This week Montreal plays host to the Folk Fest which, in my humble opinion, is the festival this summer that does the best job of combining music and sitting outside on the grass. The peanut butter and jelly of outdoor fests. FTB has already reviewed the fest as a whole last year, so in this post we will be highlighting five performances to look out for.

The main location for the fest is right on the canal, it’s a whole lot more than just music, it’s family friendly, they sell beer, the weather is supposed to be amazing and it’s free! I just planned your whole weekend for you, you’re welcome.

Street Meat

What better way to kick the folking weekend off right then to head down to the canal right at 5pm on Friday and check out Street Meat on the Main Stage. This local trio combines a gypsy-jazz style of music with a busker-punk rock attitude, which should lend a bit of clarity to their band name.

While the band’s roots might be in playing street corners and metro stations, it’s nice to see them get the recognition they deserve (and an actual stage)!

Street Meat play Folk Fest Main Stage, Centennial Esplanade (St. Patrick and Pitt), Friday, June 17th, 5:00 pm, free.

A Long, Strange Trip : Songs of the Grateful Dead

While the majority of the festival takes place outdoors on the canal there are a number of showcase events taking place in concert venues in the evenings. One such show is taking place on Friday where a whole host of artists will be paying tribute to the Grateful Dead.

So far the announced lineup includes Joe Grass, Andrew Barr, Brad Barr, Steve Hill, Katie Moore, Li’l Andy, Peter Mika, Colin Perry, Notre Dame de Grass as well as my favorite act “and many more” who seem to show up at every single big gala event I’ve ever heard of.

Tribute to The Grateful Dead plays Théâtre Paradoxe, 5959 Monk, Friday, June 17th, 9:00 pm (Doors at 8:30), $35, tickets available through Théâtre Paradoxe box office.

Sharon and Bram

With Folk Fest being very much an event for the whole family what better act to have on Saturday afternoon than music legends Sharon and Bram. Starting back in 1978 with folk based children’s songs this Juno award winning…. wait what am I doing, if you don’t know who they are then I’m sorry I can’t help you this column isn’t long enough to write their bio let alone explain the significance their songs hold to many Canadians.

Here’s the super short version: skinnamarink. Old or young everyone will be singing along in the sun and for those without children let me just say that this is a show for children “of all ages.”

Sharon and Bram play Folk Fest Main Stage, Centennial Esplanade (St. Patrick and Pitt), Saturday, June 18th, 3:00 pm, free.

Bloodshot Bill

One of the best aspects of the outdoor performances at Centennial Esplanade is that for most of the day you have three different stages to choose from. While the Main Stage might be the big draw, some of the performances on the Montreal and Emerging Artist Stage or Lhasa de Sela Youth Stage are not to be missed.

One such example is local rockabilly one-man-band Bloodshot Bill who will be headlining the Montreal stage on Saturday night. Bloodshot’s music lends itself to getting up and dancing, so the fest did the right thing and put him on as the sun will be starting to go down. What a great way to keep the party going into the evening.

Bloodshot Bill plays Folk Fest Montreal and Emerging Artist Stage, Centennial Esplanade (St. Patrick and Pitt), Saturday, June 18th, 7:30 pm, free.

Lizzy Hoyt

If you’re at the fest on Sunday afternoon I highly recommend you check out Lizzy Hoyt. Fans of traditional music will be very delighted by this singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist’s combination of folk and celtic music with rich lyrics usually centered on historical themes.

Lizzy plays the violin, guitar and harp has released four albums, won numerous awards and will be playing for free on what is supposed to be one of the most beautifully warm days of the year. Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Lizzy Hoyt plays Folk Fest Main Stage, Centennial Esplanade (St. Patrick and Pitt), Sunday, June 19th, 5:00 pm, free.

Check out the full schedule at

Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!