The Festival

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 by Alain Simard in association with André Ménard, Denyse McCann and Alain de Grosbois to bring the world's best musicians to the public.

Recognized by Guinness World Records as the largest jazz festival on the planet, the Festival has been synonymous with musical passion and memorable moments for over 40 years. It's where living legends rub shoulders with the finest up-and-coming artists, and jazz explodes at the crossroads of genres and influences.

Located in the heart of downtown Montreal, closed to traffic and opened until midnight, the Festival site becomes the meeting place for jazz lovers worldwide for ten days. Together, they enjoy close to 150 indoor concerts and the famous outdoor component, consisting of more than 350 free, open-air shows, presented on the Place des Festivals, which has been specially redesigned and set up for the event.

With its larger-than-life communion, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal reflects Montreal's nightlife through its movement, its intensity and, of course, its community.

Guinness World Record. 2004. Largest Jazz Festival.

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal's history


The first edition of the Festival gathers approximately one hundred artists, including Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Vic Vogel and Ray Charles on Île-Sainte-Hélène, attracting some 12,000 festival goers.


The Festival becomes a non-profit corporation and moves to St. Denis Street.


With over a thousand musicians on the program, the Festival launches its first large-scale free event, which was to become the midway event of every festival thereafter.


The Festival definitively establishes its official site around Place des Arts.


At its 10th anniversary, the Festival reaches a million visitors.


The Festival site continues to expand, integrating for the first time the De Maisonneuve boulevard axis.


The Festival's gallery is born, with works by Miles Davis, Tony Bennett and Yves Archambault.


The Festival launches a new series of music presented all year long: Jazz All-Year Round.


With 2 million visits, the Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary by entering the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest jazz festival.


The Place des Festivals, new epicentre of the event, is inaugurated.

The FIJM celebrates its 30th anniversary, and officially inaugurates the Maison du Festival de jazz, a non-profit organization located at 305-307 Sainte-Catherine Street West, in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles.

The FIJM fulfills its dream of having a year-round venue and permanent infrastructure that allows it to better promote jazz and its related music.


Guide Leah Blythe organizes two-hour walking tours on the history of jazz in Montreal. Tours begin at Windsor Station and incorporate sound effects along the way.


Montreal has the chance to commemorate Billie Holiday's centenary with the Canadian artist Molly Johnson and her show Because of Billie.


40th anniversary of the Festival and a successful special edition in the Verdun district.


Special edition in a 100% digital (virtual) format due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Inauguration of a new stage/space named Club TD Montreal. A real open-air venue, anchored in its urban landscape, the Club TD is deeply rooted in the Montreal spirit, both on stage and in your plate!

The famous band The Roots closes the 43rd edition in front of a huge crowd.

This edition marks Laurent Saulnier's change of role, who becomes a consultant for the Festival after 23 years of directing its programming, and the appointment of Maurin Auxéméry as Director of Programming.