Things to Do in Montreal : May Festivals and Events for 2019
There will be sun. We promise. Now that winter is retreating and the flowers are out and patio season is full on, time to explore. Gotta keep this short. There’s over 20 festivals and events in May. Stop reading and start going!
Butterflies Go Free
February 28-April 28, 2019
Botanical Garden, 4101 Sherbrooke E
Butterflies fill the Jardin Botanique’s main exhibition greenhouse. Walk in the tropical habitat and see how many creatures land mistake you for their favourite flower. Information HERE.
Mondays, March 4 – May 6 2019
Only one can be the best, but over the next few months let your ears decide which of these artists deserves to advance to the next round: Info HERE.
Montreal Digital Spring/Printemps Numérique
April 23 – June 21, 2019
Montreal celebrates all things that involve bits, bytes, and digital wonder, especially in the name of art. The Digital Spring is an umbrella event that covers many smaller ones. Conferences, exhibitions, and installations are at the fore. Details HERE.
The Gay Village Pedestrian Street Opens
April 26 – September 27, 2019
St. Catherine Street
The Gay Village closes to cars and opens to foot traffic this weekend. Terraces open, and free art exhibits, street sales, and street performers arrive. Info on the Village HERE.
Montreal Pasta Week
May 1 – May 7, 2019
Ever get the sense that Montrealers love food weeks so they have an excuse to eat quantities of foods they shouldn’t be eating, all in the name of festival. Me too. The Pasta Week event has all of its info HERE.
May 1 – 30, 2019
Asian culture in Montreal is diverse. The Accès Asie festival makes it easy to sample all arts from all of Asia: theatre, music, comedy, literature, visual arts, dance, and film. Many events are free and happen around Place des Arts. Click HERE to find out more.
Concordia Film Festival
May 2 – 5, 2019
H-110 Auditorium at Henry Hall Building (de Maisonneuve W)
Student film can be some of the most exciting and challenging film experiences to be had. See what the up and coming generation are producing at the annual film festival. This marks their 46th year! Details HERE.
Montreal Sketch Comedy Festival
May 2 – 11, 2019
Theatre St. Catherine (264 St Catherine E) and the Montreal Improv Theatre
Ten days of mad comedic performances by sketch comedy groups. Most come from Montreal and Toronto, a few from further afield. Many repeat performers are back and the overall vibe is one of a massive family gathering of the funniest people from Canada’s major cities. Most shows are $15 a pop, $20 for a day, and a full pass for $65. Check it out HERE.
La Virée des Ateliers
May 2 – 5, 2019
La Grover (2065 Parthenais) and Le Chat des Artistes (2205 rue Parthenais)
Over 90 local artists vend their wares. Check out one of a kind engravings, prints, sculptures, and more. To find out who is selling, check out HERE.
Blue Metropolis / Metropolis Bleu
May 2 – 5, 2019
Hotel 10 (10 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest)
Montreal is a city that reads, reads, and reads some more. Listen to authors, attend launches, take workshops, and just get your book brain on. Information HERE.
Festival Jamais Lu
May 2 – 11, 2019
Théâtre Aux Écuries (7285 Rue Chabot)
This festival looks at new, fresh works in French. Community projects and special events are included. Details HERE.
May 3 – 4, 2019
Place des Arts
Young people ages 13-18 get their own set of festivals with urban dance, graffiti artists, and DJs taking over the Esplaande at Place des Arts. Look for Raccoon, Eywaa, Waldo, M Queen, and more. Info HERE.
May 3 – 5, 2019
Montreal’s Urban Ecology group is taking up the message of Canadian’s urbanization spiritual leader, Jane Jacobs. Volunteers lead interested people on guided tours of the city. So far, Cote des Neiges, NDG, the Plateau, Le Sud Ouest, and Ville Marie are offering walks. Find out more about this unusual event HERE.
Montreal Medieval Fair / Salon de la Passion Médiévale et Historique
May 3 – 5, 2019
Centre Pierre Charbonneau (3000 Viau)
Get your chain mail kit, sword, and shield here. The Montreal Medieval fair is a chance to stock up on all the costumes and equipment you need. Dance, music, re-enactment are all part of this event. LARPers have both a tournament and a fashion show to attend. There’s also a masquerade party. This one is a not miss. One day tickets $14, three day tickets are $25. Click here for info and tickets.
Dans Ma Cour… ç’a du Chien!
