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Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

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Title: Festival International de Jazz de Montréal  
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Subject: Ornette Coleman, Tourism in Canada, Place des Arts, Chromeo, Keston and Westdal
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Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

Montreal International Jazz Festival
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal at night
Location(s) Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Years active 1980-present
Founded by Alain Simard
Date(s) June 29-July 9
Genre Jazz festival

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (English: Montreal International Jazz Festival) is an annual jazz festival held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Jazz Fest holds the 2004 Guinness World Record as the world's largest jazz festival.[1] Every year it features roughly 3,000 artists from 30-odd countries, more than 650 concerts (including 450 free outdoor performances), and welcomes close to 2.5 million visitors (34% of whom are tourists) as well as 400 accredited journalists.[1] The festival takes place at 10 free outdoor stages and 10 indoor concert halls.[1]

A major part of the city's downtown core is closed to traffic for ten days, as free outdoor shows are open to the public and held on many stages at the same time, from noon until midnight. Attendance at some shows is over 100,000 people, and occasionally exceeds 200,000. Shows are held in a wide variety of venues, from relatively small jazz clubs to the large concert halls of Place des Arts. Some of the outdoor shows are held on the cordoned-off streets, while others are in terraced parks.


The Montreal Jazz Festival was conceived by Alain Simard, who had spent much of the 1970s working with Productions Kosmos bringing artists such as Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker and others to Montreal to perform. In 1977, Simard teamed up with André Ménard and Denys McCann to form an agency named Spectra Scène (now known as L'Équipe Spectra), with the idea of creating a summer festival in Montreal that would bring a number of artists together at the same time.

They planned their first festival for the summer of 1979. Unable to secure sufficient funding, their plans were scuttled, but they still were able to produce two nights of shows at Théâtre-St-Denis, with Keith Jarrett and a then-unknown Pat Metheny.

The first Montreal jazz festival was in 1980, with funding from Alain de Grosbois of CBC Stereo and Radio-Québec. With Ray Charles, Vic Vogel, Chick Corea and Gary Burton on the bill, and an attendance of 12,000, the event was deemed a success, and has continued to grow since then.

In 2000, the Festival teamed up with Distribution Select to release its 4-CD box set called « Over 20 years of music - Plus de 20 ans de musique ». The box includes a 13-page booklet with the biographies of the artists and complete liner notes about the music.


Over the years the Festival de Jazz continued to grow and started inviting music artist of many different styles. From Rock n Roll with Chuck Berry & Ray Charles, R&B with Stevie Wonder & Smokey Robinson, country with Paul Simon, Salsa & Cumbia with Balmore Estrada,[2] Merengue with Papo Ross,[3] Pop with James Taylor, who was recently given in 2012 an award by the President-Founder Alain Simard and Cofouder André Ménard,[4] Funk with Aretha Franklin, and many other artists with many different styles of music.


  • Festival International de Jazz de Montréal - Over 20 years of music, Musicor, 2000
  • Montreal Jazz Festival 25th Anniversary Album Souvenir, 2004

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