Hit the city streets this week to find all kinds of free entertainment and that made-in-Montreal summer vibe – from the Jazz Fest to circus shows, fireworks to cultural feasts, Montreal teems with world-class talent…
(jazz, joy more) Summer is here and the Jazz Festival makes it official – don’t miss the exuberant sounds of hundreds of musicians on indoor and outdoor stages in the Quartier des Spectacles to July 6. Along with free outdoor shows all weekend, on Friday night Diana Ross astounds at Place des Arts, Michael Bublé croons and charms at the Bell Centre, Rickie Lee Jones sings her heart out at Club Soda, Barenaked Ladies return to form only to be followed by Snoop Dogg packing the house at Metropolis later in the night, while programmer’s pick Boundary (Ghislain Poirier), experiments with music and multimedia at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. Saturday night brings B. B. King and Gary Clark Jr. to town, a second show from Michael Bublé, Oliver Jones celebrates his 80th birthday, St. Vincent wows at Metropolis, and Esmerine merges glorious Eastern and Western sounds at the Musée d’Art Contemporain. Sunday night closes the fest with shows by Maxwell, Andrew Bird, Bonobo, and a massive free outdoor concert by Deltron 3030 at 9:30pm. For more things to do, see our Jazz Fest Guides on music, food, bars, shopping, and family activities, and get an insider glimpse of the festival on an official Jazz Tour by boat, on foot or via barhopping.
(outdoor life) Immerse yourself in a wide world of diverse cultures at Weekends du Monde at beautiful Parc Jean-Drapeau, July 5-6 – live music, dance performances, activities for kids and, of course, all kinds of great food make this free event a must. Spectacular feats of pyrotechnic talent hit the sky above Montreal as the annual fireworks competition puts on a show every week to August 2 – this Saturday at 10pm, see the Italian team use the perfect medium for telling the story of the Big Bang. The Bard is back again this summer for Shakespeare-in-the-Park’s performances of Harry the King: The Famous Victories of Henry IV, kicking off a city-wide park tour on July 8 at Westmount Park. Also outdoors, Pop Montreal’s Film Pop team present a screening of Beastie Boys’s “MCA” Adam Yauch’s basketball doc Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot on Tuesday, July 8 at 9pm, at Place de la Paix. For more outdoor activities, see our Family Guide to Summer and our Swimming and Beach Guide.
(circus laughs) Acrobats, clowns, fire-jugglers and more fill the streets and stages of the city this week, proving why Montreal is a mecca for creative circus – it’s all a part of the 5th-annual Montréal Complètement Cirque festival, featuring brilliant circus troupe Les 7 Doigts de la Main’s new show Intersection, Cirque Alfonse’s Barbu Foire Électro Trad, Lapus Company’s Six Pieds Sur Terre, performances and activities tailor-made for kids at La Tohu circus centre, and amazing circus feats outdoors along St-Denis Street between Sherbrooke and Ste-Catherine. And along with circus comes pure comedy as Just For Laughs and Zoofest start their annual giggle fests this week: laugh despite your so-called morals at The Nasty Show on July 9 and 10 at Club Soda, while Slightly Fat Features presents a variety show much better suited to an all-ages crowd, Paul Dabek blends comedy, magic and lies in his show Liar Liar, and up-and-coming Canadian comedians impress at the My First Time showcases.
(food drink) With so much entertainment going on this week, be sure to fuel up heartily – Montreal’s restaurants and bars come in all shapes, sizes and flavours – and some of them even take to the streets themselves: find dozens of the city’s gourmet food trucks at the Olympic Park Esplanade this Friday, July 4 for the family-friendly First Fridays event, 4-11pm, as well as throughout downtown, the Old Port and the Plateau neighbourhood. Summer is the perfect time to relax on a Montreal patio – find the sunny terrasse that suits you, whether you’re looking for haute cuisine or a thirst-quenching beer. And add even more sweetness to your holiday with a visit to French pastry shop Maison Christian Faure in Old Montreal.
(more live music) Along with all the Jazz Fest greatness on Friday night, there’s the rock of Neon Trees with Smallpools, Nightmare and The Cat at Corona Theatre. On Saturday, the Vans Warped Tour takes over Le Parterre de l’Île Notre-Dame at Parc Jean-Drapeau starting at 11am, while Kitten show their punk side at La Vitrola on July 5. On Sunday, Le Grand Orchestre de Châteauguay performs a free classical concert at the Olympic Park Esplanade at 4pm, while Piknic Electronik entices us to dance away the afternoon and evening at Parc Jean-Drapeau with Jimmy Edgar, Heidi and more electro producers – and as a bonus, Piknic joins the fun at Weekends du Monde on Saturday too. On July 8, L.A. rapper and hip-hop producer Tyler, the Creator brings his version of the odd future to Metropolis. Mixing traditional African music with reggae and social activism, international star Tiken Jah Fakoly officially opens the 28th edition of the fabulous Nuits d’Afrique on July 9 at L’Olympia – also don’t miss the Mozambican beats of Banada Kakanaon on July 8 at Club Balattou, and Ethiopia’s Debo Band on July 10 at Cabaret du Mile End. And in stadium rock with an indie twist, Queens of the Stone Age plays the Bell Centre on July 9, followed by The Killers on July 10.
Photo credits : Susan Moss and Terrasses Bonsecours
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