Summer is festival season in Montréal!

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.

This article was updated on October 31, 2023.

Ask a local when the best time to come visit Montréal in the summer is, and they’ll probably tell you “all season long!” With the city in full bloom and temperatures rising, Montréal takes its international status as a leading festival city very seriously and audiences pack the streets and venues all over town taking in the latest and greatest in performance, art, theatre, dance, music and film.. So seriously, in fact, that there’s multiple major events running concurrently from June through August featuring something for everyone.  

May and June kicked off summer festival season in style

Les Machines (May 1 to 18, 2023)

Corridor Culturel's Les Machines is a unique musical event that will take place along the Lachine Canal. It will showcase Montreal's cultural heritage and promote Montreal's southwestern neighbourhoods as the birthplace of jazz in Canada. The highlight of the month-long event will be an exclusive exhibition on May 14, from 2 to 6 p.m., at Hangar 1825, featuring four artists, namely: Gayance, MODLEE, Naïma Frank and Olivia Khoury.


Festival des Musiciens du monde (May 19 to 21, 2023)

Hosted by the Centre des Musiciens du Monde, this annual program of global music guarantees new discoveries, beloved folk favourites and audience participation in the form of dances and group activities.


Piknic Électronik (May 21 to October 1, 2023)

Piknic Électronik is a must if you're an electronic music fan, love to dance or simply want to chill in the park among friendly Montrealers. Friendly outdoor event offering visitors a chance to enjoy good weather, an incomparable view of Montréal and quality electronic music every Sunday during the summer. Eclectic programming, at times classic, at times daring, that will be appreciated by both the initiated and neophytes to the genre.


Festival TransAmériques (May 24 to June 8, 2023)

Long a global hub for experimental performance and cutting-edge dance, Montréal’s summer festival season fittingly opens with the Festival TransAmérique’s offering of premieres and must-see exclusives.


Café Collectif Festival (26-28 May 2023)

Coffee lovers will be in for a treat at this brand new festival organised by a team of baristas. Its aim is to bring together coffee professionals to celebrate speciality coffee in Montreal. The first edition will take place at the WIP, and will feature a variety of roasters, including Zab, Pista, Saint-Henri, 94 Celsius, Canal, Escape, Binocle, Géogène, Le Brûloir, Julius, Za & Klo, Melk, Ambros, Jungle and many more.


Montreal International Portugal Festival (May 26 to 28, 2023)

Montréal’s Portuguese community holds a strong influence over the city’s cultural fabric, and this annual celebration brings together cuisine, language and culture for the whole family.


Festival Eurêka! (May 26 to 28, 2023)

The 16th edition of the great science festival takes place at Parc Jean-Drapeau under the theme of ENERGY. A hundred or so participatory activities for the whole family are offered and it's free!


Korean Film Festival (May 26 to June 4, 2023)

With venues throughout the city, the festival showcases films that explore how art can inspire and drive positive change in the face of challenges, emphasizing the importance of nurturing a sustainable relationship with the environment. The KFFC is a unique platform dedicated to showcasing original Asian and Asian-Canadian movies that explore themes and stories distinct from what is typically seen in theaters.


Fuego Fuego Festival (May 27 and 28, 2023)

Olympic Park’s open Esplanade turns up the heat this summer with Fuego Fuego’s full line-up of Latinx music, including dancehall, trap, pop reggaeton and reggae. You’re going to need your dancing shoes for this one!


Festival Go Vélo (May 28 to June 4, 2023)

Montréal is without doubt one of the world’s bona fide biking cities—even ranked in the top 20 by the Copenhagenize Index! The Festival Go Vélo is a tribute to our favourite form of transportation, including guided bike tours, closed city centre streets and the iconic Night Ride in which participants decorate their helmets with glowing lights.


St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival (May 29 to June 18, 2023)

The Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood transforms into a giant stage for three weeks every year for the Montréal Fringe Festival. Guaranteeing surprises around every corner, more than 700 performers and musicians take to the neighbourhood with the unforgettable sights and sounds of Fringe!



