Montreal's festive summer season was augmented in 2004 with the emergence of The Montreal International Reggae Festival – offering three days of "Reggae Rocking" on the Quays of The Old Port. With an aim to not only showcase the pulsating Reggae beat of internationally renown musicians, but also to highlight excellence amongst a diverse set of 'Reggae Ambassadors' from all corners of the world including Canadian based musicians, this festival continues to be held in high esteem. Consistently embracing the theme, "United Against Violence" the Montreal International Reggae Festival has become a significant tradition for Reggae music lovers in and outside of Canada.
The festival boasts having an audience of over 150,000 since its inception and is steadfast in its commitment to raising the profile of a musical genre best known for manifestations of powerful messages. Fostering unity is key in dually linguistic Montreal - a city that mirrors a global village; and using artistic forms generated through Reggae to achieve this goal has been the successful platform of this Festival. Derived from a list of musical forms that started with Mento – a type of Jamaican folk music, Reggae music became most popular in the 1970s when it burst onto the international scene through popular songs by artists like Bob Marley and The Wailers.
The genre took form following gradual musical transformations from Mento to Ska; to Rock Steady and then Reggae. While originating in Jamaica, a Caribbean island with many cultural influences, Reggae has been adopted and mastered by great musicians in all corners of the world. Reggae music also evolved over the years creating wide variations of what was initially an 'up beat one drop' sound. Today the genre is identified by the titles, Dance Hall, Dub, Lover's Rock and Roots/Conscious Reggae – each strongly interconnected with the other. While celebrating the unique and spirited Reggae beat, the Montreal International Reggae Festival also highlights other genres like Calypso and R&B. Saluting legends in Caribbean music, the 2010 edition of the Montreal International Reggae Festival has been carefully designed to encompass many angles of the region's musical heritage.
The festival's stellar team of industry professionals has set the usual goals to produce a high caliber event that will fulfill the expectations of Reggae fans from all generations and ethnicity. Besides the incredible music, the Montreal International Reggae Festival provides a wonderful ambiance filled with activities for children, kiosks sporting merchandise of all sorts, restaurants and information booths. It entices one and all to return each year for a memorable fun-filled weekend.