Sweet sounds under the sun at the Montréal Folk Fest

Robyn Fadden

Listen to live music, eat great food and groove the day away with music fans at the Montréal Folk Festival on the Canal. This June, the family-friendly festival offers a full weekend of free outdoor shows set alongside the picturesque Lachine Canal.

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The community-minded Montréal Folk Festival on the Canal celebrates its 11th season from June 14 to 17, adding its own style and swagger to Montréal's wide array of summer festivals. From Friday night through Sunday, make your way along the Lachine Canal past the Atwater Market to the Centennial Esplanade, where you'll find music played on stages big and small, lots of space to lay out a picnic blanket, plenty to eat and drink, local artisanal creations, activities for kids, and more festival fun.

Open-air tunes

The Montréal Folk Fest plays fast and loose with the genre of folk music: you'll hear smooth country-folk, loud alt-folk, soulful indie-folk, roots, bluegrass and more, some all in the same band! Among the many main stage acts from Québec, Canada, the U.S. and around the world: Josh Ritter plays rock-tinged folk songs spanning several years and albums; beloved Montréal rock trio Plants and Animals brings old favourites and newly crafted tunes to the Folk Fest main stage; country-folk crooner Royal Wood plays a mean guitar; Catherine Leduc entrances with relaxed, rich folk-pop melodies; Anishinaabe musician Leonard Sumner makes lyrical storytelling medicine; Helena Deland shares her refined, personal indie stylings; AHI sings it like it is in soulful tunes; Bolduc Tout Croche takes us on a musical road trip; The Steady Swagger go for high-octane theatrical thrills and chaotic singalongs; Newfoundland duo Fortunate Ones captivates with on-stage chemistry; singer-songwriter Jason Bajada blends clever lyrics into pop-tinged rock; a who's-who of Montréal stars whoop it up with Nashville-influenced alt-folk as El Coyote; and many more inspiring acts entertain on stage from noon until after the sun sets.

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Local creations

While the music plays, take a break for food and drink! Fuel up on everything from healthy vegan meals and smoothies to hamburgers, hot dogs and poutine, plus freshly grilled corn on the cob, tacos, Québec cheese dishes, locally brewed beer and cider and more from specialty food trucks. And stroll over to the artisan market to shop for original artwork, clothing, jewellery, toys and other handmade items.

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Family time

Along with seeing the festival’s main stage acts, the Folk Fest's family area offers activities and programming to delight and amuse every kid, from children's music to games, bouncy inflatable structures and face painting. And be sure to drop by the Lhasa de Sela Youth Stage to discover emerging artists honing their craft and inspiring young musicians. For tickets and all the details, see the Montréal Folk Festival on the Canal program.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden, blogger

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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