les Francos Montréal 2023 free shows

10 free shows to see at the Francos de Montréal music festival, from June 9 to 17

Bibi Club, Coeur de Pirate and Choses Sauvages are among the many artists gearing up to play stages in the Quartier des Spectacles.

If you’re walking down St-Laurent or even through the Place des Arts area between June 9 to 17, there’s a good chance you’ll be pulled in by some dulcet tones and grooving indie rock ‘n’ roll. That’s because Francos de Montréal is on. Since 1989, les Francos (fka les FrancoFolies) has brought some of the best French and Québécois musical talent through the heart of the city. With the goal to promote French-langauge music, the festival seems to grow in attendance and lineup every year, with a few artists who have played multiple years in a row.

We here at Cult MTL love to curate your experience, so without further ado, here are our picks for the top free shows to check out at Francos this year. 


blesse has been quickly making a name for themselves since the release of their debut LP normal via Simone Records in March. The indie pop weirdos alternately sound very ‘90s or quite recent, with a mix of hyperpop and LCD Soundsystem-vibed new wave punk. They recently opened for P’tit Belliveau to a sold out crowd at Club Soda, and if they continue on this trajectory, they could soon take over the world. This free show at Francos is the perfect opportunity to see them before they explode into the atmosphere. Scène SiriusXM, June 9, 10 p.m., free

Jonathan Personne

I don’t know a cooler local solo project than that of Corridor’s Jonathan Personne. His music sounds like the ’60s psych pop of someone like the Zombies, or even Love. It’s very wispy and vibey music, perfect for swaying the night away. Get a little wine-drunk and pretend you know the lyrics. (Read our Sept. 2022 interview with Jonathan Personne here.) Scène SiriusXM, June 10, 10 p.m., free

Vanille + Lou-Adriane Cassidy

Speaking of light ‘60s psych pop, you gotta bring up Montreal gem Vanille, whose latest album La clairière was full of impressive forest-fairy folk. There’s a bit of a medieval feel to her sound, so be prepared to see jesters and drunken knights. Lou-Adriane Cassidy has a bit more grungy grit to her pop rock, which is a bit Hole meets Alanis Morissette. Either way, this double header is gonna be sweaty and you don’t wanna miss it. (Read our Feb. 2023 interview with Vanille here.) Scène SiriusXM, June 11, 7–10 p.m., free

Coeur de Pirate

Coeur de Pirate is a treasure and that’s just a fact. She’s partly responsible for the French language in music hitting hard with the younger generation. They should name a street or square after her. So here’s what I would do on your Sunday Francos night: Go check out Vanille and right as Lou-Adriane Cassidy is setting up, run over to Scène Bell and cry with Coeur de Pirate. Scène Bell, June 11, 9 p.m., free

Lisa LeBlanc

Prepare for the funk as Lisa LeBlanc unleashes her Chiac Disco, an album that sounds a bit late ‘80s disco or Parliament-Funkadelic. It’s all about getting down and remembering there’s still a bit of fun left in this confusing world. Lisa’s band is also top notch and quite fun to watch play in unison. Scène Bell, June 13, 9 p.m., free

Choses Sauvages

If you’re in the mood for some punk-tinged new-wave electro, look no further than local darlings Choses Sauvages. This band is a prime example of the notion that art has no rules. Expect running around, a bunch of sweat and an androgynous dress code. Come for the synths and stay for the rock. (Read our Sept. 22 interview with Choses Sauvages here.) Scène Loto-Québec, June 14, 8 p.m., free

Bibi Club

Bibi Club makes shoegazey, synth wave pop that sounds like it would work well in a David Lynch film. It’s cinematic and heartbreaking, like a cool wave of water on a hot summer’s day. Head over to this one right after Choses Sauvages if you’re looking to party the night away. (Read our March 2023 Bibi Club cover story here.) Scène SiriusXM, June 14, 10 p.m., free


Perhaps the most international act of Francos this year is Soolking, an Algerian rapper and singer-songwriter who incorporates hip hop, reggae and raï — a type of Arabic pop music that dates back as far as the 1920s conveying messages of freedom, despair, social justice, etc. If that sounds like your bag, check out Soolking. Scène Bell, June 15, 9 p.m., free

Margaret Tracteur

French folk punk and some yodelling? That’s Quebec City’s Margaret Tracteur. This group has gorgeous harmonies, fiddle, accordion and lyrics about witchcraft, drinking and swinging (in the musical sense, but you do you). You know how everyone wants to join in during a sea shanty chant? Margaret Tracteur has that same vibe. Pull out your best square-dancing moves. Scène Brasseur de Montréal, June 16, 9:30 p.m., free


Montreal’s newest art pop/ jangle wave band, YOCTO, only has three singles out and we’re already hooked. Their sound is a bit goth rock à la Siouxsie Sioux or new wave à la Human League. If those comparisons don’t mean much to you, trust us and go be surprised. Scène SiriusXM, June 16, 10 p.m., free

For more on the Francos de Montréal music festival, please visit their website.

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