MONTREAL — It may be hot in the city, but the music is all cool.
The Montreal International Jazz Festival, the city’s biggest summer party, presents its 34th edition beginning Friday and running through Sunday, July 7. This year’s event offers 300 ticketed indoor performances as well as more than 300 free concerts on 10 outdoor stages centered at Place des Festivals downtown. And while music takes center stage, the fest offers a number of fun walking tours and special events.
The big free outdoor opening and closing “Grand Events” never disappoint, and this year is no different.
Opening the fest on Friday, June 28, is acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Feist, who’s known for her hits “1234,” “Mushaboom” and “How Come You Never Go There.” Closing the fest on Sunday, July 7, is Malian world-beat couple Amadou & Mariam. Both start at 9:30 p.m.
All of the free outdoor Jazz Fest shows are centered at Place des Festivals, an urban park along Jean Mance Street adjacent to Place des Arts, and run from noon to midnight. The biggest tip to mention here — don’t even think of driving, as the area is well-served by Metro station Place des Arts. In addition, the Jazz Fest also coincides for a number of nights with the Montreal Fireworks Festival. For example, Friday, when Feist takes the downtown stage, fireworks are held at La Ronde — which means the Jacques Cartier Bridge will be closed and the Champlain Bridge will likely be backed up. Get there at least by early evening.
There are many ticketed performances for this year’s edition with a “jazz” moniker that’s just the tip of the musical iceberg. Here is just a glimpse of what to expect.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis is performed at Maison Symphonique de Montreal Friday. Boz Scaggs performs at Place des Arts Sunday, June 30.