With Austin’s SXSW insane success, it seems that more and more cities are trying the homegrown industry festival on for size. Some try to bring all creative industries together at once, some try to woo participants with big names, some take place on the White House lawn — but M For Montreal is going the old fashioned route. There’s no big headliners at the festival, no promise of seeing the next tech disruptor, just 120 emerging artists from the area looking to break out. It’s the kind of festival that CMJ used to be — a place for young bands to play in front of people looking for new music.
M For Montreal takes place throughout the city, moving from venue to venue and encompassing not just music but plenty on panels as well. Like the festival/conference equivalents, the performances are in theaters and set up more like showcases than large stage sets. It helps that the city the festival is based in is, by all accounts, incredible. With European style boulevards and poutine, visiting the city is reason enough to make the trip. Plus, with a manageable amount of bands playing over the five day festival, it’s not the same breakneck marathon as other events, letting you see the shows you want and meet the people you want without mainlining Red Bull simply to survive.