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Things to do in Montréal: June 19 to 25

C’est la Saint-Jean! This week Québec celebrates its national holiday, which, combined with the Francofolies, Fringe Fest and Suoni Per il Popolo, means Montréal is basically celebrating non-stop. Join in the party with free live music, great cultural outings and beautiful spots to lounge in the sun. Let’s celebrate The Saint-Jean-Baptiste festivities set the night of June 23 alight all through to the national holiday of June 24, with awesome free music (Ariane Moffatt, Daniel Bélanger and Marie-Pier Arthur are all on the star-studded bill) at the Place des Festivals. On the 24th during the collective day off, the celebrations take to the neighbourhoods, with roads closed all over town, live music, food, activities and a general air of slightly hung-over merriment. From Parc La Fontaine on the Plateau to Parc Benny in NDG, there’s something somewhere for everyone! Festivals en fête The Francofolies, meanwhile, continues with an amazing selection of free outdoor shows in the Quartier des spectacles until June 20, making way, after a short reprieve, to the highly anticipated Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. (Get your must-see list here.) Up on the Plateau, Suoni Per Il Popolo sets the tone until June 22, with a smaller,… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: June 12 to 18

Music is in the air as festival season gathers steam – and volume. Catch French tunes in the street, indie music in clubs, dance tracks in the park on weekends and fun in the sun in all our beautiful green spaces. Fresh and fun Bask in the sunshine by testing your climbing skills at the urban acrobatic venue Parc Exalto at the Olympic Stadium Esplanade, a three-storey rope-climbing structure. You can also play soccer or mini-golf, or jump along on an acro-bungee trampoline. As of mid-June, you’ll be able to cool down at the beach in Parc Jean-Drapeau, just one of many amazing spots to chill out in the city. Bring your own grub, and if you’re inspired, try one of these picnic and park pairings. Afterwards, celebrate the amazing day you had with one of these amazingly shareable pitchers. Speaking of pitchers, the Mondial de la Bière continues at Palais des congrès until June 14. The beer festival unites amateurs and connoisseurs alike for a taste of new hoppy brews and pairings with great food. Musical festing Francofolies kicked off on the 11th and will fill downtown with local and international French sounds until June 20, including Patrice Michaud, Dumas,… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: May 29 to June 4

It’s festival season! Well, festival season never really stops in Montréal, but in the warm months it revs up into a positive frenzy, where there’s so much going on, you don’t know where to turn. This week, pick between live music, street art performances, mass cycling, circus exploits… or mash it all together for the week of a lifetime. It’s showtime See that sexy 25-year-old over there? That’s the Montréal Fringe Festival. At a quarter-century-old, the massive, entertaining theatre, dance, comedy and myriad performance experiment festival is as youthful as ever, offering the best and cheapest way of having a good time for the next few weeks. From June 1 to 21, hundreds of performers will attempt to wow you with their homespun shows and then gather alongside you in the Fringe Park, at the corner of Saint-Laurent and Rachel, for a beer or five. Don’t miss the good times! If circus is what you’re after, head to TOHU: Les Étincelleurs and L’Art de la Fugue, both until June 7, are shows by the best and brightest of the National Circus School. The first is high-octane acrobatics, the second a more poetic homage to Bach (circus style). Festival TransAmériques continues… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: May 22 to 28

It’s hopping in town this week – between C2MTL, Museums Day, MUTEK and Festival TransAmériques, our schedules are already full! But with the weather the way it is, it’s essential to take a chill pill and hang out in the sun a bit too. Culture corner It’s Museums Day! This Sunday, May 24, all museums and most cultural institutions in the city of Montréal offer free entry, plus shuttle buses along five different trajectories to take you from one to the other. It’s the best way to explore areas off the beaten track. Two shows launch at TOHU this week: Les Étinceleurs, which runs from May 26 to June 7, a high-octane show featuring the best and brightest of the National Circus School, and L’Art de la Fugue, starting on May 27 and running until June 7, which is an homage to Bach, à la circus. Not to be missed! May 23 is your last chance to catch Death and the Maiden by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, a choreography by Stephan Thoss inspired by the Franz Schubert score of the same name and presented at Théâtre Maisonneuve. (Don’t miss the free pre-show talk hosted by Shelley Pomerance an hour before… / Read More →

2015 guide to Montréal summer music festivals

It’s beginning to sound a lot like summer in Montréal, as evidenced by the almost paralyzing array of music festival options – Osheaga, the Jazz Fest, Piknic Electronik, MUTEK and Heavy Montréal among them – featuring failsafe mainstays and some righteously exciting newbies. Getting wired and being plugged-in don’t always mean the same thing, but you can certainly do both in style at digital arts festival Elektra. From May 13 to 17, Elektra showcases new creations in electronic music, video, cinema, performance, gaming and more, in combination with the inventive use of next-level digital technologies. Conversely, bringing music fun back to the basics is the annual Pouzza Fest of all things punk rock, May 15-17. Steadily making a bigger and badder name for itself over the last five years, Pouzza returns with over 200 punk bands that span generations of punk fans, including 80s punks the Dwarves, Chicago hardcore unit 88 Fingers Louie, and L.A. pop punks The Muffs. Summer is synonymous with picnics, and summer in Montréal has become synonymous with Piknic Electronik, the wildly popular weekly outdoor electronic music dance party. Typically held in Parc Jean-Drapeau (on Île Ste-Hélène, across from Montréal’s Old Port), this year’s Piknic Electronik… / Read More →

