Celebrating 21 years while marking the brisk turn of the season from summer to fall, Pop Montreal returned to the city’s Mile End neighbourhood in all its glory. The non-profit festival has organically built a name for itself as a champion of emerging talent on an international level. Building on the momentum of the re-emergence of live music, this year’s lineup featured exciting names, panels, and exhibitions for art and music lovers of all ages.
From British funk collective Cymande (pronounced “si-mahn-day”) who originally broke up in the 70s, delivering an explosive dance party at the festival’s cozy outdoor venue, L’Entrepôt77, all the way to newcomers the Linda Lindas who’s members range from age 12 to 17. Brandishing a concoction of cutesy alt-pop and punk rock, the LA-based quartet was attentively watched over by their guitar tech, Bobb Bruno of Best Coast, and their parents who watched on from the balcony of the beautiful Rialto Theatre. Over the course of the band’s hour-plus set they warmed hearts and minds with an endearing stage presence that included some very spot on French banter, a song sung in Spanish, and of course their breakout viral hit, “Racist, Sexist Boy.”
Another stand-out component of Pop Montreal is its Art Pop arm of programming. This year featured an engaging exhibition at Project Casa, showcasing emerging artists and creators in ‘At a distance – from within.’ The show took over two floors of the historic bourgeois mansion turned art gallery on Esplanade Avenue, which gallery owners Danielle Lysaught and Paul Hamelin have been using to showcase contemporary work displayed on, above, and beside the creaky floorboards of the unique space. The show featured work from Montreal-based sculptor Kuh Del Rosario who used repurposed coffee grounds, road salt and other common found materials to portray weathering and decay in her piece STUNT DOUBLE, and Toronto artist Holly Chang whose piece HOLDING I emphasized grief and loss of identity through making with nature.
With more than 100 artists to take in, it’s impossible to see everything, but here are some photo highlights of the best Pop Montreal offered this year. You don’t always know what you’re going to get at Pop, and that’s the best part about it. We can’t wait to do it again next year.
By Glenn Alderson
Our 2022 festival highlights featuring Zach Zoya, Dee Holt, Fernie, Sunglaciers, Priors, and a conversation with Sub Pop CEO Megan Jasper.