Skip to navigation Skip to navigation Skip to content

2023: Never Without Our Pride!

The Festival Fierté Montréal 2023 Edition in a few words.

The mood amid the crowd-filled streets of Montréal matched the multicolour banner unfurled for the occasion of the 17th Festival Fierté Montréal Pride celebrations. From August 3 to 13, 2023, more than 450,000 people gathered to celebrate the city’s tremendous sexual and gender diversity.

At the heart of the festival is the Pride Paradele Défilé de la Fierté – a glittering stream of humanity that included a record-breaking 15,500 marchers. Weaving their way through the city’s streets, parade participants paid homage those who struggled and cleared paths of progress that got us to where we are today. Along the Parade route, a sea of more than 200,000 spectators gathered in solidarity, chanting “Jamais sans notre fierté” (“Never without our pride”).

Throughout the festival, Fierté Montréal served as a platform for amplifying the voices of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and for supporting their initiatives. Thanks to our Community Project Funding Program, we helped 42 queer-led, by-and-for projects happen in Montréal as well as in Val-d’Or, Trois Rivières, Charlevoix, Laval, Trois Pistoles, Saguenay and Portneuf. During Community Days, sponsored by Air Canada, 180 organizations from Montréal and across Québec showed off their amazing work to throngs of over 145,000 visitors eager to learn more about these groups or to get involved.

The Jardins Gamelin came alive with a program of performances from August 3 to 6, before our outdoor event location switched to the Esplanade du Parc olympique, from August 9 to 13. More than 65,000 attendees enjoyed a dazzling variety of artistic expression, from concerts to drag shows, which showcased the talent of over 150 artists, including emerging voices and those of marginalized communities.

In a first foray, Fierté Montréal expanded its programming to include a run of sold-out shows at Club Soda, Le National, and the Satosphère (at the SAT). In addition, and in close collaboration with 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, a series of enlightening, well-received panel events were held that successfully sparked important conversations.

Indigenous culture illuminates opening ceremony

The Fierté Montréal Festival kicked off its highly anticipated 2023 edition with a lively Opening Ceremony at Le National. Captivating opening performances by Indigenous artists set the tone for what became an unforgettable event.

Outstanding comedy show Me joke-tu? kept the night lit from another angle. Hosted by effervescent Acadian drag stars Sami Landri and Chiquita Mére, this evening of stand-up highlighted queer comic excellence, leaving the audience aching from laughter.

Fierté: a soundtrack for all of Montréal

Throughout the first weekend, music lovers got to enjoy a wide variety of musical styles presented at Jardins Gamelin. Friday night's XoXo concert served a captivating mix of pop, rock, and R&B, winning over audiences with its eclectic line-up.

On August 5, the Jardins Gamelin was once again the beating heart of the festival, hosting the Trans Community Party and Lis Dalton's electrifying DJ set.

The weekend at Jardins Gamelin ended on Sunday, August 6, with Blush, an evening that brought together various generations of 2SLGBTQIA+ people in a spirit of unity and celebration.

First weekend: a multicoloured celebration

All over downtown, nightlife enthusiasts were treated to a host of live shows that provided unforgettable experiences! These included the trans/non-binary cabaret Them Fatale (Friday, August 4) at Le National, with its chic Prohibition-era retro theme, and the Kiki Ball: A Family Affair (Saturday, August 5) at Club Soda, which explored the theme of "family" in pop culture.

On Saturday, August 5, Barbada and friends threw their Pride Party at Le National, inviting everyone to join in with the performers, joyously ending with an impromptu march through the Village.

Quintessentially 2SLGBTQIA+ style shows and parties delighted revelers with a special "Fierté Montréal" sold-out event series: at Club Soda on Friday, August 4, Heated celebrated the lesbian, queer and trans communities; meanwhile, at the SAT's Satosphère, disco music fans were treated to an immersive evening with the Pleasuredome party. The night after, Club Kid culture was given its due by Unikorn, a late-night dance party for the tireless.

Parc olympique, in full colour!

On Wednesday, August 9, the main Festival site at the Esplanade du Parc olympique opened to the public with ImmiX. Presented by ICI Musique on the TD Stage, the show featured an A-list line-up of artists, including Édith Butler, Lumière, Coco Béliveau, Klô Pelgag, Joe Bocan, and many more.

At the same time, the Loto-Québec Stage was the venue for Drag'Opéra, a unique fusion of opera and drag performances that captivated audiences with its creativity and flair.

