Your guide to Montréal’s amazing fall festivals

Jamie O'Meara

Jamie O'Meara is Editor-in-Chief at C2 Montréal and the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.

This article was updated on October 4, 2022.

Fall in Montréal is nothing if not colourful, and when it comes to music, food, film, literature, the performing arts and more, the season brings with it a crazy rich bounty of fun and festive cultural activities. Let the following be your comprehensive guide to all the fall festival goodness on tap…
 

SEPTEMBER

JOAT Festival (August 31 to September 6)

JOAT, the international street dance festival will be back in the Quartier des spectacles in early September. Initiated by Handy “HYA” Yacinthe, the JOAT Festival proposes a new edition carried by the street dance culture as a cultural and social factor. The festival offers seven days of programming and activities featuring more than 150 artists who immerse you in the world of street dance: high-level battles, breaking, popping, hip hop, beatmakers, youth battle, introductory street dance workshops, master classes, exhibition!

Martinique Gourmande Festival (until September 10)

Indulge your Caribbean dreams at the 15th edition of the Martinique Gourmande Festival, which unites chefs, mixologists, caterers and artisans from Martinique and Quebec for a rich, multi-sensory culinary and cultural experience celebrating the flavours of the island.
 

Festival d'Art dans les Ruelles (until September 11)

Montréal’s “ruelles” (the lively back alleyways and intriguing small streets that permeate most city neighbourhoods) are the setting for the Festival d'Art dans les Ruelles. The fest has a broad and colourful programme of short, eclectic artistic performances ranging from music to dance to circus and more taking place right across the city, so keep your eyes and ears open for these sensory surprises!
 

Les Coups de Théâtre Festival (until September 11)

An international event that’s presented only every two years, Les Coups de Théâtre Festival offers young audiences the opportunity to experience exceptional live theatre from Montréal and abroad, showcasing it in myriad forms — musical, acrobatic, puppets, dance and more — through bold, diverse and high-calibre productions.
 

Festival Quartiers Danses (September 7-18)

When Van Halen covered “Dancing in the Street,” they likely weren’t envisioning the Festival Quartiers Danses, which takes the idea to a whole other level, bringing contemporary dance to spaces where it’s not normally found: streets, parks, public markets, museums, daycares and more. For this 20th edition, enjoy 24 performances at Place des Arts, 27 outdoor performances in Montréal neighbourhoods, and free outdoor dance workshops for all.
 

Shoni Market (September 8-11)

Described as Canada’s largest pan-Asian food, arts and cultural fest, the burgeoning Shoni Market street festival returns to downtown’s vibrant Shaughnessy Village neighbourhood for its second edition. The market closes off an extensive stretch of the city’s famed main artery Sainte-Catherine Street, with hundreds of local businesses getting in on the festive action.
 

BLVD Festival (September 15-18)

Who doesn’t remember how fun it was to be five? And for this fifth edition of Saint-Laurent Boulevard ’s aptly named, family friendly BLVD Festival, skill-testing games, a treasure hunt adventure, skateboard lessons, a skateboard competition, DJs, photobooths and an inflatable playground will all be part of the late-summer fun.
 

Festival Stop Motion Montréal (September 16-18)

A world-first dedicated to celebrating films created exclusively using stop-motion animation techniques, the Festival Stop Motion Montréal gathers professionals, students and the simply curious in order to enjoy and learn about stop-motion productions from around the world through viewings and workshops.
 

Montreal International Black Film Festival (September 20-25)

North America’s only bilingual Black cinema festival, the Montreal International Black Film Festival is Canada's largest film event dedicated entirely to Black cinema. It offers a fresh new look at Black cinema from all four corners of the globe, and showcases many of the world’s finest film productions.
 

MAPP_MTL (September 21-25)

Montréal’s international projection mapping festival, MAPP_MTL, takes mapping (a projection technique in which video is mapped onto surfaces such as buildings) to a whole new level. The fest functions as an open laboratory that showcases local talent and invites festivalgoers to take an active part in the mapping at a series of mostly free indoor and outdoor events.
 

Festival international de la littérature (September 23 to October 2)

Nearly 200 authors and artists from all disciplines and from all around the world gather in Montréal every year for the Festival international de la littérature. The jam-packed annual festival includes readings, dance performances, musical events, roundtable discussions and art exhibitions.
 

POP Montréal International Music Festival (September 28 to October 2)

The last major music fest before the cold weather rolls in, the POP Montréal International Music Festival is a wide-ranging festival of indie rock, folk, electro, hip-hop, punk, R&B and new music that defies genres, never mind the word “pop.” With venues ranging from classic theatres to intimate local bars, and from rooftops to after-hours haunts, the festival traverses the city and its multiple music scenes.
 

Journées de la Culture (September 30 to October 2)

Over the course of three days, an incredible range of artists, artisans and cultural workers invite you to more than 3,000 free activities throughout the province of Québec at the Journées de la Culture. Discover a fascinating array of arts and culture through experimentation, observation and exchange.
 

Gardens of Light (until October 31)

Hundreds of colourful silk lanterns create evenings of pure enchantment during this extremely popular annual fall spectacle at the Botanical Gardens. Much more than an illuminated path, Gardens of Light is an authentic gateway into three inspiring cultures (Chinese, Indigenous and Japanese).

