The festival’s third installment will bring 43 bands to 15 different venues
It’s late January, the holidays are over and the snow on the ground has begun to turn into a thick sheet of ice, promising the eventual—albeit, grudgingly slow—end of winter. For Montreal’s local music scene, however, this particular time of the year brings an equally optimistic occurrence: the return of the annual Taverne Tour.
Entering its third edition, the festival takes place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3 and boasts a lineup consisting of local stalwarts such as Anémone, Solids, Mara Tremblay and Bloodshot Bill, and international acts like A Place to Bury Strangers, Spaceface and many, many more.
Taverne Tour is far from your average music festival. Structured akin to Austin’s famed South by Southwest—minus the excessive corporate branding known to bog it down—the four days of festivities see 43 bands playing 27 shows in 15 different venues. The venues mostly line Mont-Royal Boulevard in the heart of the Plateau, turning the busy street into a hotbed of rock and roll and sonic diversity for the weekend.
Not only does the festival support local artists in their quest to make a name for themselves internationally, it also shines a spotlight on lesser-known venues in Montreal—venues such as Le Ministère, located in an old bank building on St-Laurent Boulevard. With its interior recently renovated, the venue opened to the public in September 2017. After hosting events for Pop Montreal and M for Montreal, it rapidly rose to the upper ranks of the city’s nightlife. The large venue is hosting three events for the festival, and Xavier Auclair, the venue’s programming director, said he hopes to be part of the festival in the future.