This week the Montreal Jazz Festival, known by the locals as Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, ended with a legendary American band, the B-52s. What many may not know about the world’s largest music festival is the scene is not just for “jazz heads”. World music is on full display in Montreal during this annual event with musical acts across various genres and sub-genres. Artists such as The Roots, Sade, Hugh Masekela, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, Tony Bennett, Steel Pulse, Ben Harper, and the newly minted darling of the music world, Esperanza Spaulding all mesh together nicely at the Jazz Fest. Prince even made a suprise showing in the city…playing a 4-hour set ending at 3am to a club crowd of a mere 2500 (mere by Prince standards!). Also, there is always a suprise musical guest and in recent years stars such as Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin have graced stages in the city. Basically, anybody who’s anybody in music has attended and performed at the Montreal Jazz Fest.
The city of Montreal located in the Canadian province of Quebec leans more towards French culture than the culture of the English monarchy, noting the “boos” that met Prince William and Princess Kate upon landing at the Pierre Trudeau airport last weekend. There has been tension in past between the other Canadian provinces and Quebec, thereby causing the province to become isolated within a country that is the world’s 2nd largest…at least in land mass. But, that very isolation is what makes Montreal stand out as a great North American city, it is very quaint and more European than one may expect. This gives Montreal the uniqueness and a needed diversity to host a successful musical festival with the biggest acts in the world, year after year.
The people of Montreal are naturally social, proud of their culture, their politics, their coffee, and unlike most cities…they love their tourists and are extremely helpful. You won’t get lost in Montreal, but you may want to get lost because the restaurants, shops, neighborhoods like the Plateau and Old Montreal will keep your senses very happy. The Jazz Fest is in the center of Downtown Montreal and there is music on every corner, inside every bistro, and in the grand halls. The city has built stages throughout Downtown allowing free concerts that are just as amazing as those that are ticketed.
When you think of easy summer travel and amazing must-see concerts…think Festival International de Jazz de Montreal!
For more on travel, fashion, and music…LIKE me on Facebook and FOLLOW me on Twitter!!