Light up your January with 1st edition of Lux Magna

The first edition of the Lux Magna festival gets underway tonight, with close to 30 events showcasing local artists with a community spirit determined to have fun — even at the end of a dreary, icy January.

Festival runs from Jan. 25 to 28 with diverse program curated by women and gender nonconforming artists

Performer Karla Etienne is in Battle of the Brass Bands on Friday night. (Oldin X/Lux Magna)

The first edition of the Lux Magna festival gets underway tonight, with close to 30 events showcasing local artists with a community spirit determined to have fun — even at the end of a dreary, icy January.

If it seems overwhelming to navigate all the music shows, dance parties and workshops on offer, organizers recommend just taking a chance on one.

"Feel free to just drop in. You'll find you can chat with people, and it will be like a labyrinth that will lead you to other things," said one of the organizers, Ora Cogan.

Cogan and others put together a program showcasing the kind of work underway in Montreal that's not often highlighted. 

"With the amount of queer and gender nonconforming creatives that we have in general, and in the city, and how much they influence so many different movements, it's only right that we do them justice in the artistic scene," said artist and organizer Magassy Mbow.

While Montreal is full of festivals, this one is aimed at locals and takes place in the heart of the Plateau Mont Royal, at venues including Casa del Popolo, La Sala Rossa and La Vitrola.

Fighting misogyny in music

Those working under the Lux Magna banner are mostly friends and artists who know each other through their work.

They are also all women and gender nonconforming, so it's part of the festival's mandate to highlight those voices.

"The music industry is fraught with a lot of misogyny and sexism and homophobia," Cogan said. "It's just nice to be a part of something that feels good." 

The festival is volunteer-run and isn't funded by any grants. Ticket prices are around $10.    

Among the events planned for Lux Magna's first night are a musical conversation lasting six hours, with more than a dozen acts from different corners of the musical landscape performing at La Sala Rossa, and a live sound workshop at Casa del Popolo.  

With files from Nantali Indongo