Among the city’s many music great festivals, two stand out for leaving downtown behind while taking advantage of Montreal’s glorious late-June weather: the Montreal Folk Fest and the new Montreal Country festival…
The 7th Montreal Folk Festival on the Canal, June 18-22, sticks to folk music’s nature-inspired roots by installing itself once more along the Lachine Canal near the Atwater Market in the neighbourhood of St-Henri. With a community-centred vibe and both French and English artists from Quebec and the rest of Canada, the festival strives to reflect Montreal’s spirited diversity. At the same time, the Montreal Folk Fest recognizes folk music’s past, bringing in influential artists to wow the crowds: this year Eric Andersen, an originator of New York City’s 1960s singer-songwriter movement, opens the fest with a gala show on June 18 at Georges-Vanier Cultural Centre, followed the next evening by Americana pioneer Patty Griffin at the Corona Theatre.
Also complementing three days of free outdoor programming are two more indoor shows: eclectic, ever-entertaining and personable musician Mark Berube plays an intimate show on Wednesday at Victor Studio, while on Friday night a troupe of Montreal talents takes the stage for The Heart of Friday Night – A Tribute to Tom Waits. Hear musicians Patrick Watson, Leif Vollebekk, Joe Grass, NDG, Li’l Andy, Katie Moore, The Sin and the Swoon, Peter Mika, and more make it a night to remember at Theatre Paradoxe.
The weekend’s free outdoor shows kick off on Friday afternoon on two stages at Îlot Charlevoix (corner of St. Patrick and Charlevoix streets) on the Lachine Canal, continuing all the way to Sunday with traditional Quebecois folk songs, old-timey bluegrass, indie-folk, blues-infused rock and more. Start the fest with a picnic meal of local dishes served up by Le Kitchen Friend and settle in for music by Sweet Alibi, Mo Kenney, Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra and Forêt, from 4:30pm until after 8pm. Saturday’s shows begin at 2pm – don’t miss Bry Webb of the Constantines, Jenn Grant, the Yves Lambert Trio, and The Besnard Lakes. Return to the canal on Sunday for Sarah MacDougall, Frank Fairfield, Li’l Andy and more. And remember to drop by the lovely Lhasa de Sela Youth Stage to see over 20 emerging local Montreal artists.
After all that folk, switch to country. Every region of Canada has its own brand of country music, and Quebec is no exception – hear some of highlights of Quebec-made country music at Montreal Country, June 27-29 at the Olympic Park Esplanade. In its first edition, the festival features 38 artists, a main stage, three tents for daytime shows, and a kids’ activity zone. Main stage performances by Coco Country Band, Les Country Girls, Paul Daraîche, Andrée Watters, Patrick Bourgeois, Bourbon Gauthier, Patrick Norman, Chapeau Willie, Renée Martel and many more light up the night with country-star power. And every day, from 11:30am to 4pm, a roster of crooning, guitar-twanging artists keep the music going – discover a new favourite among them while basking in a truly Quebecois experience.
Montreal Folk Festival on the Canal, June 18-22, 2014
Montreal Country, June 27-29, 2014
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