Out on the Town, Student Life

The best of the fests: A guide to Montreal’s summer festivals

While Montreal isn’t famous for beaching, hiking, or other traditional aestival activities, visitors and locals alike enjoy its diverse offering of entertainment events every summer. Because many students leave Montreal during this season, it can be easy for them to overlook the unique experiences the city has to offer.

If you’re a music festival junkie…

Île Soniq, an Electronic Dance Music exhibit held at Parc Jean Drapeau Aug. 10 and 11, is a go-to for EDM fanatics and dabblers alike. Fans of Diplo and the Chainsmokers will want to purchase their passes soon so that they don’t miss out on their shows, or any of the countless other amazing slated acts. Île Soniq is also known for the activities on offer at the venue. This year, attendees will be able to enjoy lounge areas and giant games of jenga, along with body painting and jewelry making at the venue.

Closing out the summer is new kid on the block Mile Ex End Montreal, an indie music and comedy festival held during the first two weekends of September. Since the first edition held in summer 2017, the event has attracted visitors to the emerging Mile Ex neighborhood and provided a platform for local artists. With performers from Broken Social Scene to Pup, this festival is the perfect way to start off the new school year.

B-list artists who come to Montreal’s summer festivals end up becoming famous years later, making it the perfect opportunity to see an artist in a more intimate setting. For instance, in 2015, a largely unknown Post Malone performed at Montreal’s  MURAL Fest. Now, he’s touring the world’s stages from Germany to the United States.

If you want to become more cultured…

Montreal’s festivals aren’t just for music fans—they cater to the other arts as well. The 22nd annual Fantasia International Film Festival takes place at Montreal Fantasia until Aug. 5. This festival is renowned in North America and explores multiple genres of film. Additionally, the event stages a prestigious cinematic competition for nominees in categories such as animation, short film, and romance. Pick your favourites and cheer them on—they just might be leaving with one of the exceptional awards!

Theatre enthusiasts can check out Shakespeare in the Park, running until Aug. 8 in parks throughout the city. This year, the festival is modernizing the Bard’s dramatic canon by representing the titular characters of Romeo and Juliet, as a same-sex couple.

For photography lovers, the World Press Photo Exhibits will be held at Marché Bonsecours from Aug. 29 to Sept. 30. Every year, top photographers from all over the world showcase their work in this incredible display.

If you want to experience Montreal’s alternative festivals…

Some of the city’s festivals just aren’t able to fit into any of the typical categories—they are so unique that they form their own category of summertime entertainment. Foodies should check out the Food Truck Festival at the Olympic Stadium on Aug. 3, Sept. 7, and Oct. 5. Popular trucks include popsicle truck Pop Arts, tartare truck Route 27, and Le Cheese Truck, which serves cheese-based comfort foods.

For those who missed Canada Day’s spectacular fireworks shows, it’s easy to get a fill of pyrotechnics with the International Fireworks Festival, every Wednesday and Saturday until Aug. 8. The fireworks, launched over LaRonde, are part of a competition between companies from around the world, designed to showcase their country’s advancements in innovation and technology. People typically gather in Old Montreal or around the Jacques-Cartier bridge to view the show.

Montreal Pride is one of the most widely-attended summertime activities in the city—and with reason. From Aug. 9 to 19 head to the Gay Village to celebrate pride with countless parades and parties.

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