Travel Blog

25 Jul

Things to Do in Montreal: July 26–August 1

montreal festival comedy

It may be the end of July, but Montreal hasn’t slowed down for summer’s dog days yet: comedy festivals Just For Laughs and Zoofest add high and hilarious energy to the city; free outdoor entertainment, from theatre to dance to fireworks and live music, goes on in the parks and downtown; and film festivals and rock shows help keep everything cool…

(still laughing) Some of the world’s funniest people are in town this week for comedy festival Just For Laughs: see comedy showcase galas hosted by Sarah Silverman, Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffith, Whitney Cummings and Kristin Chenoweth. Solo shows abound as well: if you’re lucky you might get a ticket for one of Dave Chappelle’s many shows or see Danny Bhoy, Colin Quinn, Bo Burnham, Tig Notaro, Judah Friedlander, Moshe Kasher, Brian Posehn, Pete Holmes, and more. For a night of variety and bang for your comedy buck, check out showcases like the Alternative Show, the truly dirty The Nasty Show, Date Night: The Relationship Show, Talk of the Fest, with different hosts every night, including Kristen Schaal and SNL’s Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan, and burlesque shows Candyass Cabaret and Acme Burlesque. JFL-offshoot Zoofest continues until July 28 with more theatrical comedy shows such as Die Roten Punkte – Kunst Rock (Art Rock), Kuwaiti Moonshine, Progressive Polygamist: The Sweetest Reformers, The Birdmann in the events of momentous timing, and more.

(under the stars) High art meets the great outdoors in a free triple-bill by world-renowned Ballets Jazz de Montréal, performing emotionally-rich contemporary dance pieces by choreographers Cayetano Soto and Barak Marshall, at Parc Lafontaine’s Théâtre de Verdure on July 26 and 27 at 9 p.m. See Shakespeare for free this week too as Repercussion Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream sets up downtown in Cabot Square on July 26 and in Westmount Park July 27-28, 7:30 p.m. As part of LGBT festival Divers/Cité, see Wim Wenders’ dance film Pina, about famed choreographer Pina Bausch, at Théâtre de Verdure at 9 p.m. of July 29, and dance the night of August 1 away at Clock Tower Beach in the Old Port with DJs Alain Jackinsky and Nico Concerto.


(food, fire fashion) Take advantage of several of Montreal’s affordable gourmet food trucks, parked for our foodie pleasure on the esplanade outside Olympic Stadium on August 3 for the monthly First Fridays event. Look to the sky above Parc Jean-Drapeau for two more incredible fireworks displays before the August 3 finale of the L’International des Feux Loto-Québec competition, completely set to music: on July 27, it’s Canada’s pyrotechnic interpretation of the four seasons, and on on July 31, Italy finds inspiration in classic-rock. For the fashion-inclined, head to the Montréal Fashion Design Festival July 31 to August 3, where a catwalk and stage takes over McGill-College Avenue between Ste-Catherine and de Maisonneuve: see the latest in high fashion, have a cocktail with friends, and watch as designers and musicians collaborate on wild and colourful performances.

(on-screen suspense) The Fantasia International Film Festival, on until August 7, balances out the sunny summer days with a little darkness, especially for fans of horror and suspense. The festival screens films from around the world, specializing in Asian film and rarities and featuring QA sessions with directors. This week, see K. King’s post-apocalyptic Zombie Hunter, Lorenzo Bianchini’s Across the River, Marçal Forés’s creepy coming-of-age film Animals, The National music documentary Mistaken for Strangers, Richie Mehta’s I’ll Follow You Down, Andrzej Zulawski’s classic L’Amour Braque, Yoshihiro Nakamura’s See You Tomorrow, Everyone, and even a live theatrical production of Clive Barker play The History of the Devil, on stage at Place des Arts’ Cinquieme Salle.


(native land) Montreal’s First Peoples’ Festival entertains with music, film and performing arts beginning July 30 with opening film, Pierre Bastien’s Paroles Amérikoises, an exploration of the Innu community of Ekuanitshit in Northern Quebec, screening at the Grand Bibliotheque at 7 p.m. More films follow on July 31 and August 1, including Gary Sundown’s Senaca Nation film Bury My Heart with Tonawanda, Guatemalan documentary Gold Fever, and Canadian documentary Vanishing Point, about the effects of climate change on the Inuit communities of Baffin Island and Greenland. On August 1, don’t miss a major free outdoor concert at Place des Festivals: Fiddle No More features the uplifting music of CerAmony and Digging Roosts.

(live music ) The 15th MEG Montreal Electronic Groove festival is in full swing July 26 to August 3, with over 70 artists at 10 different venues, including a boat. On July 26, dance to duo Saxsyndrum at Casa del Popolo, and get wild with the indie-rock of Solids and Duchess Says at Sala Rossa. MEG teams up with the Osheaga on August 1 for Electromania with DJs Shlohmo, France’s Sound Pellegrino Thermal Team, Para One, and Tommy Kruise, at Club Soda, while UK label Black Butter rocks the Belmont and the great indie-pop of The Besnard Lakes, H
ôtel Morphée, Valleys and Dusted takes over Théâtre Corona, and MEG takes the reigns at Piknic Électronik on Sunday afternoon, featuring French DJs Magnanime and Locomote X Omni. Meanwhile, Kiss returns to rock out at the Bell Centre on July 29, the UK’s Big Country shakes it up at Petit Campus, and the fabulous Lianne La Havas sings her soulful heart out at Sala Rossa on August 1.

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