Things to Do in Montreal : May Festivals and Events 2023

Neighbours. Piknic Electronik Opening. 2023. Photo Rachel Levine Neighbours. Piknic Electronik Opening. 2023. Photo Rachel Levine

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!


March 13 – May 15, 2023
Various Locations

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. Check the website who is playing each week and also what local established artist will appear as a special guest. Info HERE

Concours Musical International de Montréal : Violin

April 22 – May 4, 2023
Various Locations

24 musicians (this year, violinists) from around the globe compete before a prestigious jury to compete for cash prizes and awards. They represent musicians at the start of their career, aged between 17 and 27. There is also a special event featuring some child prodigies aged 10 -15, who will be performing as well. Information HERE.

South Asian Film Festival of Montreal

April 28 – May 7, 2023
Various Locations

This festival showcases new artistic work that focus on South Asia and its diaspora. 58 films, including many premieres and award-winning features, will be showcased in theatres. Full length features, documentaries, and shorts are all part of the offerings. There is also an online portion available. Some films to watch for are Gandhi and Co and All that Breathes. Info HERE.

FIFEQ / Festival International du Film Ethnographique du Québec et Montréal

May 4 – 11, 2023
5589 du Parc Ave and various locations

Ethnography is immersion in an environment to understand variations of the human condition. Free of charge almost every night, check out the only ethnographic film festival in Canada. This year, in multiple venues in the city, catch films that want you to understand the human experience. It includes all genres of film: documentary, fiction, and experimental. Among the films being shown are Huahua’s Dazzling World and its Myriad Temptations and Inuktitut Languages in the 21st Century. Details can be found HERE.

Festival Accès Asie / Access Asia Festival

May 4-28, 2023
Various Locations

Want to go to Asia but can’t afford plane tickets (or a ship). Not to worry. Art, music, dance, and theatre comes here for this annual festival. Find out what goes into Dal at an Indian food tasting and meditation, enter the multi-sensory Bird Sanctuary, take a mask making workshop, or visit four sites in Chinatown with an artistic performance at each venue. That’s just a small sampler. For details, click HERE.

Festival Velocité

May 4 – 7, 2023
Various Locations

Bike fans, amateurs, and pros come together to celebrate all things bicycle. There is a conference, a race on Sunday, a film, and a market as well. Join the peloton. Info HERE.

Montréal Sketchfest

May 4 – 13, 2023
Theatre St. Catherine
264 St Catherine E

Montreal Improv Theatre

3706 & 3716 rue Notre-Dame Ouest

New troupes and old step to the stage of the Theatre St Cathrine in this bilingual sketch comedy festival. Most groups come from Montreal or Toronto, but also New York, Newfoundland, Hamilton, and DC. and look out for festival faves: Hot Raw Fire, BYOJ, Anders Yates, and Joy Provision. Check it out HERE.

Festival Vue Sur La Relève

May 4 – 16, 2023

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. The focus is on music and performing arts. Among those performing are Naïma Frank, Hawa B, Djim Radé, and Avril Jensen. Details HERE. 

Cuisine Ta Ville

May 5 – 14, 2023
Place des Festivals

10 days of free events to celebrate diversity in Quebec, an especially this year with a focus on looking at the struggles and hopes of those who have left their country of origin. 25 installations are set up along with dance courses, performances, and food are available. Info HERE.

Festival Jamais Lu

May 5 – 13, 2023
Théâtre Aux Écuries
7285 Rue Chabot

This festival looks at new, fresh works in French. Community projects and special events are included. Details HERE.

24 Hours of Science

May 5 – 6, 2023

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.

Promenades de Jane / Jane’s Walks

April 30 – May 7, 2023

Montreal’s Urban Ecology group is taking up the message of Canadian’s urbanization spiritual leader, Jane Jacobs. Citizen volunteers lead interested people on guided tours of the city. So far, over 40 are available in Montreal and registration starts April 30. Find out more about this beloved event HERE.

Montreal Medieval Fair / Salon de la Passion Médiévale et Historique

May 5 – 7, 2023
Place Bell Laval
1950 Claude-Gagné

Enjoy a weekend of Ren Faire fun. Music, dance, battles and over 75 exhibitors so you can get your chain mail kit, sword, and shield here. There’s even a fashion show to attend. Sexy vikings! One day tickets $22, three day tickets are $31. Packages for families. Click here for info and tickets.


