a great way to learn about the world and people. Check out their website for all the events.
When: July 12 to August 1, 2018
Okay so I know the tamtams are more known because they're a really good place to get high on Sunday mornings, but in case you didn't know they're much much more than that. All around the monument and in Mont-Royal's awesome green spaces, you can see free performances. There's more to it than the drummers. If you've ever been then you'd know that there's also a bunch of dancers and vendors to make this a full-fledged event! If you live in Montreal, or if you're visiting, you have to go to the tamtams at least once.
When: May 6 to September 30, 2018
3. Vintage Car Shows
The Orange Julep is one of the oldest businesses in Montreal still up and running and for good reason. It has more than just good food and a super instagrammable location. It has vintage car shows throughout the summer! Though they're informal, the car shows are still super cool. It attracts families, car buffs and people that are just downright nostalgic.
When: Throughout the summer
MUTEK is a not-for-profit organization that wants to brings attention to the development of digital creativity in soundm music, and audio-visuals. They want artists to have a platform where they can create the most original things they can think of. This festival started in Montreal in 2000, and happens all over the world. They feature renowned artists, but also provide opportunities for up and coming artists, whether they be Canadian or international. Check out this festival for great nights filled with audiovisual performances and live electronic music. Trust me, you won't believe your eyes or ears. Check out their website!
When: August 22 to 26, 2018
1. 18th Century Market
Every year in August, Montreal's Pointe-à-Callière puts on an 18th-century public market for all to enjoy. There are stalls, a military camp, a Native camp, musicians, demonstrations by craftspeople, and even actors dressed up to make you feel like you've really gone back in time. It's definitely an entertaining time. If you bring your kids, they'll have the opportunity to learn some old-time games that the Native and French children played at that time. It's a great way to get them away from the screens. Either way, it's a nice relaxing way to spend a weekend and you can buy an array of really awesome products!
When: August 25 to 26, 2018