Montrealers love nothing more than re-emerging—it’s a rite of spring. But summer brings the city into full force with a cavalcade of festivals that get us out into the streets and into the wild.

Brittany Kennell takes centre stage at Lasso.

First up is les Francos de Montréal (June 14–22). The long-standing celebration of French-language music from Quebec and all over the world brings the Quartier des Spectacles alive with indoor and free-outdoor shows for nine days in June, quite literally setting the stage for the Jazz Fest (June 27 to July 6). All permutations of jazz, along with blues, soul, pop, R&B and hip hop—by obscure, up-and-coming, trending, and legendary acts—bring out the locals to mingle with tourists in the streets and concert halls from midday until the wee hours of the morning.

Lasso brings the country vibes.

And the Quartier des Spectacles stays in play with Festival Nuits d’Afrique (July 9–21), showcasing local artists and touring acts from the diaspora, with free shows in the Place des Festivals and ticketed shows in the area and up the street at the festival’s more intimate HQ, Club Balattou.

Burna Boy on fire at Osheaga.

Parc Jean-Drapeau is where things get wild. The season starts early on Île-Ste-Hélène, with Piknic Électronik’s weekly Sunday DJ parties (May 19–Oct. 6) but the big draw is the holy trinity of summer music festivals: Osheaga (Aug. 2–4), îLESONIQ (Aug. 10– 11), and Lasso Montréal (Aug. 16–17).

Osheaga fever.

While Lasso specializes in modern country and îLESONIQ celebrates EDM, techno, house, and other forms of dance music, Osheaga raises the biggest sonic tent with pop, rock, hip hop, R&B, and electronic music, attracting a diverse audience from across the demographics. 2024 headliners Noah Kahan, Green Day, and SZA exemplify that long reach, which pulls in crowds of 155,000.

(îLESONIQ 2024 promises acts like Tiësto, DJ Snake, and Idris Elba—yes, the actor, in DJ mode—while Lasso has scored headliners Eric Church and Sam Hunt.)

Lasso 2023.

Aside from their mutual promoter and location, what unites these three festivals is that magical blend of music, community, and the outdoors—this is where people want to see and be seen, but also to feel the music and the spirit of unity that comes with it.

Cinematic experiences, fan culture and cosplay draw crowds in large numbers and full colour at three very special Montreal events every summer, starting with Montreal Comiccon (July 5–7). When all your favourite characters from sci-fi, superhero, horror, fantasy, and manga franchises take over Palais des Congrès, you know Comiccon is on, gathering fans to buy precious merch and meet stars of the genres—this year’s celebs include Vincent D’Onofrio, Giancarlo Esposito, Robert Englund, creators and talent from the worlds of Star Wars and Wolverine and the actors from Trailer Park Boys wreaking havoc in character. But the non-stop display of cosplay—fans fully decked out in elaborate costumes—is worth the price of admission alone. Otakuthon (Aug. 2 to 4) takes over the same venue later in the summer, specializing in the splendour and strangeness of Japanese anime.

Quartier des Spectacles comes alive with the Jazz Fest.

And then there’s the Fantasia film festival (July 18–Aug. 4), offering the ultimate movie-theatre experience as film fans gather at Concordia University’s downtown cinemas to whoop and cheer and holler along to some of the most exciting new titles in genre cinema—everything from Japanese horror to Korean action thrillers to quirky American comedies to animated oddities to restored classics. With festivalgoers perpetually wrapped around the Hall building and congregating inside the library building across the street, greeting the festival’s special guests and scoring tickets for its occasional major film premieres, Fantasia becomes a vibe outside the cinemas as well.

The magic of Sofi Tukker x Osheaga.
Photography CINDY LOPEZ except the MAD images courtesy of the festival itself.

Majestic feasts for the eyes, cutting-edge theatre and fashion shows, and fearless fierté take excitement into the streets with Fringe, MURAL, MAD and Montreal Pride. International artists flock to the city every summer to repaint the Plateau for MURAL Montreal (June 6–16), particularly walls on and around St-Laurent Boulevard. The visual identity for the 12th edition of this festival of public art is being spearheaded by surrealist Chloé Biocca—her work and that of other artists will be going up alongside MURAL’s exciting music programming, with concerts and block parties on St-Laurent coinciding with the street fair that closes the boulevard to cars—and opens it up to congregating and celebrating summer in the city.

MAD’s City of lights in the Place des Festivals.

Also coming to St-Laurent and small venues nearby is Montreal Fringe (May 27–June 16), hosting exciting, independent, and diverse plays, with live music, a beer tent, and the annual live Drag Race establishing party central in Parc des Amériques.

Mad for fashion at MAD.

MAD (Aug. 22–25), aka Mode, Arts, Divertissement, brings beauty to the fore in the Place des Festivals with a program that offers a little something for everyone: fashion shows and other designer events, branded kiosks, DJs, bars, food trucks, and family activities.

Barbada at Fierté Montreal Pride.

And while Fierté Montreal Pride (Aug. 1–11) is a festival by and for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, the celebration is open to all, encouraging Montrealers of all stripes to join in on events that raise awareness of crucial human rights issues while permitting this city’s particular festive passion to spill out onto the streets (of the Village and all the exciting programming at Olympic Park Esplanade) as we line the parade and party together under the sun and the stars.

For more summer fabulosity, visit

By Jenn Campbell

Montreal-based luxury lifestyle social magazine. for lovers of: parties, solid fashion, fine eats, sexy escapes, the best in fitness and health trends, motivating quotage, good pop and other culture, celebrity fabulousness and the whole luxury lifestyle landscape in general.

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