Photos & Highlights: 11th Annual Montreal International Reggae Festival 8/15 – 8/17
Montreal fans brave the rain to enjoy Day 2 of the Festival!
Day 2 – Soca and Dancehall performances
The afternoon set of headliners was off to a great start when Pinchers entered the stage. Dressed in a stylish red suit and classic bad man style Fedora hat, Pinchers breezed thru his set which included fan favorite songs Enemies (Borderline), Champion Bubbler, and had the crowd singing along with his signature hit Bandolero.
Looking regal and elegant in a flowing gown of the Jamaican colors of yellow, green and black, Marcia Griffiths performed well known selections such as Dreamland, Feel Like Jumping and her trademark song and dance Electric Boogie (The Electric Slide). During her performance, a representative from the Consulate of Jamaica in Montreal in conjunction with Eric Blagrove, President of the MIRF presented Marcia Griffiths with a Life Time Achievement Award for her outstanding music career spanning five decades. She proceeded to close out her set with her popular song No, No, No, then brought a living breath to the timeless Bob Marley classic, Redemption Song.
I-Octane backed by the Ruff Kutt band had the crowd in a frenzy as he performed crowd favorite songs including, Gyal a Gimme Bun and Missing You Like Crazy. He also performed a substantial amount of his set off stage at the sound tent thrilling the audience in the general admission section with hits such as Love Di Vibe and was joined by Exco Levi for More than A Friend. I-Octane continued to perform a powerful set as dusk transitioned into evening.
Sanchez was up next bringing his own band along. Sanchez sang his classics such as Lonely Won’t Leave me Alone, sampling a section of Pass the Kutchie and Live it Up with the audience members enthusiastically singing along.
This year I have included tips on traveling to Montreal. See our tips below in the Destination Montreal section.
Press Play to view the full Slide Show of Photos from The Montreal Reggae Festival
How to get there:
By Car – Montreal is approximately 1 1/2 hours from Burlington, VT, 5 1/2 hours from Boston, and 6 hours from NYC.
From points North , head towards Burlington, VT. I drive Route 89 from Bow, NH alll the way to the Canadian Border in Highgate Springs, VT. Exit 21 in Swanton has a few gas stations and convenience stores. It is advisable to fill your tank there before crossing the border.
By Bus: Greyhound has service to Montreal. Check online for other services to Montreal.
By Air: International flights arrive at the Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeu International Airport which is 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the location of the Montreal Reggae Festival in the Old Port of Montreal.
the Border: If you are a US Citizen, you must have your US passport with you. If you are a US Permanent Resident bring your green card and appropriate valid passport. Check Canada.usembassy.gov/traveling_to_canada.html for specific info on traveling to Canada.
Where to stay: Montreal has countless places to stay in and outside of the city. Familiar hotel chains are common throughout Montreal. Staying just outside the city is less expensive than staying in downtown Montreal, although the ambiance of staying in downtown Montreal has a lot to offer. This year the “Those Travel Bugz” travel team offered packages combining hotel accommodations and festival tickets. Check the MIRF website for more information. montrealinternationalreggaefestival.com/travel-accommodation
What to Bring / Wear: Check the weather forecast and be prepared for anything! Typically the weather is quite warm in mid August, however it can be cooler in the evening. When rain is in the forecast make sure to have a rain poncho and umbrella on hand. Bring lots of sunscreen, shades, a hat, smart phone (my US AT&T service worked great – just remember to turn your mobile data off before you cross the border to a avoid international data charges), and Canadian cash for the food and merchandise vendors. Outside of the festival grounds, there are banks and businesses in town that take debit / credit cards. You will not be able to bring any food or drinks into the festival. There are many food and beverage vendors within the festival grounds and you will be able to come and go from the festival . Each time you enter the festival you will have to go through the security checkpoint.
Currency and Credit Card Transaction Fees: Before you leave home it is best to convert some money into Canadian currency. While many places will accept American dollars, the exchange rate is not always favorable and they will charge you extra to convert the currency. If you need more money once you are in Canada, you can use your bank ATM card at most of the Candian banks. Normal bank fees apply and they will automatically calculate the exchange rate and disburse funds in Canadian dollars.
In addition to the local banks, there are many stores in downtown Montreal that specialize in currency exchange for a small fee.
Before you leave, check with your credit card company to inquire if there is an additional surcharge to use your credit card in Canada and let them know you will be traveling. Most companies have an extra 3 – 5% charge per transaction. I discovered that my American Express card did not have a surcharge, however I also found out that many places only accept Master Card or Visa.
Language: The official language of Montreal, Quebec is French, however in Montreal the majority of people that I have encountered speak English as well and it has never been an issue for me in the 30 + years that I have been traveling to Montreal.
Area Activities: There is so much to see and do in Montreal and the surrounding areas. If you can stay for a few more days it will be well worth your visit. http://www.tourisme-montreal.org
Most of all enjoy your Montreal experience and come back again soon!