The amazing thing about Montreal’s ever-expanding festival schedule is that, just when you think it can’t get any fuller, a new one pops up.
Introducing Mile Ex/End Musique Montréal, bringing together an impressive musical lineup emphasizing local talent and enhanced with a touch of international flair. The first edition will take place Sept. 2 and 3. And so, Montreal acts, including Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Patrick Watson, Charlotte Cardin, Bust and the Bass, Basia Bulat and Megative (a collaboration between Tim Fletcher of The Stills and Gus Van Go of Me Mom & Morgentaler) will be sharing the stage with City and Colour, Cat Power and Suzanne Vega.
Produced by Mishmash, a collaboration between Piknic Electronik and La Tribu, the aptly titled event will be held beneath the underpass connecting Van Horne Ave. with Rosemont Blvd., between St. Laurent Blvd. and St. Denis St. The distinctly urban location has been the site of alternative St-Jean-Baptiste DJ dance parties over the past decade.
“It’s bordered by Mile End, Mile Ex, Little Italy, Petite-Patrie and the Plateau,” said Claude Larivée of La Tribu. “We imagined people coming on foot to the show — no métro, no cars, leaving from home and coming to see a concert in your neighbourhood. It’s a fabulous spot, with the interchange and the (nearby) train tracks. There’s something spectacular about it.”
The distinct setting was a draw for Watson, who will conceive a special visual component for his band’s performance based on the surroundings. The digs were also appealing to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, whose Hotel2Tango studio looks out on those same train tracks, a few blocks west, and who was into doing something in the neighbourhood. Godspeed was also attracted by the fact that the event has no sponsors.
“For them, it was important that it be completely independent,” Larivée said, “and they appreciated the opportunity to play for their audience in a family context.”
Food trucks, a bar area, picnic tables and activities for kids are on the menu. And the price is right: tickets cost $50 for one day, $90 for two, and admission is free for kids 12 and under.
The question of whether Montreal’s crowded cultural calendar has space for another music festival doesn’t worry Larivée.
“We see it as two days of concerts rather than a festival. We don’t want to be the biggest event on the planet. Au contraire, we wanted something intimate, with a limited capacity (10,000) imposed by the location. Many events are too big today.”
*** At a glance: Mile Ex/End Musique Montréal takes place Sept. 2 and 3 under the Van Horne overpass. For tickets and information, visit mileendmusiquemontreal.com