Though it’s the second-largest French-speaking city on the planet after Paris, Montreal is nevertheless top dog when it comes to celebrating francophone music, boasting the biggest music festival in the French-speaking world in the form of the annual FrancoFolies de Montréal…
Les FrancoFolies – or the Francos, as locals refer to it – kicks off the outdoor concert festival season in Montreal. For 11 days, from June 12-22, close to one million people will converge on downtown Montreal to take in approximately 1,000 artists from a dozen countries playing some 70 indoor paid concerts and, of particular note to music fans everywhere, 150 free outdoor shows. From 5 pm until midnight every day, music lovers can take in some of the best rap, rock, pop, electronica, funk and world music the global francophonie has to offer, all without shedding a cent.
Located on the same site used by the Montreal International Jazz Festival in the central and spacious Quartier des Spectacles, the FrancoFolies – now in its 26th year – plays host to some of Quebec and Montreal’s biggest stars on some of the city’s biggest stages. To wit, outdoor shows by the likes of pop music superstar Roch Voisine have been known to draw in the upper tens of thousands. This year’s lineup is likely to do the same as the festival continues with a new tradition popular with concertgoers: a major free outdoor event every night. Quebec rock’n’roll bad boy Eric Lapointe, retro-pop rocker Pierre Lapointe (no relation), politically charged hip-hop crew Loco Locass and ridiculously popular singer Marie-Mai (think Quebec’s Avril Lavigne) are among those slated to perform on the main stage.
The rest of the free outdoor fest is broken down into the Seven Mondes (or “Worlds”) of music, each representing one of the seven stages that comprise the festival site. Among these, the main stage, or L’Espace Bell, plays host to the aforementioned and more, while the adjacent Zone Ford welcomes indie-pop rocker Peter Peter, long-serving thrash-metal band Anonymus doing a special 25th anniversary gig, and eccentric, multi-stylistic Les Frères à Ch’val playing in celebration of 20 years of brotherhood. Le Pub Rickard’s features up-and-coming folk and pop artists, Le Monde Multiculturel imports music from as far afield as Lebanon and Réunion Island, and Le Monde Urbain will showcase leading edge hip-hop, electronica and disco-funk. In other words, something for every musical taste – bon appetit!
Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, June 12-22, 2014
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