Summertime in Montreal and Sundays at Tam-Tams are synonymous. It’s a weekly event that happens in Mount-Royal Park. Its name, “Tam-Tams”, is an onomatopoeic reference to the drum circle that takes place at the crux of the gathering right beside the base of the Monument.
When I attended my first Tam Tams even, my first thought was that it resembled a folk festival. There is a large circle of vendors who sit on blankets around the George-Étienne Cartier monument, selling jewelry, crafts, and wacky hippie pants. Behind them is a large, dusty circle of drum-playing musicians. People of all ages dance around them. Behind them, up the hill, there are people doing acro-yoga, slacklining and LARPing. The LARPers often make their own costumes, turning up in full chainmail. They fought, tumbling and rushing at each other valiantly.
There are picnics and BBQs and people of every age. Games of hackie-sack and frisbee happen alongside musicians strumming instruments and acrobats doing flips and leaps. Tams is the embodiment of everything I’ve come to love about Montreal’s vibrant culture.
This weekend, a friend suggested that the catch-phrase for Tams should be “look at what I can do.” The gathering has become a show time for the mixed-bag of talented individuals. I watched as a saxophone player emerged out of nowhere, and from across the field, a drummer caught his eye and dashed over to join in. Soon, the two were surrounded by dancers. Directly in front of me, a group of eight jugglers did their thing, while to my right there were people practicing back-flips.
Though I am still trying to grasp that Tams is a thing that actually happens...it is definitely penciled into my schedule every Sunday for the rest of the summer. If you try explaining it to someone who has never been, you’ll find that it is impossible to do it justice. Check it out for yourself!