The ten day Festival International De Jazz De Montreal held the last week of June and first week of July is one of the oldest and certainly finest of all International Jazz concerts. This year’s 39th Jazz festival featured over 150 indoor concerts and 100 free outdoor concerts including Jazz greats and promising next generation artists.
Yes, you read it right…FREE. The indoor concerts were ticketed but prices were reasonable allowing the jazz lover to attend a number of free and ticketed events.
Dr. Lonnie Liston Smith (with sax great Chris Potter), Seal, Herbie Hancock, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Chris Botti, Al Di Meola, Renee Lee Octet, Dominique Fils-Aime, Jethro Tull, Bela Fleck, Boz Scaggs, Terence Blanchard, Leslie Odom, were just some of the 150 jazz illuminaries jamming in venues that ranged from concert halls to intimate clubs.
The outdoor venue was a centralized location a few blocks from downtown Montreal which could be reached easily by walking, Metro, cab, bike or bus. Many of the outdoor concerts boasted large stages with seating either in the adjacent area or nearby cafés that had been erected for the event.
Food was available from established Montreal eateries, vendors, and specially built Bistros. Every palate could be satiated by the sights, smells and taste of food choices from around the globe… from Fettucini with pesto to bison burgers to homemade frites with fresh guacamole and salsa.
Wine/beer/liquor vendors were plentiful and served generous pours and refills. Additionally, the main Outdoor venue was staffed with friendly folk ready to answer any question a non French speaker might have.. where is the charging station for my dead cell phone …. I have a map but where did you say Club Jazz Casino was?
Most impressive was the accommodations for families with play areas including water spouts…many adults took advantage of that as well… game tents, animation zones, and areas of grass/seats that kept even the youngest concert goer happy.
The concerts were scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to the wee hours of the morning. Warm balmy weather with clear blue skies made the event picture perfect. On a scale of 1-10, the Montreal Jazz festival is easily a 100! Check out some of the sights and I guarantee you will be making plans to attend next year…I know I am!
Comments Welcome. A Special Thanks to the Always Friendly Helpful Canadians pictured here!