10 Festivals for Your August Calendar
August 3, 2023
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Are you wondering what to do at the Quartier des Spectacles this August? We suggest taking risks, going out, dancing and celebrating Montreal’s cultural richness by attending a myriad of festivals dedicated to everything from cinema, to dance, to digital art!
Read this guide to find out more about some festivals you won’t want to miss!
Until August 9
Good news: there’s still time left to enjoy the exceptional programming of North America’s largest genre film festival. On August 6, there is something special for the little ones, with Toupie and Binou’s first foray onto the big screen! Later that evening, you can check out Peppermint Candy, one of the greatest South Korean films of all time. On August 7, (re)watch a classic Canadian hit, Les Chiens chauds, produced and directed by Claude Fournier and Marie-Josée Raymond, an iconic couple in Quebec cinema.
August 3 to 13
We’re counting down the days to this year’s edition of the largest francophone festival celebrating the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. This year’s festival will start off with a bang, with HEATED!, a lesbian, queer and trans evening hosted at Club Soda on the evening of August 4. On August 5, head to Les Jardins Gamelin to celebrate these communities’ lives, families and loves at the Trans Community Party and dance the night away to the hypnotic beats of DJ Lis Dalton, a key figure in the underground Montreal scene. Finally, close out the festival by joining the thousands of people marching at the Pride Parade on August 13.
August 4 to 20
A performance by the legendary Pag is always an unmissable event, and you especially won’t want to be left out when Michel Pagliaro takes over Esplanade Tranquille on August 11. The 30th edition of Montreal’s most Italian festival has a number of other surprises in store. On August 12, also at Esplanade Tranquille, you can enjoy the classical ballet show Célébration Classique All’Italiana, which will showcase the talents of professional dancers from Canada and around the world. On August 13, be amazed by Marco Calliari and the other stars at the fabulous Italfest-Mtl All Stars!
August 8 to 17
The 33rd edition of the IFPF will open with the striking imagery in Twice Colonized, an exceptional documentary film directed by Lin Alluna. The IFPF will also feature five films inspired by the works of influential New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera, a documentary by the activist and artist Ellen Gabriel and the show Femmes puissantes. At Place des Festivals, experience multidisciplinary artist Moe Clark on August 9 and the Nuestroamericana Friendship Show on August 12. You don’t want to miss it!
August 12 and 13
Founded in Montreal by graffiti writers Seaz and Flow, Under Pressure is not only the oldest urban culture festival still active today but also the only one committed to recreating the vibe of 1970s New York City block parties. The performers, dancers and street artists have prepared a true feast for the eyes for the festival’s 28th edition. We especially recommend BEAUX DÉGÂTS, a nocturnal competition during which you will be able to watch as six teams of artists work together to create stunning murals.
August 16 to 20
The Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal’s Classical Spree has been a highlight of Montreal summers for the past ten years. Its 10th edition will feature 26 indoor concerts and a hundred or so free activities. You especially don’t want to miss Lucia by Mirari and Anne Lagacé, an interactive work bringing together classical music, sculpture, animation and dance at the Parterre in the Quartier des Spectacles from August 18. Also on August 18, we recommend attending the performances by Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal at Esplanade Tranquille and the Oktoecho ensemble at Théâtre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts. Let yourself be swept up on a fascinating musical journey through traditions, universal harmony and modernity.
August 22 to 27
The “MU” in MUTEK refers consciously to the notion of “mutation.” MUTEK, the International festival of digital creativity and electronic music, always features emerging and evolving form of artistic digital creation. For its 24th edition, MUTEK is presenting six days and nights of celebration, which will open with the Four Pillars ceremony, developed by internationally renowned Montreal artist Moon Apple at Esplanade Tranquille. The Nocturne 5 series will take place on August 27, exclusively at the SAT and Satosphere dome. On the agenda, innovative and reinvented takes on electronic music, whether with avant-garde technologies or atypical instruments, all accompanied by riveting images.
August 24 to 27
Who says there’s no room for fashion and design at festivals? Certainly not the M.A.D Festival, a unique event in North America that presents a program dedicated to urban art, fashion, design and music! Do you feel like dancing? Go to the Place des Festivals on August 24, where Montreal DJ producer and musician Kilojules will be playing his funky beats. On August 26, go see Moulage, a performance that involves some cloth, a couture technique and a live mannequin!
August 29 to September 4
You also won’t want to miss the 2023 edition of Canada’s largest street dance festival, Festival JOAT, coproduct by Danse Danse. Over seven days, JOAT is bringing together more than 150 artists who are ready to take you into the world of street dance, through high level battles, breaking, hiphop, popping, beatmakers, workshops and master classes. Make sure to catch the JOAT Battles from August 29 to September 3, in the windows of building 2-22.
August 31 to September 3
What’s the best way to end a festive August? Lounging in a deckchair while enjoying the 3rd edition of Estival du nouveau cinema outdoors at Esplanade Tranquille. The four films on the program are specially selected to move you, trouble you, make you laugh and cry. Don’t miss Denis Villeneuve’s Un 32 août sur terre.