[Updated on June 27, 2016]
Sunny days, high-energy nights and strikingly illuminated festival stages make the summer season bright in Montréal. The city ignites with a sparkling line-up of entertainment in July and August – get ready to laugh, dance, groove and be dazzled at these big festivals and more this summer.
The one-and-only Montréal International Jazz Festival officially ignites the height of summer festival season June 29-July 9. Incredible talent graces historic night clubs and Place des Arts stages while downtown’s Quartier des Spectacles bustles with unmissable free outdoor shows, including on July 7: the farewell concert of one of the most pivotal figures in Montréal music: bona fide jazz great Oliver Jones. More music lights up the town as Festival International Nuits d’Afrique welcomes traditional and ground-breaking musicians from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and right here at home, July 12-24. Discover your new favourite indie, electronic and hip hop artists at MEG Montréal, July 21-31, and take a ride on the late-night MEG party boat. Osheaga Music and Arts Festival crams the biggest names and the brightest emerging artists in indie-pop, rock, hip hop and electronic music into three amazing days on Île Sainte-Hélène, July 29-31 – this year see Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Ray, Radiohead and many more. And all summer long, the legendary Piknic Électronik continues its electronic dance-party reign with top DJs and producers every Sunday at Parc Jean-Drapeau.
Comedy’s brightest stars own this town July 13-31 as Just For Laughs takes over comedy venues, downtown theatres, nightclubs and the more than a few streets. More than a thousand comedians do what they do best to make two million festivalgoers laugh out loud at star-studded gala events and almost-uncomfortably intimate solo shows. At the same time, go out on a comedy limb with Zoofest, the place to see stand-up, sketch comedy, burlesque and more shows from the fringes – plus this year the festival teams up with up-and-coming comedians featured in Just For Laughs’ Off-JFL program.
For high-class sheer spectacle, look to the night sky throughout July as the International des feux Loto-Québec fireworks competition shows off the world’s latest pyrotechnic wizardry, or look up to the flying trapeze – there will be plenty at MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CIRQUE, a circus festival like no other in the world, featuring exceptionally creative circus artists from the Americas and Europe in outdoor and indoor shows, some fit for families and some for adults only, July 7-17. Follow the sound of cheers for the players of the Rogers Cup women’s championship tennis tournament, July 22-31 at open-air Uniprix Stadium.
And last but never least in a city well-known for its cultural riches, dive deep into culture-focused festivals, history and art. Fans of esoteric film return year after year to the now world-famous Fantasia international film festival, screening rarities and much-anticipated features and hosting talks by directors and stars, July 14-August 2. The 26th edition of the Montréal First Peoples Festival celebrates and honours the long history and significant presence of Indigenous people in Montréal, Canada and around the world, with concerts, film screenings, talks and more August 3-6 at the Quartier des Spectacles. The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal takes you on a Classical Spree starting August 10 with a huge – and free – outdoor concert on the Esplanade Financière Sun Life at the Olympic Park. Then discover some 30 concerts (starting at $10) and tons of free activities for all ages August 10-13.