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Montreal’s 37th jazz festival to include first-ever performance by Brian Wilson

WATCH ABOVE: Global's Billy Shields heads to the 2016 Montreal International Jazz Festival to discover all the shows and activities as musicians prepare to take to the stages.

MONTREAL — The Montreal Jazz Festival started its 37th annual edition Wednesday.

The event has grown to encompass several musical genres and now involves an estimated 2 million visitors, according to co-founder Andre Menard.

“There are more than 600 acts this year, and that doesn’t even count the club scene at night,” he said.

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It’s become big enough to mean different things to different people.

For Cristal Ricci, it was a surprise fourth anniversary gift to her husband, Tony.

The pair flew to Montreal from Los Angeles.

“There’s a gospel event we’re going to and I think we’re going to see some Latin music,” she said.

Tony and Cristal Ricci are celebrating their fourth anniversary at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Wednesday, June 29, 2016.
Tony and Cristal Ricci are celebrating their fourth anniversary at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Wednesday, June 29, 2016. Billy Shields/ Global News

This year, a special installation has been set up to encourage more children to come to the festival, including a giant playable piano with keys that can be walked on.

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“We tested it this morning,” Menard said.

“It sounds great.”

Beach Boys songwriter Brian Wilson, who will perform for the first time at the festival on July 7, is set to be honoured with the Spirit Award.

A full schedule of acts is available on the festival website.