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The top 5 things to do in Montreal this summer

Don’t miss: patriotic fireworks, free jazzy beats and circus madness
June 11, 2015
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By Elena Raznovan

Finally, the queen of R&B makes her first Jazz Festival visit! Erykah Badu will play at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier on June 29, 2015. The queen of R&B makes her first Montreal Jazz Festival visit! Erykah Badu will perform on June 29, 2015.

It’s a simple equation: Montreal + summer = festivals. Here are our 2015 favourites.
 

1. TUNES TO SOOTHE THE SOUL

Montreal International Jazz Festival | Quartier des Spectacles | June 26 to July 5

A common misconception about Montreal’s International Jazz Festival is that a) it costs money to attend, and b) it only features jazz.

In fact, amid the annual pilgrimage of jazz enthusiasts, you’ll find anything from symphony orchestras to reggae MCs. And some of the best open-air concerts are free (in both senses of the word).

Find out more about the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Watch a video teaser.


Don't miss the 30th-anniversary showing of Back to the Future at the Cinéma urbain à la belle étoile. The movie that defined a generation? Don't miss the 30th-anniversary showing of Back to the Future — it's free!

2. CINEMA UNDER THE STARS

Cinéma urbain à la belle étoile | Place de la Paix | Tuesdays at 9 p.m. / June 9 to September 8

Curious about all the film fests taking place around town? (FIFA, RIDM, Film POP…) Well, here’s your outdoor, zero-cost sampler!

For the 10th year in a row, the Société des arts technologiques is hosting a series of starry screenings — 13 to be exact. The selection ranges from handpicked music bios (Nick Cave doc 20,000 Days on Earth and the Oscar-winning 20 Feet from Stardom) to a 30th-anniversary showing of Back to the Future.

Find out more about Cinéma urbain à la belle étoile. See the full Société des arts technologiques schedule.
Watch a video teaser.


L'International des Feux Loto-Québec is always a fantastic light show. | Photo by AV Design Photo by AV Design (Flickr Creative Commons)

3. THE WORLD’S BEST FIREWORKS?

L'International des Feux Loto-Québec | La Ronde | July 1 to August 1

If fireworks take you back, this is the festival for you. Although you can purchase tickets to watch the international show up close, us locals tend to enjoy them for free, from a wide variety of spots throughout the city.

Try the Jacques-Cartier Bridge: it’ll be blocked to cars so pedestrians can take in the colourful display. Or you could brave the Metro and hop off at Papineau, then take a short walk to the waterfront. Rooftop bar terasses will also offer optimal viewing.

But no matter where your search takes you, you’re bound to “ooooh” and “ahhhh.”

Find out more about L’international des Feux Loto-Québec and the time/date when your favourite country competes.


Fantasia is back! The festival will run from July 14 to August 4. | Image courtesy of Fantasia Fantasia is back! The festival will run from July 14 to August 4. | Image courtesy of Fantasia

4. YOUR CULT QUOTA

Fantasia International Film Festival | Multiple locations | July 14 to August 4

Quentin Tarantino’s favourite (“the most important and prestigious genre film festival on this continent”) is back for the nineteenth time and it really is better than ever.

This is not a fest for the faint of heart. There will be the horror, fantasy, action, anime and sci-fi; guts, gore, nudity and people in costume/funny masks.

The best part? It’s close to home: most of the screenings take place at Concordia’s J.A. DeSève Cinema, D.B. Clarke Theatre and Alumni Auditorium.

Find out more about the Fantasia International Film Festival.
Watch a video teaser.


The five guys of Machine de cirque will be at TOHU from July 8 to July 12. | Photo by Norbi Whitney, courtesy of Machine de cirque The five guys of Machine de cirque will be at TOHU from July 8 to 12. | Photo courtesy of Machine de cirque

5. TOTALLY RANDOM AND POTENTIALLY AWESOME

Montréal Complètement Cirque | Across town | July 2 to 12

The circus is coming! The circus is coming! But where is it coming? All around town, actually: from Verdun to the Quartier Latin, death-defying acrobats, clown pianists and highly skilled hula hoopers are taking over entire Montreal streets. 

This is one spectacle it’ll be hard to miss.

Find out more about Montréal Complètement Cirque and check out the free outdoor schedule.


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