May 11 – 24, 2023
Various Venues

Pastafarians take note! Everyone’s favorite carb gets a two week celebration at restaurants around the city. Some of those with offerings are Stellina, Jacopo, and Il Miglio. For info on who is offering special dishes and discounts, click HERE.

La Semaine Japon

May 8 – 14, 2023
Various Locations

A week of Japanese food, culture, and goodies are available at a wide variety of locations. Enjoy things like Hojicha chiffon cake, takikomigohan, or try and get your hands on some onigari. Yum. Info HERE.

Santa Thérèse Festival

May 12 – 14, 2023
Ville de Sainte Thérèse

Again, this suburban festival rather outstanding line up: Ariane Roy, Bon Enfant, Velours Velours, Milk and Bone, Hippie Hourrah, and many many more. In addition to ticketed shows, there are free activities including music on Blainville Street West all weekend and shows in the bars and clubs along the main strip. Now you have a reason to go to the burbs! For info, click HERE.

Montreal Salsa Convention

May 18 – 22, 2023
Double Tree Hilton
1255 Jeanne Mance

Get your party shoes out and join the salsa festival. Watch both Canadian and international greats or learn to salsa for yourself with world-class instructors. Invited guests include Carine and Rafael and others. Check out the competition, watch nightly shows, or take workshops. Partners not required. For those interested, click HERE.

Festival Le Mondial de La Bière

May 18 – 21, 2023
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 400 different beers, ciders, hydromels, and more products are available, with 250 new beers. Over 98 different breweries  will be offering you those amazing products (many 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, and most beers are $2-8 in tasting coupons to taste. Admission is free.

Montreal Underground Film Festival

May 19 – 20, 2023

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.

Pouzza Festival

May 19 – 21, 2023
Various Locations

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 The Bronx, The Flatliners, Paint it Black, and Screaming Females. Tickets for all are HERE.

Metro Metro

May 19 – 21, 2023
Parc Olympique, Esplanade

4545 Pierre-de Coubertin Ave

Lil Wayne, Jack Harlow, and Lil Baby headline at this festival of rap, hip hop, and R&B. For info on tickets and more, click HERE.

Balconfête / Porchfest NDG

May 20 – 21, 2023 (May 22 if it rains)

While the Plateau is probably most often thought of as home to Montreal’s artists, NDG holds its own. On the front porches and balconies of homes up and down streets from below Sherbrooke to above Monkland, catch the wide variety of acts. Funk, folk, jam, jazz, klezmer, you name it. Map and times of shows can be found HERE.

Neighbours. Piknic Electronik Opening. 2023. Photo Rachel Levine
Neighbours. Piknic Electronik Opening. 2023. Photo Rachel Levine

Piknic Electronik

May 21 – October 1, 2023
Plaine des Jeux

Everyone’s favourite 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. Season tickets are available and student tickets are a merciful $100. Information HERE.

Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival

May 22 – 25, 2023
Sala Rossa
4848 St Laurent

Theatre can get very radical. Theatre companies from Chile, France, Belgium, and Montreal share their works related to the theme of anarchist movements. For more information, keep an eye on the facebook page HERE.

FTA (Festival TransAmériques)

May 24 – June 8, 2023

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.

Jardins Gamelin

May 25 – Sept 17, 2023
Place Émilie-Gamelin

The park and its cultural and citizen-driven activities is one of the nicest spots to chill in the city. Things to do include karaoke, concerts, dance parties. This year check out bands like the Tupi Collective, Bel and Quinn, Velours Velours, and Voyage Funktastique Open every day with something happening most of the time, be certain to find out more HERE.

Eureka! Festival

May 26 – 28, 2023
Parc Jean Drapeau
1 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

It’s the biggest science festival in Quebec. It’s geared towards the little ones but adults will find lots to enjoy as they chaperone their charges. Over 100 free outdoor activities are on offer and it’s a chance to celebrate local science. Info HERE.


May 26 – June 4, 2023

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.

People dancing
Montreal Fringe Festival. Photo Rachel Levine

BD Festival

May 26 – 28, 2023
Rue St. Denis between les Rues Gilford et Roy

Montreal’s talented graphic novelists and comic book writers are at the fore of the BD festival. Mostly francophone, plus 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 favourite writers. Information HERE.

Café Collectif : Festival de Café de Spécialité

May 26 – 28, 2023
3487 St Laurent

While there may or may not be free coffee in the coffee shops featured, this is a chance to celebrate all the independent cafés and third wave coffee shops in Montreal and its surroundings. Head out to taste 30 specialty brews from places like Café Larue and fils, Melk, and Café Pista. $15. Info HERE.

