Montreal is a city that thrives on its vibrant festival culture, offering a wide array of events throughout the year. Whether you're into music, comedy, film, or art, there's something for everyone in this dynamic city. Here are the 16 best festivals in Montreal that you should not miss in 2024.

1. Montreal International Jazz Festival

Dates: June 27 - July 6, 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: As the largest jazz festival in the world, this event features over 650 concerts, including 450 free outdoor performances. From jazz legends to up-and-coming artists, this festival is a haven for music lovers.

The Montreal International Jazz Festival is one of the world's largest and most prestigious jazz festivals. Held annually in late June/early July, it features over 650 concerts with 3,000+ artists from 30 countries performing across 20 stages. A major highlight is the free outdoor shows that turn downtown into a massive jazz club, with up to 200,000 people attending the biggest concerts. Indoor shows are held at venues like Place des Arts. The festival was founded in 1980 and achieved a Guinness World Record in 2004 for hosting over 2 million visitors. Beyond the music, it offers workshops, exhibitions, and immersive art experiences celebrating jazz culture.

2. Osheaga Music and Arts Festival

Dates: August 2 - 4, 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: This three-day festival showcases big names and emerging artists in indie pop, rock, hip hop, and electronic music. It's the perfect place to discover your new favorite band while enjoying the summer vibes.

Osheaga is Canada's largest music and arts festival, held annually at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Montreal's Île Sainte-Hélène. Over three days in late July/early August, around 100 bands perform across multiple outdoor stages to 135,000+ attendees. The festival showcases major international headliners like Coldplay and Eminem alongside emerging local talent. Beyond music, Osheaga features immersive art installations, a "play zone" with games and activities, and diverse food/drink options. Founded in 2006, it has grown into one of North America's premier summer music festivals while maintaining an intimate, distinctly Montreal vibe.

3. Just For Laughs Festival

Dates: July (Note: The 2024 edition has been cancelled)

‚ÄćHighlights: Although the 2024 edition has been cancelled, this festival is known as the largest comedy festival in the world, featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and musical comedy. Mark your calendar for 2025!

The Just For Laughs Festival was the world's largest comedy festival until its cancellation in 2024. For 40 years from 1983-2023, it took over Montreal every July with over 1,700 artists from 19 countries performing in 250+ shows across 25 venues. Major comics like Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, and Ali Wong headlined, alongside free outdoor events. The festival's galas at Place des Arts were a hot ticket. Just For Laughs also produced TV shows and toured internationally. After allegations against founder Gilbert Rozon in 2017, the festival was acquired by companies including Bell Media to keep it Canadian-owned.

4. MURAL Festival

Dates: June 6 - 16, 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: Celebrating urban art and graffiti, this festival features live mural painting, street art tours, and installations. It's a colorful explosion of creativity that transforms the city‚Äôs streets.

The MURAL Festival is an annual 11-day celebration of urban art held each June since 2013. It features live mural painting by international artists, transforming the walls of buildings into massive artworks. Over 100 permanent murals have been created, including tributes to Leonard Cohen. The free festival attracts over 500,000 visitors to Saint-Laurent Boulevard for art tours, installations, musical performances, artisan markets, and block parties. MURAL has expanded to Toronto and aims to make public art more accessible worldwide. Its impact includes increased commercial occupancy, property values, and tourism in the festival zone.

5. Montreal World Film Festival

Dates: August 22 - September 2, 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: Showcasing films from around the globe, this festival attracts top actors, directors, and producers. It's a cinephile's dream come true with a diverse range of films.

The Montreal World Film Festival, held annually in late August and early September, is one of the oldest international film festivals in North America. Founded in 1977, the festival aims to promote cultural diversity and foster understanding through cinema. It features a wide range of films from around the world, including feature films, documentaries, and short films. The festival also hosts competitions, retrospectives, and special screenings, providing a platform for both established and emerging filmmakers. In addition to film screenings, the festival offers workshops, panel discussions, and networking opportunities for industry professionals. The Montreal World Film Festival attracts cinephiles and filmmakers from around the globe, making it a significant event in the international film calendar. Its commitment to showcasing diverse voices and perspectives has cemented its reputation as a vital cultural institution in Montreal.

6. L'International des Feux Loto-Québec

Dates: June 29 - August 10, 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: An international fireworks competition that lights up the Montreal skyline twice a week. Each display is a unique and mesmerizing show set to music.

L'International des Feux Loto-Québec, also known as the Montreal Fireworks Festival, is an annual international fireworks competition held from late June to early August. Established in 1985, the festival takes place at La Ronde amusement park and features pyrotechnic displays from countries around the world. Each participating country presents a 30-minute fireworks show synchronized to music, competing for the prestigious Gold, Silver, and Bronze Jupiter awards. The festival attracts over 3 million spectators each year, with prime viewing spots available both inside La Ronde and at various locations around Montreal. The event's spectacular displays light up the night sky, creating a magical atmosphere that captivates audiences of all ages. L'International des Feux Loto-Québec is a highlight of Montreal's summer festival season, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for residents and visitors alike.

