Written by Scott Simpson on 02.06.14

The FrancoFolies de Montréal has been a staple of the Montreal festival scene for 26 years now and showing absolutely no signs of fatigue. Widely considered the most comprehensive French music festival (even outdoing its France counterparts) with a diverse offering of French music from all over Canada and the world, they manage to book something for all tastes. Here are our top picks for this year’s edition.

Free Shows

Did you know that the FrancoFolies are offering over 150 free outdoor shows this year on 7 open-air stages? Impressive. And somehow they seem to outdo themselves every year. The Bell Stage, situated on the corner of Jeanne-Mance and De Maisonneuve, will be presenting a slew of huge (and free) 9:00pm outdoor concerts. This year’s line-up includes venerated Quebec punk group Vilain Pingouin on Friday, June 13th, our very own Karim Ouellet on Monday, June 16th, and local troubadour Pierre Lapointe on Wednesday, June 18thFrench rocker -M- is making a welcomed return 15 years after his first appearance at Les FrancoFolies, on Thursday, June 19th. Québec hip-hop crew Loco Locass are sure to bring the fun on Friday June 20th, and, say what you will, but Marie Mai is the closest thing to a real popstar Québec has produced since Céline Dion, and will be a huge draw on Saturday, June 21st. All shows are at 9:00pm.

Country & Folk

There’s something about French country and folk music that manages to escape the stereotypes associated with its American counterparts, making fans of unlikely contenders. Multi-talented musician Karkwa-member Louis-Jean Cormier has the honour of being the official opening act of this year’s edition with a free outdoor show on the Ford Stage on Thursday, June 12th at 6:00pm. La Rue Kétanou, the French trio who gained prominence by performing with Tryo (pun not intended), has been a French staple since their debut in 2000. They’ll be playing at Club Soda on Thursday, June 19th at 7:00pm. Promoting her sophomore album À Présent Le Passé, Laurence Hélie is definitely a local talent to be discovered, especially since her slot on the SiriuxXM Stage at 7:00pm on Friday, June 20th is free. Les Soeurs Boulay are offering a special performance with vocal ensemble Les Voix Ferrées at Metropolis on Friday, June 20th at 9:00pm. Not all French Canadian music comes from Québec, and New Brunswick trio Les Hay Babies are here to remind us of that. The supremely talented girls have been making waves since releasing their mini album Folio in 2012. You can catch them at Club Soda on Saturday, June 21st at 7:00pm.

Thursday, June 12th: Louis-Jean Cormier / Ford Stage / Free / 6:00pm
Thursday, June 19th: La Rue Kétanou / Club Soda / $34 / 7:00pm
Friday,  June 20th: Laurence Hélie / SiriusXM Stage / Free / 7:00pm
Les Soeurs Boulay / Metropolis / $39 / 9:00pm
Saturday, June 21st: Les Hay Babies / Club Soda / $25 / 7:00pm

Pop Frequencies

We’ve got a trio of shows that’ll make you groove and/or dance in very different ways. First, local duo Doody & Kami will be performing two free outdoor shows at the Hydro-Québec Stage on Monday, June 16th at 6:00 and 8:00pm. Joined by a group of 7 musicians for their Franco debut, Doody & Kami seamlessly blend influences from their diverse background for an irresistible mix of African and Caribbean rhythms, zouk, samba, and electronica. Tuesday, June 17th at 7:00pm sees French singer-songwriter Buridane perform a free show of light and breezy French pop at Rickard’s Pub. Finally, for what’s sure to be THE dance party of the festival, Katacombes welcomes quite the double bill with local electro-pop group Le Couleur who are joined by Parisian psychedelic pop group Moodoïd on Wednesday, June 18th at 11:00pm.

Monday, June 16th: Doody & Kami / Hydro-Québec Stage / Free / 6:00 & 8:00pm
Tuesday, June 17th: Buridane / Rickard’s Pub / Free / 7:00pm
Wednesday, June 18th: Le Couleur & Moodoïd / Katacombes / $23 / 11:00pm

Rock Out

Rounding up our FrancoFolies coverage are our top picks for this year’s rock bookings. Local band El Motor is offering a free showcase on the SiriuxXM Stage on Friday, June 13th at 10:00pm. In what’s hyped as a festival highlight, Malajube’s Julien Mineau’s solo project Fontarabie will be performing at the Théâtre Maisonneuve on Sunday, June 15th at 8:00pm. Ready for one last free show? Montreal duo Panache is worth catching on the SiriusXM Stage on Saturday, June 21st at 10:00pm.

Friday, June 13th: El Motor / SiriusXM Stage / Free / 10:00pm
Sunday, June 15th: Fontarabie / Théâtre Maisonneuve / $36 / 8:00pm
Saturday, June 21st: Panache / SiriusXM Stage / Free / 10:00pm

Now that you’re armed and ready, make your own FrancoFolies itinerary and take advantage of one of Montreal’s best festivals.

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