May 3 – May 29, 2019
St Catherine entre Bleury and St. Urbain
This art installation by Mélanie Crespin puts kitschy scenes of silly, adorable dogs on the road, all inspired by backyards. For more info, click HERE.
GLOLmtll 2019 summit I Define Me Unapologetically
May 4, 2019
Hotel Bonaventure (900 Rue de la Gaucheterie)
This large festival is designed for promotion of health and wellness among Montreal girls, teens, and women. Education, shopping, and music are all part of the conference. info HERE
Festival Vue Sur La Relève
May 6 – 18, 2019
Through creativity and expression, this festival celebrates both Canadian and European French works. It focuses especially on young artists who are under 35 years old. Details HERE.
May 8 – 11, 2019
Eglise Saint Enfant Jésus
Check out these sound bending bands in a festival of noise and glory. Among those playing this year are Les Breastfeeders, Atsuko Chiba, and SUUNS, and many more. For more info, click HERE.
Cuisine Ta Ville
May 9 – 12, 2019
Quartier des Spectacles
No one is illegal and no one is alone. This relational art event is to celebrate refugees, both former and current, who make up the social fabric of the city. Art, food, and performances figure into the event. Information HERE.
May 10 – May 17, 2019
Usine C, 1345 Ave Lalonde
Part art, part digital party, the Chromatic Festival celebrates the art of Montreal. DJ sets, expositions, educational programming, and conferences are all part of the event. Information HERE.
24 Hours of Science
May 10 – 11, 2019
Somehow, I think this should go a little longer than 24 hours, but no matter. In unexpected venues, science comes to the public. If you’re hoping to encourage (push) your kids into STEM careers or just want to learn for yourself, over 300 different activities are taking place around Quebec. Information HERE.
Montreal Salsa Convention
May 16 – 20, 2019
Get your party shoes out and join the salsa festival. Watch both Canadian and international greats or learn to salsa for yourself. Check out the competition, watch nightly shows, or take workshops. Partners not required. For those interested, click HERE.
May 17 – 19, 2019
Rage like your punk heart has always wanted to. The Pouzza festival is all about the loud, the screechy, the noisy, the rebellious, the fun. The outdoor shows are free. Headliners include Against Me!, Andrew W.K., Strung Out, and The Planet Smashers. Tickets for all are HERE.
Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival
May 17 – 23, 2019
Theatre can get very radical. This festival presents seven different shows that are meant to challenge and expose. There is no government or corporate support (and the creators come from around the world. Check out works by Babushka Theatre, Ceetuh Company, and Rap Bottles for Social Justice. For more information, check it out HERE.
Santa Thérèse Festival
May 17 – 19, 2019
Ville de Sainte Thérèses
If you can get off island, you can check out a rather outstanding line up: MGMT, OrelSan, Koriass, BAMBII, and Yung Lean. For info, click HERE.
May 18 – 19, 2019
Parc Olympique, Esplanade
Snoop Dogg is coming. So are Cardi B and Future, ludacris, Tyga, and so many more as part of the first urban music festival in the city, Metro Metro. For info on tickets and more, click HERE.
May 19 – September 29, 2019
Plaine des Jeux
Everyone’s favorite outdoor dance party rages on every Sunday and a few other days here and there in conjunction with major summer events. Enjoy local and international DJs mixing beats on stage. Information HERE.
May 20 – 31, 2019
Get your mixology on at this festival. Pick up your drink passport and try out 200 original cocktail creations in 35 different bars and restaurants. Opening party is at Espace 8 (8 Rue Queen). Information HERE.
Montreal Underground Film Festival
May 24 – 26, 2019
They put the call out, now the question is what will show. Low budget, boundary challenging, and guerrilla filmmakers find a home here. Hang tight for more details on this unusual film festival in the city. Check HERE.
NDG Porchfest / Balconfête
May 18 – 19, 2019
The front porches of NDG homes and businesses provide the make-shift stages for the musicians of NDG. This neighbourhood is thick with talent. Get taken on tour or just wander around. Schedule of performers and where to find them can be found HERE.
May 22 – 24, 2019
Arsenal (2020 Rue William)
I think of this as the advertising festival + TED talks. It’s a huge event that supposedly brings together commerce and creativity. It’s a massive networking opportunity. This year’s theme is Tomorrow and speakers include David Cox, Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Guy Laliberté, Spike Lee, and David Saint Jacques. It will only cost you a mere $2,795 to go. For info, click HERE.
