Montreal is festival city, and most of it happens in the summer. Perhaps the most famous of Montreal festivals is the Jazz Fest (305 Ste-Catherine St. O.; 855-299-3378; montrealjazzfest.com), the largest of its kind (according to the Guinness book). The event attracts nearly 2 million attendees to gigs large and small, ranging from experimental acts to those of legends like Tony Bennett and Pat Metheny. A newer notable music festival is Pop Montreal (5585 Avenue du Parc; 514-842-1919; popmontreal.com), founded in 2002. More than 400 artists come to town for the 5-day event, which includes discussions and exhibits in addition to shows. Past headliners have included David Byrne and St. Vincent. Then there’s the EDM-focused Île Soniq (Parc Jean Drapeau; ilesoniq.com), as well as Osheaga (Parc Jean Drapeau; osheaga.com), a high-profile three-day festival with acts like Florence + The Machine and Kendrick Lamar.
There are non-music festivals, too. Just for Laughs (2095 St. Laurent Blvd.; 888-244-3155; hahaha.com) is 19 days of A-list comedy. Past participants include Aziz Ansari, Nick Krall and Louis CK. One of Canada’s biggest literary gatherings, the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival (661 rue Rose-de-Lima; 514-932-1112; bluemetropolis.org), happens in the spring. The event has been bringing writers such as Gary Shteyngart and David Sedaris to Montreal from around the world more than ten years, and there’s programming for kids, too. Last but not least, the Mural Festival (3527a Saint-Laurent Blvd.; muralfestival.com), is all about public art, with exhibits, installations, seminars, a street fair and more.