A meeting place for enthusiasts of all jazz-related music.
Your survival is important to us. Not surviving means not getting maximum enjoyment out of your visit to the Montréal International Jazz Festival’s 36th edition, and nobody wants that. To this end, we’ve devised a Jazz Festival Survival Guide that will eliminate, we hope, any uncertainties while breathing even more life into your festival experience.
Montréal International Jazz Festival, June 26 to July 5, 2015
WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO
In a nutshell, more amazing music and fabulous fun than should be legally allowed. From June 26 to July 5, Montréal’s downtown Quartier des spectacles hosts the largest Jazz Festival in the world. Get ready for 10 eye-widening and ear-pleasing days of ticketed indoor concerts – which this year features can’t miss blue-chip artists such as the Steve Miller Band, Erykah Badu, the Wayne Shorter Quartet, Huey Lewis and The News, and Dee Dee Bridgewater among many others – and approximately 350 free outdoor shows and activities that draw around 2 million visitors every year.
Don’t be surprised if, when you go to enter the festival site, someone asks to look in your bag. This is for your safety and that of others to ensure that nothing dangerous or disallowed makes its way into the crowd. Speaking of which…
WHAT TO BRING
Like any other large-scale festival, there are a few essentials, with some more essential than others. First on the list would be comfortable walking shoes, as you will likely do a lot of walking from stage to stage. Loose, light clothing – it can get very hot in Montréal at this time of the year – as well as a head covering or hat and sunscreen are highly recommended, not to mention a reusable water bottle to keep hydrated. A rain poncho will also prove invaluable in case of inclement weather. And if you have a pair, binoculars also come in handy, as does a programme of what’s happening: The printable concerts schedule tells you who’s performing at what time and where.
WHAT NOT TO BRING
There are a few prohibited items that won’t be allowed on site. These include alcoholic beverages (the site is scattered with kiosks for beer, wine and mixed drinks, as well as numerous patios and restos should you feel like catching a bite) and glass and aluminum containers. Also all pets (except service dogs), folding and portable chairs, and bicycles and skateboards. However…
If you want to bike, skateboard or rollerblade to the festival: Go for it. There are two free bicycle parking areas that can fit upwards of 400 bikes. They’re located on De Bleury St., at the corner of De Maisonneuve Blvd., and at the corner of Saint-Laurent Blvd. and De Maisonneuve. Cyclists must bring their own locks. These parking areas also come with pigeonhole storage bins for skateboards and inline skates.
IMPORTANT ON-SITE INFO
Where the heck are all these places?: Now is about the right time to point you towards the very useful Festival site map, which shows the locations of all essential festivalgoer services and outdoor concert stages as well as street names.
For the little jazz fans in your entourage: The Jazz Fest always has something special for the kids, including kid-curated concerts, outdoor games and interactive activity stations, circus performers, magicians and more. The festival also offers a free loan of anti-noise headsets conceived especially for children. Go to the Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA) Family Zone on the Place des Arts esplanade. Stroller loans are also available as are changing tables and special nursing areas for infants.
All that jazzing giving you the munchies (or the thirsties)?: In addition to a plethora of on-site offerings, Montréal offers an incredible wealth of food and drink options in the blocks that surround the site, with diverse eateries downtown, in Chinatown, on Saint-Laurent Blvd. and Old Montréal an easy walk away.
If you lose something, don’t panic: The Jazz Fest crowd is invariably a very friendly and socially conscious crowd so there’s a decent chance you may get it back. If you lose something, contact the festival team at (514) 288-1971 or at objetstrouves@equipespectra. You will also want to check at the three Info-Jazz kiosks, where lost-and-founds are located. What is an Info-Jazz kiosk you ask?
Info-Jazz kiosks: This trio of kiosks is your information lifeline (see the site map for locations). Open from noon until midnight, these kiosks have the goods on all fest activities, general Montréal tourist information, and daily programming updates, and they assist you if you’ve been separated from loved ones.
And because, as we said, your survival is important to us: There are two first aid stations. One is located on the west side of the site, on De Bleury St. immediately south of De Maisonneuve Blvd. (open noon. to midnight), and the other is on the east side, on Clark St. at the corner of De Montigny St. (open 6 p.m. to midnight).