Genevieve PM Roy
Summer is Festival time in Montreal
Montreal’s reputation for being such a culturally rich and divers hub is due in no small part to the numerous large scale festivals that are hosted annually.
I love my city, especially during summertime. Montreal’s reputation for being such a culturally rich and divers hub is due in no small part to the numerous large scale festivals that are hosted annually. Whether to enjoy the arts and music, travel or learn something new while spending time with loved ones, millions of local and international visitors gather downtown – the epicenter of activity, to celebrate in a convivial setting.
A popular gathering spot is La Place des Festivals Public Square, where streets are fully closed off to cars and thousands of eager pedestrians come out nightly to enjoy the numerous free outdoor concerts and shows on offer.
This year, as a much appreciated extra by both locals, tourists and office workers, the latest addition to the Montreal food scene are the Food Trucks that have come back to the city for the first time in over six decades as part of a pilot program. Nine designated sites have various trucks rotating trice daily to offer various, delicious dishes ranging from exotic Japanese Tacoyakis squid balls to rich and savory foie gras poutine for those looking to try a twist on local flavor.
Below are resumes of two of my favorite festivals that use La Place des Festival space as their ground base:
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal ( 28 June to 7 July 2013 / 27 June to July 6th 2014 )
One of the many things that I like about going to the Montreal Jazz Festival is that it gives me a chance to check out several shows in the same place at the same time. Boasting the title of the largest jazz festival in the world, the hundreds of indoor and outdoor concerts draw in over two million people over its two week run. Often, I enjoy joining the crowds to see and cheer the international renowned guests that grace the numerous open air stages. This year, global indie sensation Feist opened the festival with great panache. It’s always a great feeling to welcome a familiar face, but most of the time, it is the new sounds and discoveries that make my festival experience memorable. I was impressed by the intimate performance of Leif Vollebekk. This adoptive Montrealer launched his new album by wowing his audience with soulful folk ballads while simultaneously strumming blues tunes on his guitars and piano.
Another performance that caught my attention was the Soweto Gospel Choir that delivered a powerful show at the new Maison Symphonique. This legendary South African choir composed of thirty members kept the house rocking with various gospel, soul, reggae, pop and religious hymns. The crowd was invited to stand up and sing along to various popular songs while the lead singers danced and swirled in colorful costumes. A memorable evening for all.
Just for Laughter Festival (July 13th to the 28th )
Montreal is proud to host the largest comedy festival in the world. Every summer the Just For Laughs festival offers comedy lovers over 1600 performances, including 1200 free outdoor shows. Even the most serious festival goers will be tickled with a variety of stunning galas, street art, theater productions, and stand-up acts. One of my favorite activities is seeing the Twin Parade with its thousands of participants in colorful matching costumes. This year’s parade, under the theme “The Grand Saloon” will be held on Saturday the 27th. Other favorite activities include viewing the Gags movie reel on the outdoor big screen as well as going to see the adults only, late night Nasty Show at Club Soda hosted by Bobby Slayton with Special Guest Jimmy Carr. Guaranteed to be a night of completely uncensored entertainment and wicked giggles!
In light of the Just for Laughter Festival that is currently taking place from July 13th to the 28th, La Place des Festival has been the recent designated gathering place for the 26 newly appointed food trucks – Laughter and Food A gourmet, dynamic duo right in the heart the city not to be missed!
For more information on these festivals please visit their official websites:
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
Just for Laughter Festival