Montreal en Lumière’s 2023 festival plans

People dancing near the DJ booth at Montreal en Lumière near Place des Arts. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/ THE CONCORDIAN

Are you going to go out and visit?

This year’s edition of the Montreal en Lumière festival is back bigger than ever. The festival is on from Feb. 16 until March 5.

The Concordian had the chance to sit down with Julie Martel, the director of the gastronomic programming of the festival. Martel has been organizing the festival’s food for the last five years.

“It’s an important edition of the festival, because it marks the full return of the program outside of the pandemic context,” Martel said. Due to previous restrictions that were in effect at last year’s festival, the organizers were limited in programming. Most had to get a little creative with how they put it together.

“This means we are welcoming back international chefs. We have 40 international guests — not only chefs but winemakers from all over the world.”

Martel emphasized that one of the highlights of the gastronomy part of the festival was Indigenous cooking, which was introduced for the first time in last year’s edition of the festival. 

“We have planned for a full day of for the Indigenous cooking on Feb. 25 at Quartier Gourmand. This year also marks the return of the Quartier Gourmand, which is a free space that people can visit in Place des Arts,” Martel said.

The free space is very important to the festival because it is a way to democratize local food. Another interesting aspect of the Quartier Gourmand is that on specific days, there will be different themes. For example, one of the themes that will be covered is sustainable food. Martel wants to make that information available to all the guests of the festival.

“At Quartier Gourmand, it’s always free tastings and visitors can meet with the local chefs and producers,” Martel said.

Quartier Gourmand at Montreal en Lumière near Place des Arts. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN

Martel is very proud of the fact that the Quartier Gourmand is free for visitors. She recognizes that even though the festival has 40 participating restaurants, it might not be affordable for everyone.

If the food part of the festival doesn’t pique your interest, Maurin Auxéméry, the director of the musical programming of the festival, promises some surprises for this year. 

“Music is back this year, and last year due to COVID we didn’t have any special shows,” Auxéméry explained.

He emphasized that in this year’s edition of the festival there will be two types of programming, the outdoor sites and the indoor shows.

The outdoor sites around Place des Festivals and Quartier des Spectacles will have DJs every night that play a different kind of music. The first nights will debut Latin music while towards the end of the festival there will be more French music.

The highlight of the musical programming is the indoor shows which includes all the live performances.

“I can’t remember the amount of indoor shows that we have right off of the top of my head but I do know that we have three nights at the Wilfrid-Pelletier concert hall with a symphony show,” Auxéméry said. 

There is absolutely no excuse for boredom for this upcoming March break. Montreal en Lumière packs a punch in terms of programming this year. For more information please click on this link.

Outdoor site at Montreal en Lumière near Place des Arts. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN

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