The evening continued with the Queer Songbook Orchestra, presented by La Presse, celebrating the rich diversity of LGBTQIA+ experiences through music and offering a moving performance alongside guest artists such as Safia Nolin, Jeremy Dutcher and Martha Wainwright.

World-renowned drag queens flock to Fierté Montréal

On Thursday, August 10, the Festival showcased an international constellation of queens with the hotly anticipated Drag Superstars showcase, presented by Puerto Vallarta. Hosted by hometown heavenly body Rita Baga, the show brought together drag queens from around the world, with audiences living for their dazzling performances. Dozens of festivalgoers got the chance to see the divas up close at the Meet & Greet before the show.

Meanwhile, the FeminiX show, presented by Rogers, celebrated women of sexual and gender diversity through the vibrant performances of BLK PRL, JU!CE, Barbara Butch and Narcisse, enchanting the audience with their talent and charisma.

Artists from QTBIPOC communities take centre stage

DistinXion, a one-of-a-kind show headlined by Scandi-French musician Aime Simone for their first-ever show in Québec. Queer South African artist Nahkane, trans-racial multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya, Toronto non-binary artist Idman, and legendary vocalist Mýa (of Moulin Rouge fame), showcased the talent of our diverse communities.

Xcellence, presented by Ubisoft, celebrated QTBIPOC communities with a stunning array of award-winning and renowned DJs.

And local royalty!

Directed and hosted by drag kings Rock Bière and RV Métal, MajestiX, presented by TD, rallied a line-up of local drag artist royalty.

The SuXesion show, presented by Fugues, featured the rising stars of Montréal's underground queer music scene.

Highlights of the Fierté Montréal Pride Festival

The Community Days on August 11 and 12 provided the public with an opportunity to meet over 180 organisations and community groups working with the 2SLGBTQIA+ population in Montréal and Québec.

The festival culminated on Sunday, August 13, with the Pride Parade, a jubilant celebration of the progress of 2SLGBTQIA+ human rights and a reminder of the ongoing struggle to achieve full recognition of our rights. The Pride Parade furthered 11 Demands made by Fierté Montréal that were based on extensive consultative work done in 2020-2022 by the Conseil québécois LGBT with its member organizations.

Dancing with Pride

After the Parade, thousands of festivalgoers gathered at the Parc Olympique Esplanade to dance the day away. With the T-Dance, on the TD Stage, and Mundo Disko, presented by Trojan, on the Loto-Québec Stage, the spirit of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities enlivened by music and dance became tangible.

As a code to the outdoor closing parties, queer Montréal artist RÊVE took to the stage for one last resoundingly successful show.

Leadership within our communities

The festival further became an occasion for recognizing the dedication and contributions of those who have made a lasting impact. Among those honoured were our 2024 Grand Marshalls Christiane Taubira, Hetera Saskya Caïla Estimphil, Scott Wabano, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, all people whose tireless commitment to positive change has inspired many.

Laura Yaros, Alexandra de Kiewit (posthumous) and Barbada also each received recognition for their meaningful work in promoting 2SLGBTQI+ rights and the fight against HIV/AIDS, as part of the Community Prize Awards Ceremony.

Safer spaces!

In response to our commitment to offer safer spaces to festivalgoers and in collaboration with partner organizations in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community sector, we set a series of staffed safe spaces for youth and people of colour/BIPOC. Removed from the crowd, these oases of calm are intended as areas where people can decompress, gather, and if need be, avail themselves of some active listening from a staff member at one of our partner organizations.

Furthermore, Fierté renewed its “Order an Angelot” accreditation, which is a protocol devised by the Collectif Social, an association working to prevent harassment and sexual violence in festival contexts.

Priceless support

Fierté Montréal would like to express its sincerest gratitude to our many loyal partners whose unflagging support is indispensable in making the festival’s vision a reality:

The Groupe Banque TD, partner since 2008, Loto-Québec, the gouvernement du Canada, the gouvernement du Québec, the Ville de Montréal, Tourisme Montréal, Rogers, Trojan, SAQ, Air Canada, Bubly, Radio-Canada, Prime Video, STM, Bud Light, Hydro-Québec, Puerto Vallarta, Fugues, MTL Dans la poche, La Presse, CTV, Virgin Radio, Énergie, Rouge, Le Devoir, Publicité Sauvage, Cult, Shaun Proulx Media, the Parc olympique, the Partenariat du Quartier des spectacles, the RÉMI and the SDC Village Montréal.

Our 2024 Partners have stayed true and shown how to be pillars of solidarity, holding our organization up as we continue to flourish amid the fabulous diversity of Montréal’s cultural and social landscape.