YATAI MTL (June 8 to 11, 2023)

Itadakimasu! Montréal’s annual celebration of Japanese culture offers food, music and performance all over the city. Pick up one of their free maps for exclusive discounts at local establishments, and don’t miss the buzzing outdoor markets and pop-ups.


MURAL Festival (June 8 to 18, 2023)

Forget the idea that watching paint dry can be remotely boring. Montréal’s MURAL Festival brings together some of the world’s top graffiti artists (this year including Brazil’s OSGEMEOS, American Lauren YS and Canadian JUNKO) to transform the city’s walls into colourful artistic statements, coupled with a block party you won’t soon forget.


Francos de Montréal (June 9 to 17, 2023)

With over 250 performances, the Francos de Montréal features French language musicians from around the globe on some of the city’s most epic stages both indoor and outdoor. Brush up on your la belle langue and sing along!


Festival Bloomsday Montréal (June 10 to 16, 2023)

This festival is a celebration of the heritage, culture and literature of Irish Montrealers. It does not only boost local pride and community spirit, but, as 40% of Quebecers have some Irish ancestry, builds awareness of diverse cultures and identities in our community. This emphasis on exploring our heritage is threaded through the program in the choice of artists, music, Montréal walking tours, films and documentaries, lectures, and readings from Irish literary works – especially Joyce’s Ulysses. In this way, even while being a part of a larger international celebration, our Bloomsday is a uniquely Montréal event.


Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (June 29 to July 8, 2023)

Expanding the definition of jazz for 43 years, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is one of the world’s top festival destinations. This year’s fest once again features a typically varied lineup including heavyweights Colin Stetson, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock, and Diana Krall alongside genre-breakers like Orville Peck, CARRTOONS, Snarky Puppy and DakhaBrakha.


L'International des Feux Loto-Québec (June 29 to August 10, 2023)

Lighting up the skies with eye-popping fireworks displays, Montréal’s beloved International des Feux Loto-Québec guarantees an epic and finish to your summer city nights.


Suoni Per Il Popolo (Annually in June)

Montréal’s internationally celebrated independent music scene often skews to the experimental, and the Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival is a welcoming embrace of leaders and trendsetters in the scene. Expand your boundaries and jump in!


Festival season hit fever pitch in July

POCHA MTL (July 6 to 9, 2023)

For three days, celebrate Korean culture and street food at the Peel Basin. As well as tasting Korean barbecue recipes, discover fried chicken, Korean pancakes and kogos, Korean-style pogos with original fillings. Admission is $3 except for children under 12 and seniors 65+. Dogs are welcome! For more details, check out this page.



The circus escapes from the Big Top and takes over the streets (and skies!) every July for Montréal complètement cirque. Be sure to do your neck stretches—expect ‘did I just see that?’ whiplash and constant looking up to catch the show!


Taste of the Caribbean (July 11 to 14, 2024)

Experience the flavours, sights and sounds at Taste of the Caribbean, a free, 4-day cultural festival that invites visitors to immerse themselves in the warm cultural embrace that makes the Caribbean nations so enigmatic and inviting. Enjoy live musical performances from homegrown talent, including Grammy and Juno Awarding winning artists plus a selection of local Caribbean restaurants and guest Chefs offering cooking and mixology demos. A fun-filled adventure for the whole family.


Festival International Nuits dAfrique (July 11 to 23, 2023)

Back for its 37th edition, the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique’s packed programme of over 100 performances, activities and workshops celebrating Montréal’s Caribbean, Latin American and African diaspora is guaranteed to keep you on your feet and dancing. This year’s lineup features artists from more than 30 countries and includes a headline performance by the iconic Angélique Kidjo.


Zoofest & OFF JFL (July 13 to 29, 2023)

Cocky kid sibling to the Just for Laughs Festival, the envelope-pushing Zoofest and OFF JFL offers over 125 additional simultaneously programmed performances ranging from standup to burlesque—and the perfect opportunity to discover the next JFL headliners early on in their careers. Zoofest will feature shows by Ahmed Sparrow, Black Eye, Jay Laliberté, Katherine Levac, and many more! These shows take place at Café Cléopâtre, Le Balcon, Le Gesù, Théâtre Saint-Catherine, and Église Saint-James. Take a look at their website for more details.