7. Francos de Montréal

Dates: June 14 - 22, 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: Celebrating French-language music, this festival offers over 200 shows, including nearly 150 free performances. It's a fantastic showcase of Francophone culture.

Francos de Montréal, held annually in mid-June, is a celebration of French-language music from around the world. Founded in 1989, the festival features over 250 performances, including nearly 150 free outdoor concerts. The event showcases a diverse range of musical genres, from pop and rock to hip-hop and electronic music, with artists hailing from various Francophone countries. Francos de Montréal takes place in the Quartier des Spectacles, with multiple stages set up throughout downtown Montreal. In addition to concerts, the festival offers workshops, panel discussions, and other cultural activities, promoting the richness and diversity of French-language music. Francos de Montréal attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, making it one of the largest Francophone music festivals in the world. Its vibrant atmosphere and eclectic lineup make it a must-attend event for music lovers and cultural enthusiasts.

8. Festival International Nuits d'Afrique

Dates: July 9 - 21, 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: Featuring traditional and modern musicians from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, this festival is a vibrant celebration of world music.

The Festival International Nuits d'Afrique, held annually in July, is a celebration of African, Caribbean, and Latin American music and culture. Founded in 1987, the festival features a diverse lineup of traditional and contemporary musicians, with performances taking place both indoors and on outdoor stages. In addition to concerts, the festival offers workshops, dance performances, art exhibitions, and an open-air market, creating a vibrant and immersive cultural experience. Nuits d'Afrique aims to promote cultural exchange and understanding, attracting artists and audiences from around the world. The festival's lively atmosphere and rich programming make it a highlight of Montreal's summer festival season, drawing thousands of visitors each year. Its commitment to showcasing diverse musical traditions and fostering a sense of community has made it a beloved event in Montreal's cultural calendar.

9. Montreal Burlesque Festival

Dates: October 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: A celebration of burlesque performances, featuring international and local artists. This festival is all about glamour, humor, and artistry.

The Montreal Burlesque Festival, held annually in October, is a celebration of the art of burlesque. Founded in 2009, the festival features performances by international and local burlesque artists, showcasing a mix of classic and contemporary styles. The event includes a variety of shows, from glamorous cabaret acts to edgy and avant-garde performances, highlighting the diversity and creativity of the burlesque scene. In addition to performances, the festival offers workshops, panel discussions, and social events, providing opportunities for both artists and fans to connect and learn. The Montreal Burlesque Festival attracts a wide audience, from burlesque enthusiasts to curious newcomers, creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. Its commitment to celebrating the art of burlesque and promoting body positivity and self-expression has made it a unique and cherished event in Montreal's cultural landscape.

10. Fête des Neiges

Dates: Mid-January to mid-February 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: A winter festival featuring sledding, ziplining, skiing, ice-skating, and curling. Embrace the winter chill with a host of fun activities.

Fête des Neiges, held annually from mid-January to mid-February, is a winter festival that celebrates the joys of the snowy season. Taking place at Parc Jean-Drapeau, the festival offers a wide range of activities for all ages, including sledding, ziplining, ice-skating, and curling. The event also features live entertainment, food vendors, and interactive installations, creating a festive and family-friendly atmosphere. Fête des Neiges aims to encourage outdoor winter activities and promote a healthy and active lifestyle. The festival's highlight is the presence of costumed characters and a polar bear mascot, which add to the fun and excitement for children. Fête des Neiges attracts thousands of visitors each year, making it a beloved winter tradition in Montreal. Its diverse programming and lively atmosphere make it a must-visit event for anyone looking to embrace the winter season.

11. Piknic √Člectronik

Dates: All summer (Sundays)

‚ÄćHighlights: Weekly electronic music events featuring top DJs and producers, held in a picnic-style setting. It's the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends.

Piknic √Člectronik is a weekly electronic music festival held every Sunday during the summer months at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Founded in 2003, the festival features performances by top DJs and producers from around the world, offering a mix of house, techno, and other electronic music genres. Piknic √Člectronik aims to create a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere, where music lovers can enjoy high-quality electronic music in a picturesque outdoor setting. The festival also includes food vendors, art installations, and various activities, making it a complete day out for attendees. Piknic √Člectronik attracts a diverse crowd, from dedicated electronic music fans to families and casual visitors, creating a unique and vibrant community. Its commitment to showcasing cutting-edge music and fostering a sense of togetherness has made it a staple of Montreal's summer festival scene.

