Home It?s summer festival season, baby!

It?s summer festival season, baby!

by admin June 11, 2010

It?s summer festival season, baby!

by admin June 11, 2010

The sun is out, and everywhere the delicate flutter of flyers can be heard, advertising yet another festival. As if it needed proving, summer is when Montreal justifies its reputation as the spiritual centre of arts in Canada, by offering yet again a full calendar of world-renowned festivals with international lineups. All this stellar art going on its almost enough to make someone turn jaded at even hearing this particular “f-word”.

Still, there are some definite advantages to catching festival fare over hitting a stand-alone event.

For one, you can guarantee that you’ll be getting an unrepeatable experience; in a couple of months that blockbuster movie will be available to rent but that circus troop from France probably won’t be back as soon. As tempting as it can be to try to only catch the best acts from each festival, by the time the press has picked their favourites you are usually left competing to get in against everyone else in the city who had the same idea.

Besides, going by star ratings means you lose out on the chance to be part of a crowd stumbling through the same experience of not knowing what to expect.

The best way to get the most out of festival season is to pick one, buy a pass and then dedicate some time to seeing as much as you can. Buying individual tickets can be cheaper, but it can also leave you agonizing over individual shows; with a pass you’ve got a better chance of coming across something eclectic and wonderful by accident.

Atmosphere is a crucial part of the festival experience; in addition to their regular programming, most festivals offer some kind of public space for people to gather and chat over drinks. This is the place to bond with other festival goers over what you’ve seen, loved, loathed or just can’t put into words.

If this seems like a good deal for the audience, the festival circuit also plays an important role for the individual artists and organizations who participate. Without it, few artists would have the financial backing to launch their work solo, outside of their own region.

Festivals provide the opportunity for creative exchange where small-time art producers can mingle and network casually. It also allows them to witness innovations their peers are coming up with in different parts of the world &- one very positive side-effect of globalization.

Even in a scene as vibrant as Montreal’s, without chances for growth it’s easy to fall into an insular mentality if the same core players keep picking each other’s brains all the time. By bringing together people who are working independently on interesting projects of their own, festivals are crucial for keeping the creative lifeblood of a city flowing.

Whether organized around a particular artistic discipline, genre or common ethnic background, one of the beautiful things about festivals is that they celebrate the collective experience of art as opposed to individual consumption. Even for an established festival like Just for Laughs, with a tradition of celebrity headliners, no performer’s picture has ever taken up more room on the marquee than their green devil mascot, Victor.

Yes, a festival may gain prestige by featuring starpower, but one big name does not make for a successful event if nobody else is on board.

At its root, the definition of the “f-word” is “a joyful celebration’ and ultimately that’s what these events are meant to be: fun. No matter which way your interests lean, there is bound to be something worth getting immersed in.

Here are a couple of events worth checking out:

Infringement Festival &- June 17&-27

This is one event where you will not be able to find souvenir shot glasses or fad merchandise. A multimedia festival showcasing music, performance pieces, film and visual art, the organizers are dedicated to finding an alternative to the corporatization of arts. Most of their networking happens online as potential artists are asked to explain how their work fits into the mandate of the festival and what they can provide to other performers. For the leftward-leaning, or fans of the Anarchist Book Fair, this is a must-see event, perfect for checking out under-the-radar acts and connecting to politically like-minded souls.

>>>infringementfestival.comwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwl

Land InSights/Terre En Vues: Montreal First Peoples Festival &- June 17&-23, Aug. 4 – 8

One of the largest gatherings of its kind, this multidisciplinary, multinational gathering showcases the work of artists from different First Nations across North and Central America. This festival focuses on the creative practices of contemporary artists as opposed to framing it as part of a fossilized past. This year’s highlights include the performance of a ritual drama by the Mayan dance performance Rabinal Achi Maya, which stems from the same story-cycle as the pre-Hispanic text the Popul Vuh. For the first time this year, an outdoor portion in the Quartier des Spectacles will be presented in August.

>>>>nativelynx.qc.cawlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwl

Festival International Montreal en Arts &- July 1&-11

What’s not to love about this festival? Over 11 days, organizers transform Ste-Catherine Street East into an open-air public exhibition space showcasing the work of hundreds of international artists. Events run until 10 p.m. every night and programming includes movie screenings and performance pieces. Perfect for anyone who gets cranky at anything that smacks of elitism, and who still believes you can appreciate art without being serious about it.

>>>>festivaldesarts.orgwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwl

Fantasia Film Festival – July 8-28

This film festival spans genres from sci-fi to fantasy to horror, and many films screen at Concordia’s downtown campus. A strong stomach is required to sit through a lot of the fantastic gore and effects that are the hallmarks of a good Fantasia film. Many international films make their Canadian and North American debuts here, and there is also a healthy serving of Canadian fare. If the heat outside gets to you, grab some popcorn and hide in the air-conditioned darkness in H-110, DB Clarke and JA de Seve for some eye-popping film fare.

>>>>fantasiafest.comwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwl

Just for Laughs Comedy Festival – July 2-25

A world-class comedy spectacle. This year’s program includes a street art segment as well as the usual celebrity billings. The names are huge, the style is out there, and the ticket prices are, well, a bit of an investment. Not the cheapest option on the block, but with their solid reputation, if you can afford to go then it’s worth checking out.

>>>>hahaha.comwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwl

Montreal Circus Arts Festival &- July 8&-25

With the slogan “Circus &- Earth &- People’, the organizers of this event aim to move forward the city’s established training programs and art forms. This may be the only time you can use the words “classy” and “spandex” to describe a show as you witness mind-blowing performances by people willing to take physical artistry to the extreme. Probably the only thing you won’t see here is dancing bears.

