Autumn 2021 in Montréal is Festival season!

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton is the community director for QueerMTL, an internationally-touring musician with his projects Woodpigeon and Frontperson  and a graduate studies student of history researching LGBTQ+ activism in the city. He’s lived in Montréal since 2015, during which time he’s most often spotted atop a BIXI bike usally running a few minutes late.

As the world returns to post-pandemic living, Montréal’s autumn festival calendar is bursting at the seams with the return of some international favourites and exciting new kids on the block. 

Focusing on live and in-person performance, fall 2021 is the season we’ve all been waiting for. Throughout the city’s venues, open-air spaces and beloved parks, there’s something for everyone. Maintaining an eye on public health considerations, this fall’s festivals are ripe and ready to welcome the return of shared live experiences. Start blocking out those calendar squares now – Montréal’s autumn festivals will have you booked straight through to winter.

October gets festive in Montréal

Osheaga Get Together (October 1 to 3, 2021)

In advance of 2022’s 15th anniversary celebrations, Osheaga presents the Osheaga Get Together, featuring 100% Canadian and local talent over three days. Alongside headliners Half Moon Run, Jessie Reyez and Charlotte Cardin, the Get Together offers a promising glimpse at the present and future of Canada and Québec’s crowd pleasing music scene.

Montréal Beer Fest (October 7 to 10, 2021)

Featuring over 500 products by 90 breweries, the Montréal Beer Fest promises another hopping event over four days of tastings, music and workshops. Beer lovers won’t want to go home without the annual official edition beer glass – a perfect way to relieve your Beer Fest memories.

November’s autumnal pleasures

MEGA+MIGS (November 10 to 13, 2021)

A two-part annual extravaganza for gaming fans, MEGA (Montréal Expo Gaming Arcade) + MIGS (Montreal International Game Summit) brings together thousands of players and producers to interact and face-off in the industry’s latest groundbreaking games. Part exposition and part conference, MEGA+MIGS sets the path forward for gaming, in one of the world’s top cities for video game creation.

RIDM | Montréal International Documentary Festival (November 10 to 21, 2021)

Bringing together the world’s top documentary filmmakers and film fans, RIDM marks its 23rd edition with another stellar roster of new works, masterclasses and virtual reality installation. Promising a stellar lineup of the latest in International documentary, RIDM is an annual eye-opening experience you won’t soon forget.

image+nation (November 18-28, 2021)

As one of the longest-running LGBTQ+ cinema festivals, image+nation returns virtually in 2021 with its 34th edition. With a focus on #NewQueerStories, image+nation has long been a leading light in spotlighting brave new cinematic visionaries, and their 2021 edition won’t disappoint. This year’s programming also includes the I+N STORYLAB, amplifying the voices of 5 selected storytellers, and the festival’s full lineup will be announced shortly at their website.

Montréal Bach Festival (November 20 to December 12, 2021)

Celebrating the rich catalogue of Bach’s works, the Montréal Bach Festival returns to in-person performances this November in some of the city’s most beautiful halls and churches. Additional programming will be found on the Canada Classique streaming platform, created by the Bach-Académie de Montréal in 2020 to keep classical music in front of audiences throughout the pandemic.

Past fall festivals

Welcome fall in September

MUTEK (August 24 to September 5, 2021)

Long a world-leading exposition of electronic music and digital art, MUTEK’s 22nd edition promises an insider glimpse into the latest offerings from the most cutting edge avant garde creatives. Coupled with virtual components, MUTEK 2021 is a multi-platform immersive experience you won’t want to miss, including the MUTEK Forum of presentations, workshops and marketplace, and a series of immersive experiences in the Society for Arts and Technology’s Satosphere performance space.

MEG Festival (September 4 to 6, 2021)

With a focus on international exchange between Québec and Europe, the MEG electronic music festival has brought cutting edge performers to Montréal since its founding in 1999. For the 2021 edition in collaboration with Piknik Electronik, the MEG plays host to the likes of Misstress Barbara, Duñe, Miel de Montagne and Bellaire.

MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image (September 8 to October 24, 2021)

For it’s 17th edition, the MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image’s 2021 theme of Sensing Nature aims to explore the two-way relationship between artist and nature. Featuring the work of 51 artists from 24 countries across 14 exhibitions, MOMENTA 2021 also features an “augmented reality circuit in the public space,” and an Indigenous-led outdoor garden.

Les Francos de Montréal (September 9 to 12, 2021)

For over 30 years, the Les Francos de Montréal music festival has brought French-language musicians to the city’s biggest stages. For the 2021 edition (its 32nd), Les Francos de Montréal returns to the Place des Festivals for a series of epic performances in one of the city’s most iconic outdoor spaces, including appearances by Sarahmée, Jérôme 50, Klô Pelgag and the Nikamu Mamuitun project spotlighting the songwriting of eight celebrated Indigenous québécois artists.

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (September 15 to 19, 2021)

One of the world’s premiere musical events, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal has seen performances by the top icons and up-and-comers for over 40 years. Transforming the Quartier des Spectacles into the biggest jazz club on the planet, this 41st edition promises nothing less than another highpoint of the year’s musical calendar, including performances by luminaries like Daniel Lanois, Charlotte Day Wilson, François Bourassa, BEYRIES and Basia Bulat.

POP Montréal International Music Festival (September 22 to 26, 2021)

Montréal has long been an indie music hotspot, and the annual POP Montréal festival has played a supporting role in both spotlighting local talent and bringing new international must-sees to the city. Throughout the pandemic, POP Montréal has also hosted several virtual, hybrid and socially distanced rooftop concerts keeping the local musical community vibrant and active. For this, the festival’s 20th anniversary, Montréal’s stages will play host to the likes of Backxwash, The Dears, Cakes da Killa and Laura Niquay amongst many others. You also won’t want to miss POP’s seasonal Puces Pop markets featuring artisanal goods by local producers.

ÎLESONIQ REDUX (September 24 to 26, 2021)

Taking over Parc Jean-Drapeau’s epic Espace 67, ÎLESONIQ REDUX brings the beat back to Montréal for what’s sure to be one of this autumn’s biggest outdoor parties. Featuring appearances by electronic music headliners like deadmau5 vs Testpilot, Le Youth, REZZ and Loud Luxury, it’s time to get your dance on.

Festival international de littérature / FIL (September 24 to October 3, 2021)

The annual FIL fills the Quartier des spectacles with readings, art installations and dance performances, all in tribute to the printed word on the page.  This year’s programming includes special events for kids, readings of new works, and projections of films based on literary sources. Check here for the full lineup of events and ticketing details.

Montréal International Black Film Festival (September 22 to October 3, 2021)

Celebrating its 16th edition, the Montréal International Black Film Festival is the only bilingual event of its kind in North America, celebrating the latest and greatest in black cinema. Expect premieres, special appearances by filmmakers and a full schedule of unmissable films sure to thrill movie lovers.

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton is the community director for QueerMTL, an internationally-touring musician with his projects Woodpigeon and Frontperson  and a graduate studies student of history researching LGBTQ+ activism in the city. He’s lived in Montréal since 2015, during which time he’s most often spotted atop a BIXI bike usally running a few minutes late.

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