FTA (Festival TransAmériques)
May 22 – June 4, 2019
Dance, theatre, opera, and performing arts from around the world come to Montreal along with a few art exhibitions and musical pieces. Most pieces only show for a few days, but are usually high quality and thought-provoking. Tickets HERE.
Festival Le Mondial de La Bière
May 22 – 25, 2019
La Gare Windsor (895 Rue de la Gauchetière O)
Drink and be merry and get out your abacus. The festival’s numbers speak for themselves. Over 529 different beers, ciders, hydromels, and more products are available, with 250 new beers. Over 90 different breweries will be offering you those amazing products (38 of which are from Quebec). If you like beer (or just want to get sloppy in the middle of the day while drinking a beer), this one is for you. Click HERE for details. Tasting coupons are $1, admission is free.
May 24 – June 16, 2019
Parc Olympique, Espalande
Four weekends will bring some DJs to the Big Owe for our listening pleasure. 60 different artists are performing as part of the urban beach. Among those to check out — Tiesto, Jamie Jones, and Rezz I. Tickets and info HERE.
Festival des Arts Vivants (OFFTA)
May 24 – June 2, 2019
While the FTA (Festival Transameriques) takes place, the OFFTA showcases local works on the “fringes” of the festival. More information to come. Watch HERE for details.
May 24 – 26, 2019
Espace La Fontaine (3933 Parc La Fontaine)
Montreal’s talented graphic novelists and comic book writers are at the fore of the BD festival. Mostly francophone, but with a few anglophones, this celebration of the “ninth art” includes (of course) a book fair, but also workshops, theatrical performances, and a chance to meet some of your favorite writers.Information HERE.
Anarchist Book Fair
May 25 – 26, 2019; 10:00 – 17:00 p.m.
Georges Vanier Cultural Center (2450 rue Workman)
Celebrating something in the triad between proper anarchy, libertarianism, and social justice the anarchist book fair fills the Georges Vanier Cultural Center in St. Henri with vendors and activists. Workshops, panels, films, and artwork are also part of this event. It’s well attended and often a great place to learn about social justice issues both home and around the world. Free. Information HERE.
Montreal Museums Day
May 26, 2019
The museums of the city open their doors to let you see their collections and it is all free. Free free free. This also means that the museums are crowded. Crowded crowded crowded. Information HERE.
Festival Go Vélo Montreal
May 26 – June 2, 2019
Montrealers are dedicated bikers. Our bike paths are well maintained and ever more numerous. We are the proud home of the Bixi. Go Velo encourages people to get out on their bikes and ride like the wind. The highlight for many is the Tour de l’Ile, when the goal is to bike the whole island (or part of it) along a specified route with many others. It’s like a biking marathon. The Tour La Nuit does something similar, but at night. Information for events HERE.
Montreal International Musical Competition
May 26 – June 5, 2019
Salle Bourgie, Place des Arts
Classical musical competition this year has young violinists from around the world compete before an international jury that includes respected musical directors and professors. Winner takes home a fairly respectable $30,000 prize, but there are others to be won. The Montreal symphony orchestra accompanies the competitors during the final round and the winners during the gala concert. All info can be found HERE.
Montreal St. Ambroise Fringe Festival
May 27 – June 16, 2019
Don’t take our word for it. Find out for yourself why this is the most exciting theatre festival in the city. Local comedians, actors, dancers, magicians, clowns, improvisers, and performers join those from further afield (some of whom who do nothing but perform in Fringe Festivals around the world) to stage productions that clock in at around an hour or less. Many types of passes are available and the vibe is unbelievable in this happy mish-mash of crazy goodness and questionable weirdness. Art, music, and other events are generally part of this festival too. Information HERE.
Lobster Clam Jam
May 27, 2019, 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Esplanade du Centenaire du Canal Lachine (Rue Pitt and St. Patrick),
When you see food, do you eat it? Or is that sea-food? Either way, if you like lobster and clams, this outdoor culinary event raises money for Starlight Children’s Foundation. Come down, enjoy a mojito and food from 40 different restaurants. Tickets and information available HERE.
Announced and Upcoming
Tattoo Nouvelle Ere
June 7 – 9, 2019
Salon 1861, 550 Rue Richmond
Ink it up. What’ll it be? The new trend seems to be small, symbolic, black and white images, but there’s always something new. Figure out what you’ll beautify yourself with next. Details HERE.