August in Montréal means it’s time to relax a little even while festival season keeps the energy high. This week we’ve got classical, metal, electronic dance music, anime and First Peoples festivals along with the start of Montréal Pride and the Olympics – plus all the food and drink to match.
Classical music meets the Olympic spirit this week at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s Couche-Tard Classical Spree main event on August 10: free, outdoor show Galaxy of Heroes pays tribute to the 40th anniversary of Montréal’s 1976 Summer Olympics, at Olympic Park – music enthusiasts also won’t want to miss the Spree’s many affordable and abundant concerts, August 10-13 in the Quartier des Spectacles.
Traditional music and hip hop, video and film, art and theatre made by Aboriginal artists take the spotlight as the Présence Autochtone Montréal First Peoples Festival, August 3-10 in and around the Quartier des Spectacles – evening shows include Innu singer Shauit on August 5 and Soirée ÉlectroChoc on August 6. Montréal Pride celebrates its 10th edition with parties, community and art events, cabaret shows, parades and more, August 8-14. For more festival fun, including Heavy Montréal and ÎleSoniq, see our live music section below.
Fun and games
The world is watching as the Rio 2016 Olympic Games kick off in Brazil on August 5 – find all the medal action at Montréal’s best sports bars, from multi-screen, multi-floor pubs to quaint neighbourhood favourites. Meanwhile, our Minor League Soccer team the Montréal Impact takes on the Houston Dynamo on August 6 at Saputo Stadium in a Pride Montréal match and Old Montréal welcomes thousands of triathletes for the Montréal International Triathlon on August 7.
It’s playtime in so many ways as the world of anime comes to Montréal in all its cosplaying glory for Otakuthon at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, August 5 to 7, featuring talks by artists and actors, an exhibition space, music, video games, the World Cosplay Summit, parties and more. And keep playing Pokémon GO while exploring the unique sights of Montréal with our list of 10 Pokémon GO activities for the family. For more outdoor activities, check our 2016 summer festival guide and our guide to fun with kids this summer in Montréal, from rock climbing to Botanical Garden walks to free, family day at the Aviation Museum on August 7.
Worldly food and drink
If you can’t be in Brazil for the Olympic Games, you can still feast as if you were: indulge in Brazilian food and drink in Montréal from “churrasco” grilled meats to refreshing cocktails and sweet treats. Explore the many tastes of Montréal with gourmet meals on Montréal’s favourite terrasses, food truck fare at First Fridays on August 5 at Olympic Stadium Esplanade or locally made smoked meat sandwiches along with more flavours of the world from Tex-Mex burritos and Portuguese chicken to spicy meals from African and Caribbean restaurants – eat on site or get take-out for a picnic in the park (note: it’s legal to drink boozy beverages outdoors with that full meal!) And entertainment, food and drunk abound at pop-up outdoor markets Jardins Gamelin, Village au Pied-du-Courant, Marché des Possibles and Les Jardineries.
Film, art and activism
The Couche-Tard Classical Spree presents an outdoor concert and film screening featuring an electroacoustic composition by Robert Normandeau followed by silent film For Heaven’s Sake with live organ music, August 11 at 6:30 pm outside Place des Arts. Immersive and virtual reality films captivate at the Phi Centre’s exhibition Embodied Narrative: Sensory Stories of the Digital Age, featuring new film Lebron James – Striving for Greatness. Watch classic Italian movies screen during Montréal’s Italian Week. Also honouring the classics, Bar le Ritz P.D.B. screens The Bourne Identity on August 7. Art must-sees: work by artists Liz Magor, Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin at the Musée d’art contemporain and, considering that it’s Italian Week, the Pompeii exhibition at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts and ELEGANZA – Italian Fashion from 1945 to Today at the McCord Museum. And international speakers, artistic performances and workshops at the World Social Forum present actions for change, August 9-14.
Two massive and vastly different music festivals take over Parc Jean-Drapeau this weekend: electronic dance and urban music festival ÎleSoniq, featuring Skrillex, Zedd and many more happens August 5-6, with afterparties at New City Gas , Newspeak and more venues; and Heavy Montréal lets loose with metal and heavy rock August 5-7, with this year’s headliners Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed and Mastodon plus afterparties in the city. On yet another note, superstar Céline Dion comes home for 10 nights of shows at the Bell Centre, while in classical music the Orchestre Metropolitain plays a free outdoor concert at Mont-Royal’s Belvédère Kondiaronc lookout on August 5, concerts continue at the Festival de Lanaudière a short drive or shuttle bus ride from the city, and the Orchestre de la Francophonie celebrates its 15th anniversary with a concert at Maison symphonique at Place des Arts on August 7.
Metal band Black Label Society, featuring former Ozzy Osbourne guitar player Zakk Wylde shakes Théâtre Corona on Friday night. Legendary outdoor electronic music event Piknic Electronik happens at Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Jardins des Floralies this Sunday with DJ Three, Alix and more DJs starting at 2 pm. Also on Sunday, Fiesta Olympica transforms the Olympic Stadium’s Esplanade Financière Sun Life into a Latin music dance party, starting at 4 pm. Swedish post-metal band Cult of Luna gets fierce on Sunday night at L’Astral. High-energy singer-songwriter Kyle Craft plays La Vitrola on August 9. Grab your earplugs for Japanese noisemakers Boris, performing album Pink at Bar le Ritz P.D.B. on August 10. Blues and bluesy-rock festival Festiblues International de Montréal starts on August 11 at Parc Ahuntsic, featuring more than 50 national and international artists. And British electro-pop duo HONNE groove at La Sala Rossa on Thursday night.
Up next: Where to eat smoked meat in Montréal
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