August might seem like a slower month in Montreal, but the reality is that it’s just as hot and happening as the rest of the summer. This week, rev your engines with NASCAR races, feel the good vibes at Reggae Fest, get colourful at Montreal Pride, feast on gourmet meals, delve a little deeper into Montreal’s cool neighbourhoods and more…
(pride weekend) The weekend is looking fabulous for Montreal Pride, going on all weekend, with events downtown and in the Gay Village. The highlight, of course, is Sunday’s big Montreal Pride Parade, starting at 1 p.m. from René-Lévesque between Guy and Sanguinet, and ending at Place Emilie-Gamelin with a closing show. On Saturday, feel the local, community love at LGBTA Community Day, along Sainte-Catherine Street in the Gay Village. For events – from Saturday’s 3 p.m. Yoga Jam at Place Émilie Gamelin to late-night parties – see the Pride site.(fast n’ loud) It’s not as flashy as the Grand Prix, but race fans and their families will be flocking to NASCAR’s NAPA Auto Parts 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series, August 17-18 at Montreal’s sunny, breezy Parc Jean Drapeau. Watch a full two days of races, including the Canadian Touring Car Championship and the Canadian Tire Series, featuring drivers from Montreal and around North America, check out the cars up close and get autographs signed by drivers and their teams.
(reggae time) Montreal’s popular Reggae Fest celebrates Jamaica’s 50th birthday this year, pulling out all the stops with big stars like Jamaican musician Jimmy Cliff, dancehall great Khago, Assassin (aka Agent Sasco), Popcaan, Konshens, Cham, Montreal DJ Poirier and many more – all takin place August 17-19 at the Quays of the Old Port, on the waterfront in Old Montreal.
(fantastic food) Food lovers fall in love all over again at the Omnivore Festival, August 17-20, with food cooked up by top chefs from Montreal and around the world, including La Gazzetta’s Petter Nilson. Founded and organized by French food writer Luc Dubanchet, the festival runs the foodie gamut, with presentations and meals take place at the SAT – including an Omnivorious Party on August 18 – and restaurants around town throughout the festival.
(free pop parties) Music festival Pop Montreal is coming up September 19-23, but the build-up has been happening all summer – and it’s only getting bigger. This Saturday night, August 18, check out Pop Montreal’s Peel Basin Pier Party, with DJs Poirier, Prison Garde, Seb Diamond and Kaytradamus, all starting at 6 p.m. at Parks Canada’s Peel Basin, just west of Old Montreal – and it’s free! Back in the neighbourhood of Mile End, the fest’s headquarters, Espace POP (5587 Parc), hosts an Open House August 18-19, that coincides with the Parc Ave Street Fair, which sees restaurants and stores hosting special events and sales all weekend along Parc Ave.
(neighbourhood fun) Get out of the downtown core this weekend and see what Montreal’s communities are all about. On Saturday, August 18, NDG Arts Week starts up with Samedi in the Park at Girouard Park, just a 10 minute walk from the Vendome Metro station. The family-friendly evening, co-run by youth organization Head & Hands, features live music from genre-blending Elage Diouf, hip-hop collective Nomadic Massive, Shane Murphy, Chris Velan and some of the community’s young musicians, starting at 6 p.m. – and it’s free! And Montreal Italian Week shares the spirit of Montreal’s tight-knit, family-friendly Italian community, with events – music, food, comedy, tours and more – taking place in Little Italy, August 17-19.
(live on stage) Scottish tragedy is the name of The Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company’s game as they breathe yet another life into Macbeth, playing now until August 25 at Monument National. More witches can be found in Grammy and Tony award-winning musical Wicked busts its way out of New York City and comes to Montreal’s Place des Arts to August 26. And The Beatles 31-song review Rain also returns to Montreal until August 19 at Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts. On another theatrical plane, Dreamworks’ live show How to Train Your Dragon, flies over 20 massive, robotic dragons into the Bell Centre August 17-19.
(more music) While there’s plenty of music going on at the Reggae Festival, with Pop Montreal and in Montreal’s neighbourhoods, there’s still even more to be heard around town this week. On August 18, sing and dance along with The Unsettlers and The Irreverend James & the Critical Mass Choir at brewery-based Terrasse St-Ambroise, 7 p.m. Local indie-pop-rock promotors Passovah Productions hold a super fun Summer Fest, with dozens of local bands August 17-18 at Il Motore, pay what you can. The famous Piknic Electronik keeps Sunday afternoon hopping at Parc Jean-Drapeau with DJs Blondish, Julian Prince and Paul Rowland starting at 2 p.m. On August 20, awesome Chicago psych-rock band Russian Circles are joined by Chelsea Wolfe and Marriages at Il Motore, while on August 21, Sebadoh, still going strong, comes to Sala Rossa.