Things to do in Montreal: May 15 to 21

You know it’s the unofficial start of summer when the season’s festivals start popping up. Time to hit the pavement and enjoy some of the best things about this city, including unparalleled entertainment, amazing green spaces and tasty, tasty food. Festival land The season’s first festivals are blooming left, right and centre, so be sure not to miss a beat with this festival guide. You’ve got until May 24 to take in some of the beautiful events during the 20th anniversary of Accès Asie, a festival celebrating Eastern cultures ranging from Iranian music to visual arts by Chinese artists. (Don’t miss the new media performance entitled The Thomas Wang Project on May 22 between 5 and 7 p.m. at Oboro). May 21 marks the opening of the exciting performance festival Festival TransAmériques, with offerings ranging from dance to theatre, and all the stage arts in between. Get the goods on six unmissable shows here. And, of course, the interactive spaces, visual and audio performances, immersive experiences, 3D productions, cutting-edge electronic music, vernissages and world-class events of Digital Spring also continue until June 21. Outdoor fun What better way could there be to celebrate the long weekend than by dancing it… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: March 26 to April 1

Spring is sweet in Montréal, literally thanks to maple mania, and figuratively with all the cultural effervescence of the season. From Digital Spring to music that will massage your soul with beauty and light, it’s all happening, right here, right now. Digital spring fever The sophomore edition of Digital Spring, on until June 21, showcases 150 interactive spaces, visual and audio performances, immersive experiences, 3D productions, cutting-edge electronic music performances, art exhibitions and world-class events put on by 90 organizations. It’s overwhelming to say the least, but you can let the calendar lead your experience and follow the guide online week by week. The programming will take you everywhere from Piknic Électronik to the International Symposium on Immersion and Experience and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium,at the Space for Life complex. For something a bit more lo-fi, head next door for spring fever, Botanical Garden-style: butterflies fly free through the beautifully temperate greenhouses until April 26. The kids will love it. Taste the season It isn’t really spring in Québec if there isn’t maple syrup involved. You can enjoy a feast of maple goodness, either classical or revisited, in the city or further afield. In town there’s a slew of restaurants that have launched special seasonal menus… / Read More →

Montréal’s many globetrotting DJs – all hands on decks!

Whether it’s Montréal or Miami, Berlin or Brisbane, for over two decades, Montréal DJs have been a fixture, as it were, lighting up nights at many of the biggest, bangin’, beat-driven events around the orb – whether you knew they were from the Montréal or not. The following represents a cross-section of the many DJ names you may have heard, from pioneers to up-and-comers, repping Montréal dance music both at home and abroad. We’ll kick-off with the man who has the best real-life-human name, bar none: producer/DJ Lunice, known to his parents as Lunice Fermin Pierre II. This Montréal native brings a music aesthetic typified by electro-synth riffs over deep, deep drum and bass while incorporating elements of “trap” (an early, particularly intense strain of d’n’b). He produced the track Runnin’ for Azealia Banks and co-produced Blood On the Leaves for Kanye West, among many others. Also on a post-trap trip is High Klassified, who takes a more ethereal, even a bit eccentric, approach to synth line layering on dreamy, hypnotic tracks as evidenced on his Palindroma EP of last year. Born in Haiti and raised in Montréal, at only 22 years of age, Kaytranada has already made an international name for himself as… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Daniel Iregui

As the Creative Director and founder of Iregular, Daniel Iregui is one of those people who is responsible for creating the rich, artistic fabric Montréal is known for. He and his colleagues François Loubert-Hudon and David Surprenant mix technology and design to create ambitious, immersive public experiences, which then travel around the world. The next piece they are doing will be at the heart of the Montréal Digital Spring launch, at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC). This is how Daniel experiences Montréal. Job: Creative Director and founder of Iregular Favourite pastime: I have a jam space in my studio where I play music with some friends. It’s always different people, so it’s like a group without a name and without albums. I love Mutek, and the jams we do around Mutek are always particularly inspired. How long have you been a Montrealer? For nine years. I’m originally from Colombia, but I moved to Toronto to finish my studies. Even though I lived there for three years, I always felt like an immigrant; but every time I came to Montréal, it was completely different. I felt at home. It was very strange, and it’s very hard to point out why. I really fell in… / Read More →

Montréal’s Digital Spring 2015: 1 season, 90 organizations, 150 happenings

Spring in Montréal is always amazing, but this spring in Montréal promises to be particularly awesome because digital fever will be sweeping the city with the second edition of Digital Spring (known locally as Printemps numérique). But aside from the 100,000 participants who enjoyed the fun of the first edition, everyone is probably scratching their heads, wondering: “Digital Spring? What is that?” From March 21 to June 21, Digital Spring showcases and celebrates the capital of the digital arts in North America, a.k.a. our cutting-edge city of Montréal. Organized by the Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ) (in English: regional conference of elected officials) in partnership with organizations from creative milieus or those interested in digital arts, Digital Springs showcases the organizations, artists and projects from the wide world of digital to the general public. So, what’s on the menu? Digital newbies and mavens alike will have the chance to enjoy interactive spaces, visual and audio performances, immersive experiences, 3D productions, cutting-edge electronic music, vernissages and world-class events. Where’s it all happening? City-wide. You can check out Digital Spring anywhere from the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium to the ELEKTRA 16 Digital Arts Festival to Piknic Électronik to the International Symposium on… / Read More →