Canada’s biggest jazz extravaganza, the Montreal Jazz Festival is an epic event in the jazz festival calendar. As always the festival gets bigger and better each year with over 800 concerts, 3000 musicians from over 30 countries and a program of activities that makes the Montreal Jazz Festival, an ‘I wanna be there’ fest.
Having over three decades of music under its belt, covering all boundaries of jazz, the festival has spun its magic to celebrate all there is about this effervescent genre. It is itself a jazz compilation album that has captured the spirit of the time.
Once again this year, 2 million people are expected to enter the magnificent free outdoor Festival site from June 28 to July 7, basking in a dizzying range of formulas and formats, whether experiencing unforgettable moments in intimate venues, following the parade, or melting into massive crowds assembled by bigger-than-life concerts. It’s a 10-day voyage studded with discoveries, timeless musical encounters and surprises, with something to charm and captivate not only jazz aficionados, but devotees of the blues, rock, world music, folk and other musical genres born in the vast spectrum of influence of jazz. This musical map reveals a world of hidden treasures, next-generation gems and must-see legends. As Montreal adorns itself with the colours of the globe, borne by some 3000 guest musicians hailing from 30 countries, the Quartier des Spectacles comes to life from noon until the wee hours to the sounds of everything from electric guitar to balafon, from double bass to the wheels of steel, captivating and firing the imaginations of young and old, music lovers and nighthawks alike.
Three massive free outdoor parties
Three major must-see events gather the multitudes for unmitigated mass-scale musical happiness on the free outdoor site on the Place des Festivals. To kick everything off, the TD Grand Opening Event with Rufus Wainwright, presented in collaboration with SiriusXM, takes over the TD Stage on Thursday, June 28 at 9:30 p.m. At the mid-Fest point, on Tuesday, July 3, Tuesday Night Fever breaks out on the Place des Festivals during the Grand Special Event with Brooklyn group Escort. The festivities come to a perfectly danceable conclusion on Saturday, July 7 with the irresistible rhythms of Chromeo in the Rio Tinto Alcan Grand Closing Event.
Festival boutiques and restos
After loading up on music or dancing until you’re breathless, you can always find everything you need to fill up and quench your thirst on the Festival site. Got a craving? Snack it up at the Friterie, the Barbecue, the taco truck, the hot-dog and Häagen-Dazs ice cream bar carts or, for a more exotic touch, taste the delectable creations at the mango-flower or porchetta kiosks. Select from the wide variety of thirst-quenching options on the site, from the relaxed ambience of the Lounge Heineken to the friendly counters of the Jazz Bars Heineken, Bar Amarula or Bistro Express SAQ, the tempting terrasses of the Bar Terrasse,Terrasse Amarula or Bistros SAQ, delectably diverse port tastings at the Kiosque Porto Cabral or coffee at Café Jura… Finally, the Terrasse des Vins du Sud-Ouest, the newly enlarged Balmoral terrasse, located right on the Place des Festivals, can now welcome more Festival fans than ever, in full sunshine and in the heart of the action! Once again this year, the Bistro du Festival offers a menu, décor and ambience sure to charm even the most exacting patrons. Also, after last year’s successful test-run of the formula, the Festival once again join forces with Naya to offer the Fontaine Naya, a “refueling service” for bottled spring water offered for a small fee, in an effort to reduce the number of water bottles purchased. And for the more jazzistically-inclined “musicovores,” the Festival souvenir boutiques and Tente disquaire Archambault (record shop) offer an extensive array of official Festival products, including t-shirts bearing the Ste-Cat logo, albums by everyone from legends to newly-discovered artists, posters, caps, etc.
Full listings of all the events and activities can be found at the festival website – www.montrealjazzfest.com
[Picture Credit: MTL JF | Frédérique Ménard-Aubin]