The formative years of POP Montreal exemplified a renowned ’00s Montreal music scene driven by acts like Arcade Fire, The Dears, Stars, The Unicorns, and (2018 headliner) Wolf Parade. Now, following its 17th edition, it’s clear that the festival is more than willing to continue thriving on its foundation.
This year’s lineup wasn’t only diverse, it was bold—programming women of colour and queer, trans, and non-binary people in big spots. The shows were abundant, yet well-scheduled, and they were full, not just full of people but full of energy. Locals like the aforementioned legends Wolf Parade, bad gal Donzelle, and oh-my-god-look-out-for-this-guy Nate Husser repped their hometown alongside glitch god JPEGMAFIA, empowering raunch queen Cupcakke (A.Side co-presented her showcase FYI!!!!!!) and Toronto industrialists Odonis Odonis. Another situation, POP teamed up with Pierre Kwenders and company’s monthly party-til-sun-up series Moonshine to put the proverbial cherry on the cake.
Ultimately, this year’s POP Montreal was an unrelenting celebration of music, film, and art in Canada’s coolest city. From its incredible advent to its progressive inclusivity, POP has found itself leading the conversation as the country’s best festival. Check out the latest Side Stories above for a recap.