Tam Tams Montreal

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    Dance Like No One Is Watching

    Montreal's Tam Tams, an weekly drum and dance event in Mount Royal Park every Sunday.
    ••• Above: a clever DIY drum kit spotted at the Montreal Tam Tams circa 2014. Photo by Flickr user Gerry Lauzon (CC BY 2.0)

    Montreal's Tam Tams are the name of a popular drum and dance activity with locals held every spring, summer, and autumn Sunday atop Mount Royal. Keep scrolling to discover the grassroots event in photos.

    Tam Tams Montreal: A Mont Royal Tradition

    Urban lore has it Montreal's Tam Tams, named after the French word for hand drums like the bongo or djembe, started in the '80s, maybe late '70s. It depends on the source.

    According to writer Susan Krashinsky, it began with an African drumming workshop looking for a change of pace from their usual haunt. Students ended up convening on the edge of Mont Royal Park at the edge of Jeanne-Mance Park, right beside Montreal's infamous angel statue.

    Eventually, non-drummers joined in, dancing along with the ever changing beats until it became Tam Tams, Montreal's Sunday tradition in the park. By 1994, the city of Montreal took charge of maintenance, security and marketplace permits.

    Tam Tams Are For Everyone

    Babies, seniors, teens,...MORE thirty somethings, fifty-ish fans, jugglers, brazen flirts, medieval foam weaponry fighters ... every generation and a wide array of subcultures are represented at Tam Tams. And the vibe is peaceful and non-judgmental. It's even wheelchair accessible! And it's free. The only constraint with Tam Tams is the weather. The show only goes on every Sunday from May through September, as long as there's no rain, from noon to sundown or later. Drummers informally extend it through October, weather-permitting.

    Tam Tams in Motion

    Here's video of Tam Tams in action and here's a stylized version of the experience.

    Directions to Tam Tams Montreal

    Take the 11 Bus West from Mont-Royal Metro. Get off at the corner of Mont-Royal and Parc. Walk up Parc in the direction of a large patch of green space (you can't miss it!) until you reach the angel statue near the corner of Parc and Rachel. From there, just follow the beat of the drums to reach Tam Tam's epicentre.

    A different route that requires less walking involves the 80 Bus North from Place-des-Arts Metro. Get off at the corner of Parc and Rachel and simply cross Parc in the direction of the angel.

    Tam Tams Marketplace Schedule & Permits

    At most Tam Tams, there's a small group of people selling clothes, flags, jewelry and assorted trinkets. Technically, anyone can set up temporary shop, but you need a permit.

    Call (514) 872-7080 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on the Thursday prior to the Sunday you want to sell your wares to reserve a spot. The earlier you call, the better. You must be a Montreal resident over 16 years old with a mailing address. If accepted, you will then have to show up at specified location to pick up your city permit, on said Sunday around 12:30 p.m.

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    Tam Tams Montreal: Getting There

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• View of the west side of Parc Mont Royal's Parc Jeanne-Mance. Photo © Evelyn Reid

    The most common public transit route to get to the Tam Tam involves taking the 11 Bus West from Mont-Royal Metro. It's an at most 10-minute ride. Get off at the corner of Mont-Royal and Parc.

    Walk up Parc in the direction of a large patch of green space (you can't miss it!) until you reach the angel statue near the corner of Parc and Rachel. From there, just follow the beat of the drums to reach Tam Tam's epicentre.

    A different route that requires less walking involves the 80 Bus North from Place-des-Arts Metro. The ride is also at most 10 minutes. Get off at the corner of Parc and Rachel and simply cross Parc in the direction of the angel statue.

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    Tam Tams Montreal: Getting Closer

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Photo © Evelyn Reid
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    Tam Tams Montreal: Follow the Angel

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• That angel statue is Monument George-Étienne Cartier. Photo © Evelyn Reid

    That angel statue is Monument George-Étienne Cartier. Tam Tams' drum circle typically forms in its vicinity.

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    Tam Tams Montreal: The Marketplace

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Tam Tams' marketplace generally sells clothes, accessories, jewelry, bongo drums, flags, and other knick knacks. Photo © Evelyn Reid

    Clothing, flags, and assorted knick knacks are sold at Tam Tams.

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    Tam Tam Fans

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    ••• Tam Tams Montreal Photos Near the heart of the drum circle. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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    Entering the Circle

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Above: Tam Tams in full swing. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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    Tam Tams Drum Circle

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Above: inside the Tam Tams drum C=circle. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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    Tam Tams Montreal: In the Thick of It

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Above: in the thick of Tam Tams' drum circle. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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    Dancers and Drummers Unite

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Above: dancers and drummers unite at the Montreal Tam Tams. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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    Tam Tams Montreal: A Different Drum Circle

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Above: on the outskirts of the main drum circle are other drummers. Photo © Evelyn Reid

    There's often more than one drum circle at the Tam Tams.

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    Tam Tams Montreal: Dogs Welcome!

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Above: as long as they're leashed, dogs are invited to the party. Photo © Evelyn Reid

    As long as they're leashed, dogs are invited to the party.

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    Tam Tams Are For Every Age

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Tam tams are for everyone, literally. Photo © Evelyn Reid

    Every age group goes to the Tam Tams.

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    Tam Tams Montreal

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Above: more dancing at the Tam Tams. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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    Tam Tams Montreal

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Above: just another Tam Tams in the park. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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    Tam Tams Montreal: Recorder Session

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Above: a gentleman playing the recorder. Photo © Evelyn Reid

    It's common to find musicians playing the saxophone, flute, and other non-percussive instruments.

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    Tam Tams Montreal

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Tam Tams Montreal Photos. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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    Tam Tams Montreal

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Tam Tams Montreal Photos. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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    Tam Tams Montreal: Leaving the Grounds

    tam tams montreal photos mont royal parc jeanne mance park sundays summer
    ••• Tam Tams Montreal Photos. Photo © Evelyn Reid