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Montreal Jazz Festival

Montreal Jazz Festival The Montreal Jazz Festival was first held in 1979, and has since taken place every year in July. Over the years, the festival has become a well known and loved summer tradition. With a variety of shows, many of which are free, it is the perfect summer event for all music lovers.

The festival was first dreamed up in 1970 by Alain Simard. The first event took years of planning and was scheduled for 1979, but due to a lack of funding, lasted a mere two nights. In 1980, it was funded by CBS Stereo and Tele-Quebec and with Ray Charles, Gary Burton and Vic Vogel being featured, over 12,000 people attended. On its tenth anniversary, the festival attracted 1 million visitors. Since then, it has become more and more popular, reaching its peak attendance in 2007 of 2.1 million. In 2004, the Guinness Book of World Records stated that it was the world's largest jazz festival. With over 1,000 shows being performed in a short ten days, the jazz festival has become the most popular jazz concert in the world, attracting even the biggest musicians.

In addition to jazz, other genres are featured: blues, Brazilian, Cuban, Reggae and more. Many big names in music have been featured at the festival, like Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Norah Jones and Prince. Approximately 3,000 artists from over 30 different countries are welcomed every year.

Festival Information
The festival takes place in downtown Montreal. Several streets are closed off to vehicles, and parking is limited, so visitors are encouraged to use other means of transportation, like walking, taking public transit or biking, though bicycles are not allowed on site. For those wishing to use public transit, the green line Place-des-Arts metro station allows direct access to the festival location by the Ste. Catherine Street or De Bleury Street exits.

Food options are plentiful, as many kiosks are set up throughout the area for visitors. There are also several restaurants available for a more formal meal.

The Canadian Red Cross provides first aid services in three different locations: De Bleury Street, Clark Street, and Jeanne-Mance Street.

There are many other services conveniently available for visitors, such as a stroller loan service, wheelchair loan service, lost and found and bicycle parking. There are also several areas designated for infant care, with changing stations and breastfeeding accommodations.

The Montreal Jazz Festival is truly a remarkable event. With many free shows and many different music genres represented, this is one summer activity that everyone can enjoy.