Portugal Festival

May 26 – 28, 2023
Corner of Saint-Laurent Blvd. and Marie-Anne Street

Do you like Portuguese chicken? What about a parade? Fado music? Montreal’s Portuguese community hosts its annual festival. For details and information, click HERE.

Salon du Livre Anarchiste / Anarchist Book Fair

May 27 – 28 , 2023
2515 Rue Delisle

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

Fuego Fuego Festival

May 27 – 28, 2023
Olympic Park

4545 Pierre de Coubertin

Yes, it’s back. Two days of DJs who specialize in Latin music for a massive fiesta. Artists come from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela, and Mexico. Day pass $120, two days at $195. How long can you keep dancing for? Information HERE.

Mile End En Fête

May 27 – 28, 2023
Rue Laurier Ouest

Get ready for the block party of the weekend with workshops, film projections, kiosks, and performances along the city’s chic Mile End. For details, keep an eye out HERE.

Go Vélo / Go Bike Festival

May 28 – June 4, 2023
Various locations

The spring events of Go Bike invites riders to join large group events in different parts of Montreal and its environs. Tackle the metropolitan challenge off island, bike through the Plateau and Rosemont during the Tour de Nuit, take it longer with the Tour de l’Île, or even take on the bike to work challenge. Info HERE.

Montreal St. Ambroise Fringe Festival

May 29 – June 18, 2023

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. 

Announced and Upcoming

MURAL Festival

June 8 – 18, 2023
Rue St Laurent

The best of graffiti artists from around the globe as well as local talent come to Montreal to paint our buildings. This year, look out for Brazil’s OSGEMEOS, Lauren YS from the US, and JUNKO from Canada. It’s fun to take the walking tour, check out the free exhibitions, enjoy the street fair and the music. Info HERE.

Francos de Montréal

June 9 – 17, 2023
Place des Festivals
1499 Rue Jeanne-Mance

Yes, the best of French music, with a special focus on our local talent takes over Place des Festivals with plenty of free stuff to check out as well as indoor programming of all sorts. The line up pulls in large crowds eager to enjoy some of our best. This year’s big shows include Daniel Bélanger, Louise Attaque, Juliette Armanet, and Louane. And let’s face it, Robert Robert kind of won our hearts at Osheaga two years ago with his rain shaker and he’s playing too <3. The outdoor free shows soon to be announced. Info HERE.

Marché des Possibles/Entrepôt 77

June 23 – September 24, 2023
77 Bernard Est

This weekend market that combines vendors with food with drink with performances and events run by the POP Montreal gang. The vibe is local and the offerings always delightful. Info HERE.

Montreal International Jazz Festival

June 29 – July 8, 2023
Place des Arts

Every year, the downtown core thrums with music from Montreal’s jazz fest. Although jazz is more like one of the many dishes on offer — blues, experimental, international rhythms, beats, and classic rock are all there too. It’s a great party and one of the summer highlights. The 2023 lineup is already up and you can check out Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Vance Joy, George Benson, Buddy Guy, Melody Gardot, and many others. Get your tickets now. Information and tickets HERE.

Just for Laughs

July 14 – 29, 2023
Quartiers des Spectacles

Just for Laughs isn’t just videos of people being pwnd outside of Lionel Groulx metro. It’s also two weeks of comedy’s top acts taking over our city. In addition, major showcases such as the Nasty Show, Just for the Culture, and Brit(ish) are regular showcases. Also, there are podcasts filmed and other related events. Maybe even catch a midnight show or two if you stay up late. Ali Wong, Russell Peters, Tom Papa are already announced. Info HERE.


Aug 4 – Aug 6, 2023
Parc Jean Drapeau

MUSIC. 3 DAYS OF MUSIC! And art. Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar, and Rufus du Sol are headlining. Info HERE.

Île Soniq

Aug 11-13, 2023
Parc Jean Drapeau

If you didn’t get enough of your dance on at OSHEAGA or you’re happy to skip anything you can’t dance to, Île Soniq was made for you. Two straight days of the fabulous EDM and DJs. Headliners include Martin Garrix and The Chainsmokers, but DEMAU5, Afrojack, Claptone, and more are on the roster. Get those glowsticks out. The event beings August 11 in the city and shifts to Parc Jean Drapeau for August 12 and 13. Info HERE.

Monthly Festival Links













For Montreal Rampage’s daily events calendar, click HERE. If you have an event you would like to include, send an email to [email protected]

About Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine is the big cheese around here. Contact: Website | More Posts