Eclectic lineup set for 40th Montreal Jazz Fest

This year's Montreal Jazz Festival will take place from June 27 to July 6.
This year's Montreal Jazz Festival will take place from June 27 to July 6. Photo Credit: Victor Diaz Lamich

The usual mix of jazz, blues, pop and world music singers, instrumentalists and ensembles will take the stage again this summer when the 40th edition of the Montreal Jazz Festival begins on June 27.

The festival, which concludes July 6, will offer 150 ticketed concerts at 15 indoor and outdoor venues as well as free outdoor shows. The slate of free concerts will be announced later this month.

Among the performers scheduled to appear in ticketed shows are jazz singers Norah Jones and Dianne Reeves, guitar great George Benson, blues stars Buddy Guy and Colin James, rockers Bryan Adams and Peter Frampton, Latin jazz stalwart Chucho Valdes, festival favorite Madeleine Peyroux and the eclectic orchestra Pink Martini.

Norah Jones will perform at the fest on June 27.
Norah Jones will perform at the fest on June 27.

As always, free family-oriented street-side shows, a children's play area with music-themed activities and rides as well as dining and snack-food vendors are certain crowd pleasers.

Returning this year are trained safety teams for women, seniors and the LGTBQ community.  Called Swallows after the Parisian Swallows bicycle police of the first half of the 20th century, about 30 officers will be on hand for the assignment.

According to a festival official, the festival continues to be a major asset to Quebec's economy. In 2017, the latest year for which figures are available, the event generated economic spinoffs of $36 million in added value for the Quebec economy and $8 million in tax revenue for the federal and provincial governments.

This year the festival is featuring a two-hotel lodging program that offers unlimited access for the duration of a three-night stay at three major music venues (Club Soda, MTELUS and L'Astral) for any of the ticketed concerts there. 

The plan, called the Jazz Passport package, starts at $492 per person, double occupancy, and provides for accommodations at the Hotel Zero 1, a 149-room boutique property located near the Complexe Desjardins and the Place des Arts festival headquarters, and the 269-room Hotel Montville, near Old Montreal; breakfasts; priority access to free concerts in the Nightcap Heineken series; a carry bag with the festival logo; an official festival T-shirt; a reusable bottle with the logo; a fedora hat with the logo; and a guided tour of the site.

Other packages are:

Walking tours of Verdun Borough. For the first time, the festival will expand to Rue Wellington  in the borough. The new site will host free events and performances. Two-hour, English- and French-speaking walking tours with a professional guide are on tap. Dates, fee and times are to be determined.

The Story of Jazz in Montreal. Two-hour, English- and French-speaking walking tour with a professional guide identifies the history of jazz in the city from the 1920s to the foundation of the Montreal Jazz Festival in 1980. The tour shows what has become of former jazz clubs such as Rockhead's Paradise, the Rising Sun and Chez Paree. The outing starts in front of the old Windsor Station and concludes in at the festival headquarters. June 29 (tour in French), July 1 and 6 (tours in English) from 4 to 6 p.m. Fee to be determined.

The Jazz cocktail workshop. Make your own cocktail with the mixology experts from the Lab cocktail bar. June 29 and 30  and July 6 from  3 pm to 4 pm. Price: $30, plus tax per person (18 years old and up).

Jazz and Vino. Wine and music pairings, with a sommelier at Le Bar Furco. July 1and 2,  from 3 pm to 4 pm. $30, plus tax per person (18 years old and up).

All programs will be available for booking on the festival website by May 21.

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