The night air had cooled, a contrast from earlier in the day when the summer sun soared high and bright overhead. Around me, a crowd (mostly gay, mostly male, mostly shirtless) undulated to a deep, rolling bass line heaved at us from onstage by European house duo Chus & Ceballos. As it tapered into a distant storm of drumbeats, the lights faded to a glow and highlighted the twinkling cityscape on one side and the glimmering waterfront on the other.
A young woman wearing a backpack and sparkly makeup pranced toward us, cackled something in French, and vanished back into the sea of bodies. I wiped the sweat off my brow and chugged some water as a flash of light anticipated the return of the drums. The beat hung overhead a brief moment, then opened into a downpour of synth, bass, and melodic vocals. The words sung in Spanish flooded the quay and washed us away.
What European electronic dance music hotspot is this? Paris? Mykonos? Ibiza? Au contraire, mon frere. It’s Divers/Cite, a weeklong international arts and culture festival that has taken place each summer in Montreal for over 20 years. In fact, in 1993 Divers/Cite organized the first Montreal LGBT pride celebration, which included a parade, a community fair, and an arts and music festival. In 2006, Divers/Cite organizers decided to create two distinct LGBT events: one focused on community development, and the other a full-fledged arts and music festival.
This post originally appeared on the Purple Roofs Gay Travel Blog.
Image via Divers/Cite website