Montreal is internationally known as a cultural mosaic; the city’s diverse forms of artistic expression draw from Quebec’s Francophone roots, urban centres such as Toronto, as well as various locations both in the United States and Europe. So it really isn’t a shocker that Montreal’s musical scene is brimming with talent­­ you may recall that Montreal has a legacy of producing some of Canada’s most popular and critically acclaimed music acts (from Leonard Cohen to Arcade Fire).

Why, then, when the words “Montreal” and “music festival” are linked in the same sentence, must we automatically assume Osheaga? Though the summer festival attracts a ton of top talent, it doesn’t really reflect the deep pool of gifted musicians that call the 514 home.

From November 18th to the 21st, M for Montreal will be showcasing some of Canada’s best musical talent (with a few notable contributors from both the US and Europe). Headlining the festival will be Grimes (formerly a student at McGill) as well as Newfoundland’s Hey Rosetta! and their special guests, Yukon Blonde.

Though these headlining acts will draw in many fans, M for Montreal’s primary purpose is to serve as a “platform for showcasing local musicians and helping them expand their international networks.” Quite literally dozens of incredible acts on the brink of international success will be gracing various Montreal venues over the festival’s four­day duration.

There’s something for everyone, too. If you like hip­hop and soul, Montreal’s­ own Busty and the Bass will be performing November 20th at Club Soda. Is indie or low-­fi rock more your thing? Filling that void will be the likes of Fuzz, Alex Calder, Moon King and Look Vibrant. For electronic fans, there’s 80s-ins­inspired, BC­based act Miami Nights 1984 and DANGER.

Without a doubt, M for Montreal will be an incredible sonic experience that celebrates the unparalleled depth and diversity of Canadian music, and will serve as yet another example of Montreal’s status as an international artistic hub.

For the schedule:

* Featured image of Grimes, courtesy M for Montreal

The music frenzy that is Osheaga starts today which means you’re almost out of time to choose which acts you’re going to see. We’ve been helping you out with our suggestions (check out Jesse Anger’s suggestions for Friday and Caile Donaldson’s must-sees for the weekend). We’ve got you covered for Sunday too, so here they are:

Matt Mays

Canadian-born Matt Mays is a true nomad, having traveled all over North America while writing his 2012 album Coyote. The places he’s called home (California, New York, Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica) have influenced his sound in a way that is instantly recognizable.

Hey Rosetta!

East-coast indie rockers Hey Rosetta! have experienced massive success since their 2008 breakout album Into Your Lungs. They’ve toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, even making their way to China and Australia and have been short-listed for the Polaris music prize. They’ve been praised by critics for their ability to blend indie rock with classical elements (the band includes a string section and French horn) in a way that is more innovative than others that attempt to do the same with less interesting results.

Gogol Bordello

There’s nothing quite like seeing Gogol Bordello live. They have some of the most die-hard fans of any band I’ve ever seen and I can proudly count myself among them. I started listening to them when I was about 15 years old and they’re one of the few bands from that period of my life that I’m still interested in. Expect drunken buffoonery, crazy dancing and singing along to every word.

Mozart’s Sister

Caila Thompson-Hannant’s solo project, Mozart’s Sister, is a good example of why Montreal music gets so much praise from the outside. Blending electro-synth-pop with powerful vocals, Mozart’s Sister keeps things fresh with the complex layering of many different elements in her music. She’s played SXSW, CMW and Pop Montreal and it’s cool that she gets to add Osheaga to the list.

Dead Obies

For so long, Quebec rap got such a bad rep, mostly for good reason. Dead Obies, along with other groups like Alaclair Ensemble and The Posterz, are turning it around. They released Montreal $ud in 2013 via Montreal label Bonsound and have been attracting lots of attention due to their explosive live performances and some controversy surrounding their franglais lyrics.


Montreal-born Tiga is legendary in the dance music scene and is largely credited with helping to bring techno music to Montreal in the 90s. He owned famed nightclub SONA, where he booked electronic acts and then started Turbo Recordings in 1998. The label was instrumental in launching his own career and, later, others as well, including fellow Osheaga 2014 performers Chromeo.

The 2014 edition of Osheaga Music and Arts Festival takes place August 1 to 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Photo by Chris Zacchia.