Your July festival guide

Jamie O'Meara

While there’s an argument to be made that Montréal’s festival season is more of a 365-days-a-year situation, there does come a point when a wave of major festivals – like Osheaga, the Montreal Jazz Festival, Just For Laughs, MUTEK and Nuits D’Afrique – suddenly appears on the horizon. That point is now. To help you ride it out in style, we offer you our July festival guide. 

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Have a blast

L’International des Feux Loto-Québec (July 1st to August 5) World-class pyrotechnicians representing their respective countries are invited to participate in this competition. The best spot to watch the fireworks is from the grandstands at La Ronde where y. You’ll see them take off from Lac des Dauphins and illuminate the night sky. This year, a special programme is being prepared for the July 1 opening in honour of the city’s 375th as well as the 50th anniversary of La Ronde.

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A lot of clowning around

MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE (July 6-16) Montréal will be showing off at major, multidisciplinary circus arts festival COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE. The 11-day indoor/outdoor fest unites Montréal’s key circus companies as they highlight world-class local talent alongside ground breaking international guests.

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Jazz greats = great jazz

The Montréal International Jazz Festival (June 28 to July 8) With over 1,000 concerts and activities, it’s no wonder the Guinness Book of World Records declared it the largest jazz festival in the world. The Montréal International Jazz Festival will once again overwhelm the downtown Quartier des Spectacles this year with hundreds of concerts representing numerous genres including some 3500 free outdoor shows.

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Bright lights for African nights

Festival International Nuits D’Afrique (July 11-23) Montréal’s much-loved Nuits D’Afrique world music festival brings the best of African and African-influenced music from some of the biggest names in the game at numerous indoor and free outdoor shows. Past performers have included Youssou N’Dour, Angelique Kidjo, Omar Sosa and Papa Wemba.

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Putting the fun in funny

Just For Laughs Comedy Festival (July 12-31) Just For Laughs (the world’s largest comedy fest) and its associated industry conference brings both A-List comedians and next-generation up-and-comers to its galas and club shows. Its sprawling outdoor site in the Quartier des Spectacles is also a daily hive of family-friendly entertainment opportunities. Among the big stars shining this year are Kevin Hart, Trevor Noah and Seinfeld.

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Scarily good

Fantasia International Film Festival (July 13 to August 2) Premiere magazine called it “one of the most exciting genre film festivals in the world,” and the approximately 125,000 festivalgoers who attend Fantasia’s 150-plus films every year would be among the first to agree. Underground, international and retro films in the realms of horror, fantasy, sci-fi and much more are on offer at this 21st edition, as well as numerous associated conferences and industry/social functions.

Jamie O’Meara

Jamie O’Meara, blogger

Jamie O’Meara is a writer for The Montreal Gazette, C2 Montréal, Moment Factory and more. He also manages the PR Team at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and is the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.

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