The fact that I went to a festival this very weekend (headed out to Santa Terasa Festival on Saturday) has made me realize that festival season is right around the corner. Over the year 9to5 (dot cc) has tried to keep up with as many festivals as possible. Something that, in “Festival City” is kind of hard to do.
A beautiful Monday afternoon of a long weekend has only made me even more aware that there are so many summer activities right around the corner.
I’ve often wondered what it is about Montreal that causes the city to go festival crazy in the summer months. I think it has something to do with the fact that we endure the harshest winters in North America. We know that summer is a brief, fleeting thing and collectively vow to jam as much fun into the handful of months of good weather.
The easiest way to do that is to jam extra fun into each and every weekend with festivals.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at just a few of the festivals that are going down this year that we hope to be at in one way or another, either as fans or journalists.
Festival St-Ambroise Fringe Montreal – May 28 to June 17
Covering the Fringe has been a highlight for us almost every year. We’ve provided written and podcast reviews of shows, interviews with local and out-of-town performers and more. Check out our coverage of past festivals here.
This year we’re hoping to offer more of the same, with podcast reviews and interviews.
Stay tuned for the next episode of Go Plug Yourself (on May 31st) for a special Fringe episode with Amy Blackmore and Veronick Raymond.
Just for Laughs Festival – July 11 to July 29
One of the very first festivals we ever covered here at 9to5.cc (Jon and I bought ComicPro passes and went to everything we could), Just for Laughs became a special place for us when Walter and I set up our podcast gear at the Hyatt late one night and just started mingling with comedians and (politely) asking if they wanted to be on our podcast. Some said yes, some said no. But Mick Foley said yes (along with DeAnne Smith, Kenny Hotz, Paul F. Tompkins, Patrick Cassels, Steve Patterson and Dave Merheje). Check out all our past JFL coverage here.
Who knows what this year’s coverage will be like, but I’m sure Walter and I will get up to something or other that will entertain you.
Fantasia International Film Festival – July 12 to August 1
If you’ve ever listened to 9ES or checked out some of the movie reviews that we indulge in here at 9to5.cc you know that we’ve all got soft spots for genre films. Jon and I love almost all avenues of horror, Sophie loves kung-fu and Scott loves himself some cheesy action movies. We basically met because of Dawson’s Science Fiction and Fantasy club. So it’s no surprise that we absolutely jumped at the chance to cover the Fantasia International Film Festival when the opportunity arose.
Over the years I’m pretty confident that we’ve provided some level of review for nearly 100 movies that have screened at the festival. We’ve got a few things in mind for this year’s edition that we can’t wait to share with you all. Check out our previous years’ coverage here.
’77 Montreal – July 27
Montreal’s one-day punk rock extravaganza made its debut last year and even though punk and ska feature less frequently on my playlists than they used to, I still have a huge spot in my heart for the styles. Punk rock music is part of why I’m into music in the first place. It was listening to punk and ska in high school where I started to become interested in the artists making the songs I enjoyed so much. Reading magazines and tracking down interviews featuring my favorite bands was part of the fun.
’77 Montreal celebrates that history and also the future of the genre. Booking talents from both punk rock’s past and future assures a kick ass day of outdoor circle pits and mohawks. Check out all the fun we had last year here.
Heavy MONTREAL – July 28 to July 29
Though we’ve never actually covered the festival “officially” for the site (in part due to the fact that the festival took last year off to regroup and make sure this year’s was as heavy as possible), Sophie and I have attended a number of iterations of Heavy MONTREAL (or Heavy MTL as it used to be known). We even ran a comic strip series a few years back about our fictitious counterparts attending such a festival.
The best part (I mean, for me anyways) is that you can buy a “Weekend Warrior” pass and check out ’77 Montreal and Heavy MONTREAL back to back for one price. 100% Guaranteed to leave your ears ringing on Monday morning.
Osheaga Arts and Music Festival – August 3 to August 5
There are few events occurring over the course of a Montreal summer that could hope to equal that of spending the entire weekend at Osheaga. One my friend’s described it as being on an entirely different planet filled with amazing vibes and good music for 3 days and he’s not wrong. Osheaga weekend can almost feel like a full vacation (which it is to many of the people who make their way to our city just to check out the festival.).
Last year was, as always amazing, full of new musical discoveries on the smaller stages and killer performances on the main stages. Check out our coverage of the 2017 festival here.
Everything Else Going On
Man, Montreal Roller Derby will be hosting a WFTDA Tournament June 15-17, there will be fireworks, there will be jazz. If you are so inclined I’m sure you could book your entire schedule until September right now if you wanted to.
Enjoy the summer Montreal!
Montreal Fireworks Display Photo: Michael Vesia