What to Do in Montreal in July : Events and Festivals

montreal comiccon 2015. Photo Rachel Levine montreal comiccon 2015. Photo Rachel Levine

Montreal International Jazz Fest


ERYKAH BADU. Jazz Fest 2015. Photo ©Denis ALIX

June 29 – July 9

This one is huge. The Montreal International Jazz festival puts together an outstanding collection of indoor programming along with an often solid line up of free outdoor programming. The festival packs Place des Arts, but the vibe is laid back as eager ears drift from stage to stage. Among the highlights this year are Kool and the Gang, Lauryn Hill, Noel Gallagher, Radio Radio, Sharon Jones and the Depp Kings, Taj Mahal, and closing event, West Trainz, seem like they’ll keep those who like their music on the adult rock side busy for two weeks. Information HERE.

Mtl en Arts


June 29 to July 3

Montreal is a pretty arty city in all areas. MTL in Arts (FIMA) is an open air art gallery that runs for a kilometer along St. Catherine Street. It’s a chance to meet the artists and perhaps even buy some of their work. Among this year’s featured components are visual works by tattoo artists (including the opportunity for temporary tattoos), silkscreen demonstration, interactive weaving demonstrations, and even a chance to have your car painted by the En Masse collective, Jason Botkin, or Rupert Bottenberg. Information about this festival is HERE.

Canada Day

July 1

Sir Wilfrid Laurier, love ’em or hate ’em, is having his 175th birthday and the old port is the site of the celebration. While there are many activities, some things to see of note are the swearing in of new Canadians, a 21-cannon salute, a concert including Karim Ouellet, and fireworks at 10 p.m. Information HERE.

Carifesta Parade

July 2

Montreal’s St. Catherine Street is the hub of the colourful costume and reggae and dance hall heavy parade of the Caribbean. It’s loud. It’s a party. Information HERE.

International Percussion Festival

July 2 – 10

This festival to celebrate things you strike, musically that is, has the cool motto “Je TAM.” Head to Verdun to see over 500 artists from around the world perform and teach workshops. There are three different stages to check out. A few highlights are Alan Rhéaume, Flani Foli, The Yordan Martinez Show, Rosanne Dion, and more. Information HERE.

L’International des Feux Loto-Québec/Fireworks Festival

Fireworks in Montreal. USA. Photo Lydia Saad

Fireworks in Montreal. USA. Photo Lydia Saad

Saturdays, 10 p.m., July 2-30

While Parc Jean-Drapeau is one of the go-to places to see the international fireworks festival, you can also hang out at the Old Port or make your way to the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Each week features a different country — Chile, Canada, Switzerland, US, Spain, and Sweden — setting off fireworks to music. Thing culminate in a finale with a Tribute to Elton John. Information HERE.

Montréal Complètement Cirque/International Festival of Circus Arts

Montreal Complètement Cirque. Photo Magali Crevier.

Montreal Complètement Cirque. Photo Magali Crevier.

July 7 – 17

Since we can’t all just run off to join the circus, we can at least go and watch one. With one of the only circus training schools in the country here in Montreal, we get outstanding performers. Some shows to catch are Bromance by the Barely Methodical Troupe, Throw2Catch’s Made in Kouglistan, and FlipFabriQue’s Transit. There are free shows on St. Denis where you can catch some daring performances on building rooftops, or perhaps try out some circus performance yourself. Details HERE.

Slut Island Festival

July 7-16

Queer, trans, gender fluid and others with underrepresented identities are the focus of this DIY music festival. Empowerment is the theme and good music is how this is disseminated. Some of the bands playing are Heathers, Guy Madonna, Cousins, and more. Keep an eye on their Facebook page HERE.

Festival Musical Independent Diapason

July 7-10, La Berge des Baigneurs, Sainte-Rose

Laval adds itself to the festival map with its 8th annual Diapason Independent Music festival. This year has a fantastic line up planned: Timber Timbre, Les Soeurs Boulay, We are Wolves, Milk and Bone, Mononc’ Serge, and more. For information, click HERE.

Montreal Comiccon

Comiccon Montreal. Photo Jean Frederic Vachon

Comiccon Montreal. Photo Jean Frederic Vachon

July 8 – 10

Cary Elwes. That says it all, Princess Bride Fans. But otherwise, you can also see Brent Spiner, Eliza Dushku, John Barrowman, Ric Flair, and even William Shatner. Get your costume out, your wallet out, and attend workshops, panels, and have a blast at the annual Comiccon. Details HERE.

Dragon Boat Challenge and Cultural Festival

Montreal Dragon Boat Races. Photo Magali Crevier.

Montreal Dragon Boat Races. Photo Magali Crevier.

July 9-10

2000 athletes from Quebec, the US, Ontario, and the Maritimes come in their boats to compete in the Olympic basin’s annual Dragon Boat Challenge. Competition is fierce as this is part of the “triple crown circuit,” a racing event of three events in the Montreal area. There are recreational and competitive teams. Details HERE.


