Montreal Festivals 2010 – an extensive guide to all the music coming to Montreal this summer

June 3, 2010

Those familiar with summer time in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montréal corridor already know all about the festival season that takes hold as the snow melts and it becomes again safe to venture outside.Wondering when would be a good time to visit Canada’s cultural heart? Wonder no more – pack up your blankets and baguettes, there’s music to cater to all tastes on this island in the St Lawrence:

The Black Keys - photo by John PeetsCatch The Black Keys at Osheaga in Montreal this summer.

JUNE 2010

June 2-6,    
International Festival of Digital Creativity and Electronic Music.

Piknic Electronik
Not really a festival in the traditional sense but a weekly happening in Jean Drapeau Park celebrating electronic music. Starts in May and going through until early October. Check out listings for their 2010 season here.

June 6 – 26,    
‘Sounds of the People’ Festival, with events split between four differentvenues. This year’s artists include No-Neck Blues band, Ted Leo and Frog Eyes.


June 9 – 19,    
The ‘biggest music festival in the French-speaking world’ has been around    since 1989 and past artists have included Rachid Taha, Malajube andYoussou N’Dour. Dozens of events – some free! -in the heart of Montréal.

Sonny Rollins in concert - photo by Michael JacksonCatch jazz supremo Sonny Rollins at Montreal International Jazz Festival. (photo by Michael Jackson)

Montréal International Jazz Festival

June 25 – July 6
Too many artists to list – 2010 highlights include Sonny Rollins, Lou Reed, Plants and Animals, Basia Bulat, Taj Mahal, Bobby McFerrin, Kid Koala, !!!, The Aggrolites, Land of Talk, Anti-Pop Consortium, Elisapie Isaac…. it’s an eclectic mix, you get the picture. Also hosting concerts year round.

(While you’re in town, also be sure to hit up the Musée des Beaux-Arts’exhibition on Miles Davis, running through to the end of August 2010.)

JULY 2010

Juste Pour Rire/Just for Laughs
July 2 – 25
    OK, not a music festival, but still not one to miss… I don’t need to go over the list of comedians that got their start at JPR, so be sure to hit it up.Lewis Black, Aziz Ansari, Cheech & Chong, and Kevin Smith are just some of the appearances this year.


July 13 – 25    A wide array of artists hailing from Africa and beyond, featuring musicians, Capoeira demonstrations, and percussion workshops, all taking place at various indoor (Club Balattou) or outdoors in Place Émilie-Gamelin. Nuits D’Afrique also hosts shows all year round, checkout their listings here.

July 23   Sarah McLachlan’s touring show brings Mary J. Blige, La Roux, ChantalKreviazuk and others to the Bell Centre.

Slayer group picture - photo by Mark SeligerSlayer are among the headliners for Heavy MTL 2010. (Photo by Mark Seliger.)

Heavy MTL
July 24-25  For something a whole lot heavier, don’t miss all the metal bedlam being brought to Montreal this summer for Heavy MTL 2010. Megadeth, Slayer, Korn, Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper are headlining, while other names on the bill include Fear Factory, Airbourne, Lamb Of God and Avenged Sevenfold.

July 26 – August 1    Montréal’s Divers/Cité rivals Toronto’s as Canada’s largest pride festival,and puts on a spectacular show divided between LGBT community events and arts & music.DJs and Divas unite in several events, some free and many taking place outdoors in Place Émilie-Gamelin or along the Village’s main street, St. Catherine, which is closed to vehicular traffic during the summer months.


July 31 – August 1    Osheaga was my introduction to Montréal festivals, and was where I first saw Iggy Pop back in 2008 (before their gear got stolen…) This year’s lineup is particularly stellar, featuring the likes of The Black Keys, Pavement, Weezer, Metric, The National, Arcade Fire, Sonic Youth, Devo,K’Naan, Jimmy Cliff, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Beach House, SeuJorge… good thing it’s a big island. Also don’t miss originally-from-Montréal band Chromeo playing at Metropolis on July 31.


August 5 – 8    Annual festival celebrating traditional folk music and culture, in the gorgeous Parc Lafontaine. Désolée, their website appears to only be in French, but check out their line-up here.

But you don’t need a festival as an excuse to check out music in either Parc Lafontaine or Parc Jeanne-Mance: on any given sunny day or warm night you’re bound to find everything form Flamenco dancers to circus performers to Tam-Tam drummers hanging out and practicing along the ake or among the trees.Show up, bring food, and make some new friends.


Sept 29 – Oct 3    More than just a music fest with a diverse lineup of acts located at multiple venues, POPMONTRÉAL also features art and film exhibits throughout the festival, as well as PucesPOP, a two day DIY market where you can swap gear and music, and pick up some handmade crafts.    You can even bring the little ‘uns – KidsPOP is a free series of children’s events and workshops especially designed for the young and readily distracted.

© Liz Keith, Music Vice

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4 Responses to Montreal Festivals 2010 – an extensive guide to all the music coming to Montreal this summer

  1. Renee on June 3, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    How is this even close to a complete guide when you’re missing a crucial and huge music fest? Heavy MTL metal festival is taking place at the end of July at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

  2. Brian Banks on June 3, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Renee, thank you for so hastily pointing out that omission! Heavy MTL is now included in the article.

  3. Liz Keith on June 4, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    1) I can’t believe I missed Heavy MTL either. It’s even on my calendar. Mea culpa.

    2) I hope the fact that Slayer’s pic is now posted below the Lilith Fair header makes up for the previous omission. 🙂
    Cheers & thanks for the feedback!

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