The Montreal Jazz Festival is the largest jazz festival on the planet. The festival is arranged in numerous venues ranging from the small jazz clubs to the big halls in Place des Arts. There are shows held in cordoned streets while a few of them even take place on terraced parks. In the space of ten days there are almost 500 jazz concerts conducted all over Montreal. Around 350 of these 500 concerts are conducted in open spaces to attract larger crowds.
In June 2009, it was Stevie Wonder who kicked the start of the Jazz festival. He conducted a complimentary open air jazz concert. Ben Harper closed off the ten day festival on 12th July. The first Montreal Jazz Festival was held in the year 1980 and ever since it has become the most awaited incident of the year. There are millions of jazz enthusiasts that come from all over the world to experience the Montreal Jazz Festival over the space of ten days.
Every year the jazz festival features more than 3,000 artists from 300 countries who perform at 650 concerts. The average number of visitors every year is over 2.5 million. Out of these 34% are tourists from other countries. The major parts of the festival take place at 10 indoor halls and 10 outdoor stages.
Most of the roads in downtown Montreal are closed for vehicles during the ten days. Outdoor shows are held from noon till midnight. Some shows see an attendance of more than 100,000 people. The numbers could occasionally exceed to 200,000. The first jazz festival was conducted in 1980 and funds were procured from CBC Stereo, Radio Quebec and Alain de Grosbois. It was an attendance of over 12,000 people. Every year the festival experiences more and more people attending it.