Summer hits the city centre as French music festival FrancoFolies gets underway with all kinds of free outdoor shows, complimented by bike-worthy weather, a world-class beer fest, streets and parks filled with art and music, and more.
(french tunes) Local and international musicians flock to Les FrancoFolies this week, North America’s biggest French music festival, with over 70 indoor concerts and 150 free outdoor shows in the Quartier des Spectacles in downtown Montreal. Quebec favourites Radio Radio start things out right on June 13 at Metropolis, while France’s Autour de Lucie and Bertrand Belin astound with auteur-pop ways. June 14 brings jazz-pop chanteuse Ima to Metropolis, and June 17-18 sees popular Belgian singer-songwriter Stromae, with talented Quebecois opener Karim Ouellet, at the Bell Centre, while French jazz-funk-cabaret musician Zaz stylishly takes over Metropolis on June 17, followed the next night by diverse Franco-Algerian singer Rachid Taha, and famed singer Pierre Lapointe impresses outdoors on the Bell stage on June 18.
(summer days) Mid-June marks the perfect time to see Montreal by foot or by bike – see our Bike Guide for info on bike paths, bicycle rentals, the city’s BIXI system and more.On hotter days, head to Montreal’s outdoor pools, opening June 19, though the Parc Jean-Drapeau pool is already open to the public – let our swimming and beach guide lead the watery way. Adventurous types of all ages test their climbing skills at the first urban acrobatic park in North America: Parc Exalto at the Olympic Stadium Esplanade, a three-storey rope-climbing structure with three skill levels – there’s also a soccer zone, mini-golf, an acro-bungee trampoline and more. And the Botanical Garden teems with new plant life, accompanied by live music every Sunday, while sloths show us how to slow down at the Biodome.
(art in the street) Shop, eat, drink and see art all along Saint-Laurent, closed to traffic this weekend for a summer Street Fair, from Sherbrooke to Mont-Royal Avenue – artists will be hard at work on 20 murals made specifically for this year’s Mural Festival: on Friday, Saintwoods hosts a music-filled Block Party and on Saturday, music festival Osheaga brings the beats to the street with The Underachievers, Dj Sliink and more. Art also takes over Sainte-Catherine Street in Montreal’s Gay Village during Aires Libres to June 15. And indoors, visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts dazzling new Fabulous Fabergé exhibition, travel way back in time at the Montreal Science Centre’s The Cave of Lascaux – Prehistoric Masterpieces, sample a 50-year history of Quebec-made rock, pop and folk music at the McCord Museum’s entertaining and educational new show Music – Quebec from Charlebois to Arcade Fire, and stop by one of the many galleries involved in the Montreal Digital Spring art festival. And on June 14, tour some of the city’s best galleries on June 14, as Canadian Art magazine hosts an art hop.
(beer & theatre) The wide world of craft beer comes to Montreal during Mondial de la Bière, June 11-15 at the Palais des congrès, a beer festival for connoisseurs and simple beer fans alike, featuring hoppy beverages from around the province and food by local acclaimed chefs. Beer also plays a hand in the Montreal Fringe Festival, sponsored by local brewers St-Ambroise, helping to make possible one of the biggest Fringe fests in Canada, with hundreds of affordable, creative theatrical shows, from drama to comedy to dance and more – plus, check out free Fringe Park music shows and kid-friendly events all week (note that the park is also home to the fest’s infamous beer tent). For outdoor people-watching entertainment coupled with good food and drink, turn to the Tourism Montreal List of the Best Terraces, over 150 restaurants and bars with summer-ready patios. Or opt for the sports-world theatrics of the World Cup, live on screens citywide – see our World Cup Guide for details.
(live music) Friday night turns soulful as Zaki Ibrahim graces the Phi Centre with her style of R&B. Mavens of ‘70s wildly emotional rock, Heart return to Montreal to fill the Bell Centre with their classic and influential sound on June 14, while Chicago indie-electronic band Gemini Club stops at Cabaret Underworld on a nationwide tour. Underground rock and jazz festival Suoni per il Popolo continues this Saturday with shows from dirge-rockers Bardo Pond and eclectic entertainers Excepter, plus the downtempo sweetness of Low on Monday night, the loud artistry of Swans on June 18, with shows by the brilliant tUnE-yArDs and Omar Souleyman the same night, plus experimental jazz and more all week long. On Sunday afternoon, dance outdoors at Piknic Electronik to minimal techno and microhouse electronic artists, and on Sunday night, updated-retro synth-rock rolls into town with The Jezabels, at Le Belmont, and Ziggy Marley proves that classic reggae lives long and strong as he packs L’Olympia with fans. June 16 sees violinist pop sensation Lindsey Stirling performing in dramatic style, at Metropolis. Singer-songwriter duo A Great Big World charm alongside Jukebox The Ghost and Greg Holden at Théâtre Corona on June 17, while Clap Your Hands Say Yeah bring good indie-pop times to Il Motore. On June 18, Los Angeles electro duo Made In Heights blends pop-influenced vocals and chilled beats at the equally cool Le Bleury. The Montreal Folk Festival starts up on June 18 with Greenwich Village folk icon Eric Andersen, followed by Grammy award-winning folk singer-songwriter Patty Griffin on June 19, with opener Parker Milsap, at Théâtre Corona. While over at Le National on June 19, Tyler Ward strums and sings up a heartfelt storm.
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