6 Summer Festivals, 11 not-to-be-missed Shows

June 1, 2018

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Don’t have time to sort through the programs of all the summer festivals? Open up your calendar: here are some suggestions for festival shows and events in the Quartier des Spectacles.Montreal is clad in festive green, and now it’s time to have some fun!

At the FTA, theatrical dance from Vancouver

Festival TransAmériques closes on a slightly eccentric note with one exciting shows: choreographer Crystal Pite presents a theatrical, expressionistic dance with Bettroffenheit at Salle Pierre-Mercure. Bettroffenheit, June 5 to 7 at 8 p.m., Centre Pierre-Péladeau.

The Francofolies: spotlight on new artists

One thing we really love about the Francofolies: the festival gives us so many great, memorable Montreal firsts! This summer, don’t miss the concert by France’s rising star, Eddy de Pretto. This will be the Montreal debut for the singer, who’s often compared to Stromae and Pierre Lapointe. Eddy de Pretto, MTelus, June 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Some of us will also have our first chance to see young rapper Rymz in concert. The local rap phenom has been adored in hip-hop circles for a few years, and now he’s going mainstream. Rymz double bill with Larry Kidz, June 14 at 7 p.m., Club Soda.

Living legends at the jazz fest

When we’re 78 we’d love to be as spry as the legendary pianist Herbie Hancock , who still has a knack for innovating and loves to work with younger artists who are reinventing jazz with some funk and R&B touches – in this case, singer and bass player Thundercat. Herbie Hancock, July 2, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts.

The next evening, fans of Ben Harper will converge on the same venue to enjoy the artist’s acoustic and electric blues featuring legendary harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite. The pair recently released an excellent album together, No Mercy in This Land, proving that Harper’s warm voice is the perfect foil for Musselwhite’s masterful riffs. Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, July 3, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts.

Montréal Complètement Cirque: amazing acrobatics

Interactive acrobatics? Yes please! French artists Matthieu Gary and Sidney Pin deliver just that with Chute! . The performance, presented in the Wilder Building, explores the circus artist’s relationship with the risk of falling. Gradually drawing the audience into their dizzying meditation, the young acrobats attempt a daring feat rarely seen in modern circus. Chute! July 11 to 14, 8 p.m. and July 15, 2 p.m., Wilder Building – Espace danse.

A few steps away at Théâtre Saint-Denis, the Australian troupe Company 2 invites you to savour a delicious musical stew. Trumpets, cellos and drums come together with Chinese poles and unicycles in Scotch & Soda , a wild show featuring stunning acrobatics performed in a cabaret setting. It’s a party you won’t want to miss. Scotch & Soda, July 10 to 14 at 8 p.m. and July 15 at 4 p.m., Théâtre Saint-Denis.

Juste Pour Rire: a wealth of theatrical comedy

Now an acclaimed producer of plays, the Juste Pour Rire festival (the francophone counterpart to Just For Laughs) festival has found its niche on the Montreal theatre scene with its funny, smart and accessible productions. This summer, Théâtre du Nouveau Monde provides the stage for the Quebec version of the hit play Edmond , by Alexis Michalik, which has been playing to full houses in Paris for the last two years. A comedy of manners about the misadventures of a Cyrano de Bergerac who’s lost all his inspiration, the play is a hit with everyone who sees it. Edmond, July 26 to 28 and August 4 and 11, 8 p.m., Théâtre du Nouveau Monde.

True to its best traditions, Just For Laughs presents a spirited musical at Théâtre Saint-Denis. Fame , the sister production to the eponymous movie and TV show, is presented in a French-language version helmed by energetic director Serge Postigo. It’s all there: the American Dream, the end of adolescence, the emotional roller-coaster of high school life – plus the show’s famous songs and dance routines. We can’t see Bruno, Leroy, Coco, Lisa, Hilary, Montgomery, Ralph and Doris soon enough. Fame, June 7 to 9 and July 13 to 16, 7:30 p.m., Théâtre Saint-Denis.

Nuits d’Afrique: Afrobeat reinvented

Never mind the forecast, July 12 is going to be HOT! Following in the footsteps of his legendary father, Fela Kuti, the inventor of Afrobeat, Nigeria’s Femi Kuti has kept driving the genre forward by using more brass and putting the saxophone front and centre. With his band The Positive Force, Kuti will open Nuits d’Afrique, gracing Montreal with his danceable music and its deep social awareness. Femi Kuti is less of a radical activist than his father, but he still carries a message of hope and peace. Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, July 12, 8:30 p.m., MTelus..

Also worth checking out: kora night with Prince Diabaté and Diely Mori Tounkara. On a completely different note, the soothing and delicate sounds of the West African harp-like instrument, the kora, promise an evening of musical bliss. Their fingers expertly plucking the strings, Prince Diabaté and Diely Mori Tounkara also make up-tempo, incredibly catchy music. A duo who master and reinvent griot tradition. Kora night with Prince Diabaté and Diely Mori Tounkara, July 20, 8 p.m., Gésù..