Another year, another 10 days of Montréal Jazz Festival (Festival International de Jazz de Montréal). Tonight was hot, humid, and slightly cooled down after a short stint of rain but the weather did not deter the bustle of people at the festival. Per usual, the grounds around Place des Arts were swamped with families, young people, dating couples, and curious visitors of all ages to watch buskers perform circus acts and the many free outdoor concerts held each day.
The festival is the largest jazz festival in the world, boasting 3,000 artists from 30 countries with more than 1,000 concerts, most of which are free. I was lucky to catch The Dynamites & Charles Walker at the Scène TD de la place des Festivals stage on the west side of Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal along rue Jeanne-Mance and Avenue du Président-Kennedy. Watching the numerous band members supporting the charismatic Walker was simply fantastic. What a voice Walker has — he reminds me very much of the classic soul-blues singers such as Bobby “Blue” Bland (R.I.P.) as he swaggered in his full suit, sweat beads accumulating on his forehead. The jacket soon came off, however, with the crowds roaring in approval in the hot summer heat.
One of the entrances to the Montréal Jazz Festival
The Canadian songstress, Feist, already played the free opening concert on June 28th, with the last of the festival concerts being held on the closing date of Sunday July 7th. Other acts in the festival this year include an eclectic assortment musicians such as Chick Corea, The Herbaliser, Chris Isaak, Aretha Franklin, Belle & Sebastian, and She & Him. I did not buy any festival tickets this year, only catching the free outdoor concerts, which make really fun and cheap outings if you are in the city.
If you are not able to catch this year’s jazz festival, no need to fret. The festival comes back every year at the end of June, and there are lots of other free summer festivals in this city that are worth catching. This month I will be looking forward to the Just For Laughs comedy festival happening this month in Montréal. Look out for the post coming later this month.
Buskers outside the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
The Dynamites & Charles Walker