Montréal June 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 Fringe Festival, the Festival TransAmériques, MURAL Festival, the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada and the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal – suddenly appears on the horizon. That point is now. To help you ride it out in style, we offer you our annual Montréal June festival guide.

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Cutting edge culture

Festival TransAmériques (FTA) (May 23 to June 7) The Festival TransAmériques (FTA) celebrates new works in contemporary dance and theatre. Showcasing both established and emerging artists, choreographers, writers and directors, this 12th edition of the FTA also aims to foster dialogue through a stimulating range of workshops, debates and roundtable discussions. 

Accessible entertainment excess

Fringe Festival (May 28 to June 17) The Montréal Fringe Festival (known as “the party Fringe” on the Fringe circuit) turns 28 this year with some 800 performances featuring over 500 artists (theatre, dance, music, comedy, magic and more) at more than 20 venues around the Plateau Mont-Royal and Mile End. The nightly “13th Hour” variety show/dance party ensures that the Fringe lives up to its reputation, as does the highly anticipated Drag Races competition, hosted by famously fabulous drag queen Mado Lamotte.

Painting the town red… and blue, green, yellow…

MURAL Festival (June 7 to 17) Eye-catching doesn’t even begin to describe the work this celebration of urban art and graffiti produces each year. For its fifth year, the Mural Festival will invite artists to create large-scale art on the sides of many Plateau Mont-Royal buildings. Block parties, film screenings, installations and other performance and festive events are also part of the fun. And download the MURAL app here.

A formula for fun

Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada (June 8 to 10) Montréal revs up for the fastest fun in the country when hundreds of thousands show up for this top-tier racing event. The good times will be rolling off-track as well: numerous neighbourhood streets are closed for special family-friendly F1 events, restaurants shift kitchens into high gear and nights are alive with celeb-studded parties.

Music in the language of love

Les Francos de Montréal (June 8 to 16) Les Francos celebrate the diversity and quality of musical offerings from the international Francophonie. At an average of 70 indoor shows and 180 free outdoor shows, the wide world of French pop, rock, blues, jazz, world music and more can be yours. 

A folking good time

Montreal Folk Festival on the Canal (June 14 to 17) When the Montreal Folk Festival on the Canal was born in 2008, it was a one-day event that drew 500 folk faithful. The event, which celebrates 11 years this year, was such a hit – its picturesque park placement along Montréal’s historic Lachine Canal didn’t hurt any – that it now draws close to 10,000 for five days of folk, roots and bluegrass featuring both emerging artists and folk royalty.

Digital delights

ELEKTRA (June 26 to July 1) ELEKTRA is a yearly digital arts festival showcasing new creations in electronic music, video, cinema, performance, design, gaming and interactive installation in combination with the innovative use of new technology, especially digital technologies. This year’s festival also includes the International Digital Art Biennial (BIAN), which is held every two years. This 4th edition of BIAN (June 29 to August 5) will be held at Arsenal, under the theme “AUTOMATA: Sing the Body Electric”, exploring the interaction between the mind and the electrified body.  The BIAN 2018 will be curated by Peter Weibel.

A huge open-air gallery

Mtl en Arts (June 27 to July 1) A major artistic event, Mtl en Arts sets up at the heart of downtown from June 27 to July 1. With an expo-sale, interactive performances and installations and workshops for kids, it’s the place to be for those in search of inspiration and creativity.   

Jazz greats = great jazz

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (June 28 to July 7) The Guinness Book of World Records declared it the largest jazz festival in the world in 2004. The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal will once again overwhelm the downtown Quartier des Spectacles this year with hundreds of concerts representing numerous genres.

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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