Spring Festivals in Montreal

Let the grey gloomy skies of April fade into the distance of yesterday’s news, and step outside at one of Montreal’s outdoor spring events. From bike tours and outdoor concerts to pedestrian streets and art installations, our great outdoors boast it all. Better still, they’re all low-cost and high energy, and promise to freshen up your ghostly winter complexion (weather pending of course). Wake yourself up this season, effective immediately!

Piknic Electronik (pictured)
Take a trip back to the raging electro music you enjoyed in your college years but in a slightly more refined, age-appropriate and safe setting. Piknic Electronik (PE) aspires “to democratize the world of electronic music and to highlight innumerable talents of the local and international electronic scenes.” Featuring old and new DJs from around the world, PE transforms Place de l’Hhomme on Montreal’s Saint Helen’s Island into a summer escape without leaving the city. Every Sunday from May 22 until the end of September, catch acts like Luke Abbott spinning progressive house, or Terry Lee Brown Jr. spinning German-influenced underground techno. A full season pass is $65. 514-904-1247.

Aires Libres
From May 22 until September 25, Montreal’s Saint Catherine East, known to locals as “The Village,” turns into a pedestrian zone for artists and visitors. The annual street festival stretches from Berri to Papineau, offering the tranquility of car-free living right in the heart of downtown. Artists from around the world will have works on display, while artisans will line the streets with kiosks selling arrays of original items. Take a rest on a patio of a trendy café and breathe in the best fumes — those of an artistic explosion. 514-529-1168.

Montreal Bike Festival
Montreal is known as Canada’s “bike capital” for good reason. The Montreal Bike Festival offers four events to get cyclers pedaling. Among the most popular events is the Tour de l’Île de Montréal, with no fewer than 30,000 annual participants. From the Plateau to the River and back, this ride is a not-to-miss, for beginners and enthusiasts alike. Other key events include Un Tour La Nuit, a long-winded night-ride, the nature wrapped Metropolitan Challenge, and the Bike to Work Challenge. ($20-70 per event). 514-521-8356.

Festival Saint Ambroise Fringe
The original “Festival Fringe” was named after journalists quipping about artists rejected by the first Edinburgh International Festival who decided to go ahead with their own shows. “Fringe” captured the eyes and hearts of culture enthusiasts everywhere, growing into an array of over 100 festivals around the world. Montreal’s 20th Fringe Festival will take place from May 30 – June 19 in the Plateau-Mile End neighborhood. As one of the area’s largest cultural festivals, the event brings together people and artists from every age and trade. Among the many events, be sure not to miss the Lavish Dance Company’s contemporary spin on the ancient practice of bellydancing, or watch theatre come to life in an installation by Brave New Productions. 514-849-FEST (3378).

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Image courtesy of La Belle Province.

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