Just For Laughs (July 14 to 29, 2023)

You’ve probably asked yourself, “Why is everyone laughing in Montréal every July?” The answer is simple: Just For Laughs is the world’s top comedy festival, featuring the biggest names in standup and a packed schedule of up-and-comers. Prepare to bust several guts!


Comiccon (July 14 to 16, 2023)

Pop culture lovers gather at the annual Comiccon at the suitably colourful Palais des congrès de Montréal for a three-day convention bringing fans into direct contact with comic creators, sci-fi and fantasy authors and the creative teams behind beloved films and TV shows.


Fantasia International Film Festival (July 20 to August 9, 2023)

Celebrating genre cinema, the Fantasia International Film Festival offers spills, thrills and a hefty dose of chills across Montréal’s biggest screens. Exciting premieres and filmmaker Q&As round out the program of the summer’s most thrilling movie event.


SMASH Festival (July 26 to 30, 2023)

The SMASH Festival is hosting the World Beach Pro Tour Volleyball at Parc Jean-Drapeau. This unique event combines sport, entertainment and fun! Don't miss the world's volleyball elite battling it out for the top spot in the rankings for the Paris Olympics. All this in a musical and festive festival-like atmosphere entertaining fans day and night.


Mtl en Arts (Annually in July)

Transforming Sainte-Catherine Street through Montréal’s storied Gay Village into Eastern Canada’s largest open-air arts gallery, Mtl en Arts gives platform to hundreds of artists to exhibit their unique wares and creations in the summer sun. As an added bonus, many works are for sale and will look great on your wall back home.



The unstoppable August beat

Montréal Pride (August 3 to 13, 2023)

Montréal Pride is hands-down one of the city’s biggest annual parties, spotlighting a rainbow of internationally beloved drag queens and performers, a non-stop party atmosphere in the Gay Village (coming out in full force on Community Day) and the tear-jerkingly powerful moment of silence during the Parade in commemoration of 2SLGBTQ+ history. And it all ends with an epic closing T-Dance featuring some of the world’s top DJs.


La Guinguette du Vieux-Montréal (August 3 to 6, 2023)

Following last year’s successful first edition of les Guinguettes in the Sud-Ouest borough, the festivities will expand this year with the first ever Old Montréal edition. Delicious food, energetic dancing, games, live music, including DJ sets and more are only part of the fun to be had. Discover local Quebec artisans at the Tropical Market, and indulge in one of 8 restaurants, including the famous Merci Tâta. 


Osheaga (August 4 to 6, 2023)

One of the brightest lights on North America’s music festival circuit, Osheaga pulls together an unbeatable lineup of top-tier superstars and up-and-comers for loved-up outdoor performances in Parc Jean-Drapeau. The 2023 edition features headliners Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish and Rüfüs du Sol, plus unmissable appearances from The National, The Flaming Lips, Rezz, Baby Keep, Little Yachty and Carly Rae Jepsen. Phew! 😅


ItalfestMTL (August 4 to 20, 2023)

For three decades, ItalfestMTL has celebrated Montréal’s feisty Italian roots with events in Little Italy and beyond. This loving spotlight on Italian culture, history and food—OMG, the food!—will leave you exclaiming ciao bella!


The Montréal Highland Games (August 6, 2023)

The stately Douglas Hospital grounds in Verdun transform into the Highlands with this annual fest of derring-do, pipe bands and all things Scottish. Toss a caber and refuel with a wee haggis, and you’ll be speaking in a thick brogue in no time.


Orientalys Festival (August 10 to 13, 2023)

The Clock Tower Quay embrace the colours of the East and present a wide variety of shows, workshops and activities. Discover the music, cuisine, culture of Eastern countries, from North Africa to China... for free!


ÎleSoniq (August 11 to 13, 2023)

Bucolic Parc Jean-Drapeau switches gears from a leafy public park into one of the world’s biggest nightclub dance floors during ÎleSoniq. The 2023 lineup brings Alesso, The Chainsmokers, Martin Garrix, the Canadian premiere of SVDDEN DEATH’s new alias VOYD and TESTPILOT to the stage, backed up by a who’s who of upcoming electronic music and DJ talent including Ray Volpe, Afrojack and Agents of Time.