 

OCTOBER

Phénomena (October 2-21)

Phénomena is a no-holds-barred interdisciplinary and bilingual festival created to give voice to unclassifiable, innovative and atypical artists. The fest hosts cabarets, theatrical and whimsical performances, puppeteering, artistic happenings, dance, installation art and more by both emerging and established artists.
 

Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (October 5-16)

Lively, bold and innovative are just a few of the words that describe this very popular annual event that has been giving cinephiles an eyeful for going on 51 years now. Every year, the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma screens over 200 works from 60 different countries, treating audiences to works of diversity and originality by emerging and major filmmakers.
 

Black & Blue Festival (October 6-10)

Throwing some of the most epic dance parties on the planet, the 31st edition of the internationally acclaimed Black & Blue LGBTQ+ festival will take place during the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving and American Columbus Day. The main event of the fest is being presented under the theme “Black & Blue 360°” at the truly unique TOHU circus arts performance complex.
 

Ramen Ramen Fes (October 11-16)

If you guessed that Ramen Ramen Fes is a festival dedicated to celebrating this iconic noodle dish from Japan, you’d be correct! During the nearly week-long event, ramen shops and pop-ups will be invited to showcase their own original ramen creations, and festivalgoers can vote for their favourites.
 

Montréal Burlesque Festival (October 14-15)

Bringing back the glitz and glam of bygone, Prohibition-era cabarets, the Montréal Burlesque Festival will feature three days and three nights of razzle-dazzle sensuality, sugar and spice at the downtown Club Soda in the Quartier des Spectacles. A roster of top performers from around the world take you on a bedazzled journey of romance and seduction, showing off their best assets along the way.
 

MTL Connecte (October 15-23)

Innovative ideas are in full bloom during this week-long showcase of digital installations, exhibitions and trends. MTL Connecte aims to look at burning questions related to digital development, focusing on its economic, social, cultural and environmental impact across sectors.
 

FIKA(S) (October 18-23)

The immersive FIKA(S) festival — the word FIKA(S) is the French acronym for Festival of Scandinavian Kultur and Art — provides exposure to the Scandinavian way of life by sharing music, cinema, gastronomy and more from these culturally rich northern nations.
 

La Grande Dégustation de Montréal (October 20-22)

It’s tippling time! This three-day tasting event is a unique gathering where wine producers, distillers and brewers come together to share their passion with wine, beer and spirit lovers and connoisseurs. La Grande Dégustation de Montréal offers a rare opportunity to meet producers from all around the world and discover a vast array of great products.
 

Arab World Festival of Montréal (October 28 to November 13)

A one-of-a-kind event in North America, the Arab World Festival of Montréal is a multidisciplinary event celebrating the intersection of Arab and Western cultures. Through performing arts, conferences, debates and films, many exploring the potential of intercultural exchange, the festival provides participants with a wide range of first-rate activities.

 

NOVEMBER

CINEMANIA (November 2-13)

Go crazy for French film at CINEMANIA. This must-attend event screens the best of this year’s francophone cinema complete with English subtitles. Each edition includes feature fiction films, several documentaries, short films, masterclasses, conferences and special events.
 

MTLàTABLE (November 3-13)

Tourisme Montréal is thrilled to announce the return of its popular restaurant week MTLàTABLE, in its original version, for a 10th edition this year. You won’t want to miss this flagship event of Montréal’s culinary scene, so follow MTLàTABLE on social media, or keep an eye on the event website, to see when the list of participating restaurants is revealed. More info to come!
 

Bach Festival (November 12 to December 21)

Lose yourself in the works of this musical giant in some of Montréal’s most prestigious venues when the Bach Festival presents more than 30 concerts featuring hundreds of incredible musicians, singers, conductors and other performers.
 

Mundial Montréal (November 15-18)

The world is your (musical) oyster at the annual Mundial Montréal, which showcases the best in new global music. Known as North America's World Music Summit, the annual music industry gathering features one-of-a-kind concerts, a conference and networking events while shining a spotlight on over 100 gifted musicians from every corner of the world.
 

image + nation (November 17-27)

Canada’s first LGBTQ+ film festival turns a fabulous 35 this year! An annual celebration of international LGBTQ+ cinema, image + nation unveils big hits and hidden gems while striving to encourage connection and reflection between LGBTQ+ people, nurture queer storytellers and promote queer culture both locally and internationally.
 

Salon du Livre (November 23-27)

A real page-turner, Montréal’s literary event calendar reaches its climactic conclusion with the Salon du Livre. Come and meet your favourite authors and discover new ones during the salons many events, including roundtable discussions, literary debates and public readings.

 

Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) (November 17-27)

One of North America’s leading documentary film festivals, the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) presents more than 150 Canadian and international documentaries that illuminate every corner of our world, pose thoughtful questions, and mine reality’s emotional depths. The program is for filmmakers and audiences alike, featuring groundbreaking films, retrospectives, discussions, new technologies and special events.

 

Jamie O'Meara

Jamie O'Meara is Editor-in-Chief at C2 Montréal and the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.

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