12. Festival TransAmériques

Dates: May 22 - June 5, 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: Showcasing contemporary dance and theater performances from around the world, this festival is a must for performing arts enthusiasts.

The Festival TransAmériques (FTA), set to celebrate its 18th edition from May 22 to June 5, 2024, in Montreal, is a beacon of international dance and theatre. This prestigious event showcases a rich tapestry of performances that span the globe, offering audiences an unparalleled artistic journey. In 2024, the festival will present 20 diverse shows, each promising to immerse attendees in a unique sensory and artistic experience. Lebanese choreographer Ali Chahrour is slated to open the festival with a poignant piece centered on maternal love, setting the tone for a festival that deeply explores human emotions and societal themes. FTA is not just a platform for viewing performances; it actively encourages festival-goers to engage in eco-responsible practices, highlighting its commitment to sustainability. With its multilingual and hybrid offerings, FTA reflects Montreal's vibrant cultural mosaic, making it a must-attend event for enthusiasts of contemporary live arts

13. Igloofest

Dates: January - February 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: An outdoor electronic music festival held in the historic Old Port of Montreal. Dress warmly and dance the night away under the stars.

Igloofest, held annually from January to February, is a unique outdoor electronic music festival that takes place in the historic Old Port of Montreal. Founded in 2007, the festival features performances by top DJs and producers, offering a mix of house, techno, and other electronic music genres. Igloofest is known for its distinctive winter setting, with attendees braving the cold to dance and enjoy the music in a festive and energetic atmosphere. The festival's iconic ice and snow-themed decor, along with its vibrant light shows, create a visually stunning experience. In addition to music, Igloofest offers various activities, including ice sculpting, games, and food vendors, making it a complete winter experience. Igloofest attracts thousands of visitors each year, from dedicated electronic music fans to curious newcomers, making it a highlight of Montreal's winter festival season.

14. Montreal Pride (Fierté Montréal)

Dates: August 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: Celebrating LGBTQ+ pride with parades, concerts, and various cultural events. It's a joyful and inclusive festival that brings the community together.

Montreal Pride, also known as Fierté Montréal, is an annual celebration of LGBTQ+ pride held in mid-August. Founded in 2007, the festival features a wide range of events, including the Pride Parade, concerts, art exhibitions, and community activities. The Pride Parade is the festival's highlight, attracting over a million spectators and participants each year. The festival aims to promote LGBTQ+ rights, visibility, and acceptance, creating a safe and inclusive space for the community and its allies. In addition to the parade, Montreal Pride offers workshops, panel discussions, and social events, providing opportunities for education, advocacy, and connection. The festival's vibrant atmosphere and diverse programming make it a significant event in Montreal's cultural calendar, drawing visitors from around the world to celebrate love, diversity, and equality.

15. POP Montreal

Dates: September 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: An international music festival featuring a diverse lineup of artists, along with film screenings, art exhibitions, and symposiums. Discover new sounds and immerse yourself in Montreal's creative scene.

POP Montreal, held annually in September, is an international music and arts festival that showcases a diverse lineup of artists across various genres. Founded in 2002, the festival features over 400 performances, including music, film screenings, art exhibitions, and symposiums. POP Montreal aims to promote independent and emerging talent, providing a platform for artists to connect with new audiences. The festival takes place in various venues across the city, from intimate clubs to large concert halls, creating a dynamic and immersive experience. In addition to performances, POP Montreal offers workshops, panel discussions, and networking events, fostering a sense of community and collaboration among artists and attendees. The festival's eclectic programming and commitment to artistic innovation have made it a beloved event in Montreal's cultural landscape, attracting music lovers and creative minds from around the world.

16. Fantasia International Film Festival

Dates: July 18 - August 4, 2024

‚ÄćHighlights: The Fantasia International Film Festival is North America's premier genre film festival, held annually in Montreal.

The Fantasia International Film Festival, held annually in July and August, is North America's premier genre film festival. Founded in 1996, the festival showcases a wide range of films, including horror, fantasy, science fiction, and action, from both established and emerging filmmakers. Fantasia is known for its eclectic and daring programming, featuring world premieres, special screenings, and retrospectives. The festival also hosts panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and workshops, providing opportunities for filmmakers and fans to connect and engage. Fantasia attracts a diverse audience, from dedicated genre film enthusiasts to casual moviegoers, creating a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere. The festival's commitment to showcasing innovative and boundary-pushing cinema has made it a significant event in the international film calendar, drawing industry professionals and cinephiles from around the globe to Montrea

These festivals highlight the rich cultural tapestry of Montreal, offering something for everyone, whether you're a music lover, art enthusiast, or simply looking to enjoy the city's vibrant atmosphere.

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Posted 
May 19, 2024
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