AfroMonde Festival (August 17 to 20, 2023)

The AfroMonde festival is an important gathering that celebrates culture, urban music, fashion, visual arts and gastronomy. The festival features modern and traditional dance, folktales, conferences, culinary discoveries, carnival parades, kiosks, exhibits and much more.


La Virée classique OSM (August 16 to 20, 2023)

This laid-back present boasts an inviting atmosphere where fans can enjoy 26 outdoor concerts, presenting a variety of musical genres from around the world, plus hundreds of activities. 


LASSO Montréal (August 18 and 19, 2023) 

For two days in August, Montréal becomes Montrey’all when LASSO brings the hottest voices in country music to this epic outdoor hoedown. Headliners Kane Brown, Chris Stapleton, Jade Eagleson, Elle King and others will thrill a crowd bedecked in cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats




MUTEK (August 22 to 27, 2023)

For nearly a quarter-century, MUTEK has remained a world-leading festival of electronic music and digital art that sets the standard for avant garde audio exploration and virtual experiences. Loved and respected by a discerning clientele, MUTEK is always cutting-edge.



M.A.D. Festival (August 24 to 27, 2023)

With the Quartier des Spectacles as its catwalk, M.A.D. Festival is sure to keep your closet updated for fall and beyond. Join local and international creators in a bevy of fashion shows, pop up shops and fashionable mingling.


Jackalope (August 25 to 27, 2023)

With keywords like Action, Adrenaline and Holy Cow Are They Actually Doing That?! Jackalope invites some of the most daring athletes from around the world to display their mad skills at bouldering, skateboarding and a what’s-what of action sports. 


JOAT Festival international de street dance (August 29 to September 4, 2023)

The festival offers a program with activities featuring more than 150 artists who immerse you in the world of street dance: high-level battles, breaking, popping, hiphop, krump, beatmakers, Kidz Battle, introductory street dance workshops, master classes and exhibition.


Festival TRAD (August 30 to September 3, 2023)

At the Maison de la culture Ahuntsic, the Festival Trad de Montréal will showcase artists, artisans and researchers of Québec’s traditional cultural heritage through music, dance, song, storytelling and workshops.


Festival BLVD (August 31 to September 3, 2023)

Feel like a kid again at Montreal's major family event located on the Main! For this edition of the BLVD festival, Saint-Laurent Boulevard is transformed into a pedestrian street and playful paradise, with giant games, installations at every corner of the street and an incredible treasure hunt. Meanwhile, parents can take a break in the relaxation zone, enjoy the last weekend of August on a boulevard terrace or go shopping. And the best part? All activities are free!


Festivities continue in September

Psicobloc (September 2 and 3, 2023)

You won’t use much more than the edge of your seat and your heart’s going to make its way to your throat and stay there at Psiobloc, as over 300 international climbers try their darnedest to scale a 65-foot wall overhanging the Parc Jean-Drapeau swimming pool. I’m feeling dizzy just thinking about it.


Montreal Ukrainian Festival (September 9, 2023)

The Montréal Ukrainian Festival features performances by Ukrainian, Canadian and local Québec artists, singers, dancers, comedians and choirs. The festival also keeps festival-goers busy with  a variety of kiosks featuring Ukrainian cuisine, folk art and crafts, local businesses and information booths. To keep the young ones entertained, the festival offers a supervised children’s area with games, face painting and other fun activities. 


Yulrumfest (September 16, 2023)

On 16 September, Montreal will be hosting the 6th edition of the International Rum Festival, a multicultural event that will give newcomers and enthusiasts alike a chance to get to know and appreciate not only rum, but also its traditions, history and production. "Yulrumfest is an NPO that promotes cultural diversity through hospitality, curiosity, passion and the essence of this spirit.


Ferment Fest (September 16 and 17, 2023)

Celebrate fermented foods at Marché Jean-Talon. You'll find some twenty Quebec exhibitors, workshops on how to make your own ferments, free lectures to pique your curiosity, contests, and more!


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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