>>montrealcompletementcirque.comwlkerwlwlkerwl

See the back page for more festival listings.

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The sun is out, and everywhere the delicate flutter of flyers can be heard, advertising yet another festival. As if it needed proving, summer is when Montreal justifies its reputation as the spiritual centre of arts in Canada, by offering yet again a full calendar of world-renowned festivals with international lineups. All this stellar art going on its almost enough to make someone turn jaded at even hearing this particular “f-word”.

Still, there are some definite advantages to catching festival fare over hitting a stand-alone event.

For one, you can guarantee that you’ll be getting an unrepeatable experience; in a couple of months that blockbuster movie will be available to rent but that circus troop from France probably won’t be back as soon. As tempting as it can be to try to only catch the best acts from each festival, by the time the press has picked their favourites you are usually left competing to get in against everyone else in the city who had the same idea.

Besides, going by star ratings means you lose out on the chance to be part of a crowd stumbling through the same experience of not knowing what to expect.

The best way to get the most out of festival season is to pick one, buy a pass and then dedicate some time to seeing as much as you can. Buying individual tickets can be cheaper, but it can also leave you agonizing over individual shows; with a pass you’ve got a better chance of coming across something eclectic and wonderful by accident.

Atmosphere is a crucial part of the festival experience; in addition to their regular programming, most festivals offer some kind of public space for people to gather and chat over drinks. This is the place to bond with other festival goers over what you’ve seen, loved, loathed or just can’t put into words.

If this seems like a good deal for the audience, the festival circuit also plays an important role for the individual artists and organizations who participate. Without it, few artists would have the financial backing to launch their work solo, outside of their own region.

Festivals provide the opportunity for creative exchange where small-time art producers can mingle and network casually. It also allows them to witness innovations their peers are coming up with in different parts of the world &- one very positive side-effect of globalization.

Even in a scene as vibrant as Montreal’s, without chances for growth it’s easy to fall into an insular mentality if the same core players keep picking each other’s brains all the time. By bringing together people who are working independently on interesting projects of their own, festivals are crucial for keeping the creative lifeblood of a city flowing.

Whether organized around a particular artistic discipline, genre or common ethnic background, one of the beautiful things about festivals is that they celebrate the collective experience of art as opposed to individual consumption. Even for an established festival like Just for Laughs, with a tradition of celebrity headliners, no performer’s picture has ever taken up more room on the marquee than their green devil mascot, Victor.

Yes, a festival may gain prestige by featuring starpower, but one big name does not make for a successful event if nobody else is on board.

At its root, the definition of the “f-word” is “a joyful celebration’ and ultimately that’s what these events are meant to be: fun. No matter which way your interests lean, there is bound to be something worth getting immersed in.

Here are a couple of events worth checking out:

Infringement Festival &- June 17&-27

This is one event where you will not be able to find souvenir shot glasses or fad merchandise. A multimedia festival showcasing music, performance pieces, film and visual art, the organizers are dedicated to finding an alternative to the corporatization of arts. Most of their networking happens online as potential artists are asked to explain how their work fits into the mandate of the festival and what they can provide to other performers. For the leftward-leaning, or fans of the Anarchist Book Fair, this is a must-see event, perfect for checking out under-the-radar acts and connecting to politically like-minded souls.

>>>infringementfestival.comwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwl

Land InSights/Terre En Vues: Montreal First Peoples Festival &- June 17&-23, Aug. 4 – 8

One of the largest gatherings of its kind, this multidisciplinary, multinational gathering showcases the work of artists from different First Nations across North and Central America. This festival focuses on the creative practices of contemporary artists as opposed to framing it as part of a fossilized past. This year’s highlights include the performance of a ritual drama by the Mayan dance performance Rabinal Achi Maya, which stems from the same story-cycle as the pre-Hispanic text the Popul Vuh. For the first time this year, an outdoor portion in the Quartier des Spectacles will be presented in August.

>>>>nativelynx.qc.cawlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwl

Festival International Montreal en Arts &- July 1&-11

What’s not to love about this festival? Over 11 days, organizers transform Ste-Catherine Street East into an open-air public exhibition space showcasing the work of hundreds of international artists. Events run until 10 p.m. every night and programming includes movie screenings and performance pieces. Perfect for anyone who gets cranky at anything that smacks of elitism, and who still believes you can appreciate art without being serious about it.

>>>>festivaldesarts.orgwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwl

Fantasia Film Festival – July 8-28

This film festival spans genres from sci-fi to fantasy to horror, and many films screen at Concordia’s downtown campus. A strong stomach is required to sit through a lot of the fantastic gore and effects that are the hallmarks of a good Fantasia film. Many international films make their Canadian and North American debuts here, and there is also a healthy serving of Canadian fare. If the heat outside gets to you, grab some popcorn and hide in the air-conditioned darkness in H-110, DB Clarke and JA de Seve for some eye-popping film fare.

>>>>fantasiafest.comwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwl

Just for Laughs Comedy Festival – July 2-25

A world-class comedy spectacle. This year’s program includes a street art segment as well as the usual celebrity billings. The names are huge, the style is out there, and the ticket prices are, well, a bit of an investment. Not the cheapest option on the block, but with their solid reputation, if you can afford to go then it’s worth checking out.

>>>>hahaha.comwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwlwlkerwl

Montreal Circus Arts Festival &- July 8&-25

With the slogan “Circus &- Earth &- People’, the organizers of this event aim to move forward the city’s established training programs and art forms. This may be the only time you can use the words “classy” and “spandex” to describe a show as you witness mind-blowing performances by people willing to take physical artistry to the extreme. Probably the only thing you won’t see here is dancing bears.

>>montrealcompletementcirque.comwlkerwlwlkerwl

See the back page for more festival listings.

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