Festival International de Lanaudière

July 9 to August 7

If you need to get out of Montreal, the Festival Internaton de Lanaudière provides the opportunity to listen to orchestral and classical music in Joliette. It’s only about 45 minutes away from the city (by car). Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmanioff are a few enticements. Find out more HERE. 

Echoes of a Proud Nation  Pow Wow

July 9 to July 10, Kahnawake

The Mohawk nation welcomes other nations (including Canada) to its territory for its annual pow wow. See magnificent hoop dances, join in the singing and dancing, and make friends. More information can be found HERE. 

Nuits d’Afrique

July 12-24

Like the cool cousin to Jazz Fest, Nuits d’Afrique follows on Jazzfest’s heels and brings out more world beat, jazz, afrofunk, and other soulful rhythms to Montreal. Free music is available on the stages, while indoor shows this year include Vaudou Game, Rachid Taha, Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca, and Carlos Nunez. Information HERE. 

Kickdrum Summer Marathon d’été

July 13-16

Kickdrum spotlights independent music in independent venues in Montreal. It hosts events throughout the city and has its first (?) annual festival along with CJLO at a few familiar venues: Casa del Popolo, Blanc de Blanc, Bar Le Ritz PDB, and La Vitrola. Among those playing are Jesse Speed, Helena Deland, Year of Glad, and NOBRO. For information, click HERE.

Fantasia Film Festival

July 14 to August 2

Fantasia is a chance for horror, fantasy, foreign, comic, and oddball films to air on a big screen before enthusiastic audiences. This international film festival attracts large, dedicated crowds. More information HERE.

Just for Laughs/Off-JFL/Zoofest

Jimmy Carr, The Nasty Show, Just For Laughs, Photo: Matthew Cope

Jimmy Carr, The Nasty Show, Just For Laughs, Photo: Matthew Cope

July 16-30

Comedians from all around the world descend on Montreal venues and clubs in one of the most beloved Montreal festivals. This year, see Sarah Silverman, Jimmy Carr, Janeane Garofalo, Howie Mandel, Carrie Fisher, or David Cross… and many others. There are always favorite staples like The Nasty Show, Brit(ish), The Ethnic Show, as well as knew club shows like Nasty Girls. Even a tour of the street festival is usually fun. Check out information about passes HERE.

Montreal DJ Festival

July 17-20, Rue Normanville (Parc Villeray)

They promise over 25 DJs, along with comedy, arts, events, and BBQ.  The DJs are where its at with hip hop, reggae, konpa, soca, dancehall, and top 40 all combined for your sonic moving pleasure. Sounds like fun, right? To find out more, keep your eye on their facebook page HERE.

Montreal Electric Groove (MEG)

Adam Husa. MEG 2015. Photo Sean Lapalme.

Adam Husa. MEG 2015. Photo Sean Lapalme.

July 21- July 31

Get your dance shoes and glowsticks on at the MEG festival. With a line up of bands that bring music electronically, this festival keeps it going all night long at small and large venues like the SAT, Sala Rossa, Divan Orange, and Le Belmont. International performers like La Fine Équipe, Salut C’est Cool, Superpoze, and Mimetic combine forces with locals such as Nomadic Massive, Syzzors, Syngja, and more. For more information click HERE.

Rogers Cup

July 23 to July 31, Uniprix Stadium

The annual tennis tournament alternates between men and women’s. This year, the women are in Montreal. While there’s no telling who will play in the event, usually a few of the big names appear. Information HERE. 

Haiti en Folie

July 25 to July 31

Montreal enjoys a special relationship with the French speaking island. Of course there are arts and dancing. This festival also invites performers (Gaya, Jahfaa, 4MULA, Lakou Mizik, and Synedad) to the open-air portion of the festival. A theatre piece, Pawoi Chouchoun, a “spicier” version of the Vagina Monologues is also part of the festival. For more information click HERE. 

Osheaga Music and Arts Festival

The Osheaga experience. Osheaga 2015. Photo Bélinda Bélice.

The Osheaga experience. Osheaga 2015. Photo Bélinda Bélice.

July 29 to July 31

The music festival that everyone loves to attend takes over Jean Drapeau. We publish an annual survival guide HERE. There is an art fest, food trucks, and best of all… music: Radiohead, The Cat Empire, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Death Cab for Cutie, Lana del Rey. Not bad, not bad at all. Information HERE.

Montreal Highland Games

July 31, Parc Arthur Therrien, Verdun

This summer tradition combines highland dancing, pipe music, with the coolest athletics you will ever see.  56 and 28 pound weight tosses and hammer tosses might sound familiar. The Sheaf Toss entails throwing sheaves of hay. And the highlight: the Caber toss — throwing an 18 foot log. More information HERE. 

About Rachel Levine

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