If you ask what music festival draws in the most people every year, many will unhesitatingly answer “the Jazz Fest”. Held in Montreal for the past 35 years, it is quite possibly the largest jazz festival worldwide and features over 1000 concerts, many of them free and open to the public, across its 25-odd venues in the city’s downtown core. If you love jazz, this is the time to visit Montreal and milk this amazing festival for all it’s worth! With music playing from noon to midnight from June 29 to July 9 and international stars coming to give free and paid performances, there’ll be something for everyone to enjoy.

For the full program, including artists, venues and ticket purchasing options, visit the Jazz Fest’s official website and start planning your schedule now! But if you want to just pop by and take a peek at the best of the Jazz Fest, here’s a list of five epic free performances you shouldn’t miss!

  1. Jamie Cullum

    With worldwide renown, Jamie Cullum, an English jazz-pop singer-songwriter and pianist, is gracing the Montreal jazz scene for a free performance that promises to be completely unforgettable.

     TD Stage, Place des Festivals
    When: July 4, 9:30 pm


  2. Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne

    American blues, boogie-woogie and jazz pianist, singer and songwriter, he’ll have you swinging and jiving to his rich, honky-tonk tunes.

    Where: Bell Stage, Le Parterre, corner of De Montigny and Clark
    When: June 30, 9 pm and 11 pm

  3. France D’Amour

    You can’t visit this province without getting acquainted with some local flavors, and France D’Amour, a Quebec native, shines with her jazzy beats and melodious voice.

    Where: Rio Tinto Stage, corner of Sainte-Catherine and Jeanne-Mance
    When: July 2, 8 pm and 10 pm

  4. Tokyo Chutei-Iki

    For something really differently, check out this unique Japanese band composed of  13 baritone saxophonists who make complex, varied music only with their voices and their saxophones.

    Where/When: Multiple times and locations, follow this link for the exact schedule.

  5. The Hot Sardines

    A funky New York jazz-swing group with lots of tricks up their sleeve, The Hot Sardines are going to be a fun, eclectic ensemble to watch at this year’s Jazz Fest.

    Where: Rio Tinto Stage, corner of Sainte-Catherine and Jeanne-Mance
    When: June 30, 8 pm and 10 pm


So don’t miss on one of this summer’s main events! Whether you’ve got your schedule all planned out or want to be a casual observer, come check out at least one of the Jazz Fest’s shows for a truly authentic and exhilarating Montreal experience.