Montreal may be known primarily for its unique Quebecois culture and French roots, but the city’s cultural picture spans much further and wider. Since 2005, Week-ends du Monde has turned the spotlight on the diverse communities that make Montreal what it is: this year, the festival makes itself at home again at Parc Jean-Drapeau, filling the weekends of July 6-7 and July 13-14 with music, dance and culinary delights…
Just a five-minute metro ride away from downtown Montreal, Week-ends du Monde gathers thousands of Montrealers to share their many cultures and celebrate tradition – and its modern updates – through an array of musical and dance performances reflecting folk traditions and their contemporary twists, activities for kids, an abundance of fabulous food (from home-cooked comforts to gourmet inventions, from Brazil to Turkey and everywhere in between), and a marketplace where artisans sell jewellery, clothing and handmade artisanal creations, musical instruments, and much more.
Each day of the two weekends turns the spotlight on different cultural groups, sharing the festival’s four main stages and several smaller arenas. On Saturday, July 6, celebrate one of the most popular events of the festival (among many popular events), Jamaica Day, with food, dance, art, family activities and music. On top of that, Eurofest celebrates every country in Europe, from Spain to Armenia to Russia. And Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian Montrealers share song and dance at the Québec-Maghreb “grande fête.” At night, listen to live music by Ayrad, Mamselle and Taafé Fanga.
On Sunday, July 7, the 41st Peruvian Festival of Montreal, the oldest Latino-American festival of its kind in Quebec, unites a community and invites everyone to learn more about the coastal, mountainous country and its history and people. Montreal’s Cuban Festival rolls out at the same time, while Montreal gospel choirs of varying cultural backgrounds come together for concerts throughout the day, and the evening belongs to Soirée Gypsy, with music from Caravane Fuego Bohemio, Gadji Gadjo and Les Gitans de Sarajevo. After 8 p.m., watch circus artists from troupe Union du Feu perform elaborate dances, tricks and feats with fire.
The cultures of Trinidad and Tobago bring a taste of island life to Parc Jean-Drapeau on Saturday, July 13, with TriniDay, while the Shisha Show unites myriad Arab traditions of dance, music, calligraphy and other artistic expression, the Cambodian Festival gives us a glimpse into a culture that found a second home in Quebec, and the Fête Franco-écossaise, held at the Stewart Museum, demonstrates the long-held traditions, such as Highland dance and related physically-demanding games, of those with Scottish-Quebecois ancestry.
As evening falls, things get funky as the Wesli Band and Papagroove encourage everyone to let loose (if the day hasn’t done that already) and dance. On July 14, don’t miss the Brazilian Summer Carnival, inspired by the legendary Carnaval of Rio, with colourful, feathered costumes, percussionists, capoeira martial arts demonstrations and more. Meanwhile, the National Festival of Colombia celebrates with performances by musicians and folk dancers, as do the Salvadorian Festival and the Dominican Festival.
Circus festival Montreal Complètement Cirque shows itself on the multicultural scene as well as Cirque Carpe Diem trapeze artists demonstrate their skills each day at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and offer free trials on the trapeze throughout the afternoon to anyone (8 years and older) daring enough. And every day, outdoor electronic music dance party Piknic Electronik comes to Weekends du Monde, in its usual spot under the Calder L’Homme sculpture, and for these two weekends only, on Saturdays as well as Sundays, with an added bonus: entry is free on Saturdays! Dance to music from DJs Mad Professor, Dreadsquad, Poirier, A-Rock, Blake Sutherland, Guy Gerber, Hatchmatik, Shaydakiss, Boucan Sound System, Mungel’s Hi-Fi, and many more innovation DJs from Montreal and around the world.
Week-ends du Monde, July 6-7, 2013 and July 13-14, 2013