A responsible Festival

Out of concern for preserving the environment, the Festival is more focused than ever on its duty to reduce its ecological footprint. As a pioneer in sustainable development in the events sector in Montreal, the Festival launched its first environmental initiatives in 1989 in concert with Recyc-Québec and Alcan, and has conducted recycling initiatives with a number of different partners since 2002. It is undeniable that, through its actions and in its role as a cultural engine, the Festival plays a role as a model and leader in promoting sustainable and inclusive development.

Environmental initiatives

Did you know?

Your food waste is transformed into renewable natural gas, a clean energy.

  • Every year, on average, 34 tons of recyclable materials are treated on the Festival site, including approximately 25% cardboard fibres, 40% plastic, metal and mixed fibres, 15 % glass, 15 % wood and 5% compost.
  • Food concession kiosks use biodegradable serviettes, glasses and plates made from cornstarch.
  • Since 2015, we have significantly reduced the use of plastic drinking glasses by selling recyclable beer cans to customers. We have eliminated the use of almost 160,000 plastic drinking glasses.
  • Oils used by the food kiosks are all recycled.
  • We are in the process of switching our backstage catering to bulk food and reusable tableware. Our food department only uses Ecocups and compostable tableware.
  • We have developed an exclusive range of eco-friendly products, including 100% recyclable and reusable bags made of jute and polypropylene, as well as clothing made from natural and recycled fibres that have been certified as environmentally sound.
  • The Jazz Festival collects your food waste in sorting bins (waste, recycling and compost) at your disposal. We have three containers for each material. We are working on getting new trio-bins to offer more on site.
  • We are working in partnership with Mégot-Zéro for the treatment of cigarette ends so that they can be transformed into urban material and revalorized into urban infrastructures. Several ashtrays are available on site and pocket ashtrays are available for workers.
  • We have set up a mini-ecocenter for workers so that they can sort out objects and residual materials such as wood, metal, plastic (mixed), tie-wraps, paint cans and aerosols, used batteries, paper, ink cartridges and protective equipment (masks, gloves, etc...).
Did you know?

In 2016, the 9.55 tons of cardboard recovered on the site allowed us to save almost 250,000 litres of water.

Reduction at source
  • We have reduced the use of individual water bottles by opting for 18-litre water containers in backstage areas and in the pressroom.
  • We advocate the use of Internet documents for press conferences. We also make USB keys available to journalists, who may also download information to their handheld devices.
  • We have stopped sending out paper invitations to all press events, replacing them with electronic invitations sent by email. As a result, the Festival has saved 2,500 invitation and envelopes.
Energy-Saving Initiatives
  • We exclusively use hydroelectric power, which produces less pollution, for all our developmental operations. Only emergency generators are powered by gas.
  • In addition, we make efforts to reduce nighttime and daytime illumination in order to minimize our electricity consumption.
  • We have switched all bulbs used in artistic lighting to LED, which is far more energy efficient. We are in the process of switching all lighting used on the Festival site.
  • Some of our display lighting and our on-site restroom lighting are solar powered.
  • Come meet our festival Brigade Verte. The team will be on the ground to inform and educate you on ecology and guide you on the actions and benefits of recycling.
Did you know?

In 2016, the 4.56 tons of plastic we recycled allowed us to save almost 62 barrels of oil.

Social initiatives

The next generation
  • TD Grand Jazz Award is offered to support the next generation(s) of Canadian jazz musicians. Each year, the winning artist receives a trophy and a $5,000 grant, and is invited to the following year’s Festival edition. Details here.
  • The Blues Camp offers young local musicians aged 13-17 an extraordinary opportunity to benefit from a week of high-level musical training dedicated exclusively to blues, absolutely free of charge! Details here.
  • The JazzFest des jeunes series allows musicians from scholastic institutions or amateur community groups to perform as part of the Festival. Details here.
  • The Envolées du Festival musical series is dedicated to university students.
Did you know?

Thanks to our partner, Naya, we provide our employees with reusable bottles on the site, enabling us to conserve over 30,000 water bottles.

Employment programs
  • The creation of an employment program with the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership ensures that jobs last throughout the entire summer, rather than solely during the Festival run.
  • Dozens of dropouts and student interns are recruited through the intervention of the Société de développement économique Ville-Marie and other organizations.
  • We participate in the Coopérative jeunesse de services project, a summer labour cooperative for youth aged 14-17.
An inclusive Festival
  • Special attention to people with reduced or limited mobility.
  • Bicycles left on the site are donated to the SOS VÉLO organization.
  • Donating unconsumed food prepared by our food service to the Maison du Père.
  • All objects found on the site that are in good condition are submitted to the Écocentre, which then redistributes them to various Montreal organizations.

Economic initiatives

Endowed with an annual budget of approximately $24M, the Festival generates economic spinoffs of close to $48.5M, derived in large part from spending by tourists visiting specifically to attend the largest musical event in the world—with an annual attendance now reaching 2 million visits. In addition, Festival spinoffs provide our federal and provincial governments with $10.3M in annual tax revenue. This illustrates how the Festival returns much more to the society than it receives in subsidies—about 16% of its budget.

Did you know?

Since 2008, measures to reduce usage at source have enabled us to reduce materials generated on the festival site by more than half.

Local know-how and wealth
  • A leading economic actor in Montreal cultural tourism, the Festival contributes to maintaining approximately 1000 jobs (full-time equivalency). Of these, 47 permanent and 951 contractual employees work expressly in organizing and staging the event.
  • The workforce does not rely on volunteers, and respects labour standards in matters of pay equity.
  • The children’s Rio Tinto Musical Park was locally conceived and created.
Buying Local
  • Between 90 and 95% of foods sold on the Festival site are purchased less than 40 km from their distribution location. In addition to promoting the local economy, this local purchasing reduces the carbon emissions generated by transportation and market launch of products from foreign sources.
  • The Festival also prioritizes local purchasing in the production of auxiliary merchandise bearing its logo and colours. The use of eco-friendly, recyclable, durable and biodegradable materials is also encouraged and promoted.
  • 64% of global purchases linked to its auxiliary merchandise are made with local distributors and manufacturers;
  • 84% of clothing purchases are made with local distributors and manufacturers;
  • 94% of clothing is printed or embroidered locally.
  • Since 2006, many of the bags and accessories bearing the logo and colours of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal have been made from recycled advertising banners.
  • The Festival also offers a range of 100% recycled durable eco-friendly bags (woven propylene, hessian, etc.), a range of eco-friendly clothing (cotton, dye, printing, etc.) and reusable water bottles.

Celebrated initiatives


The 5th Anniversary Award was presented to the Festival for its continuous commitment and its constant desire to improve its sustainable development initiatives every year. Watch video.


The organization Kéroul gave the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal an Accessibility certification for persons with a physical impairment.

Vivats 2013

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal was presented with the 2013 Grand Vivat award for its outstanding achievements in responsible management in Quebec.

Grands Prix du tourisme du Québec 2009

In recognition of the perseverance, ingenuity and creativity of its efforts in “going green”, the Festival was awarded the 2009 Prix du Tourisme durable.