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Is Le Festival d’été de Québec the biggest festival in North America?

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Is Le Festival d’été de Québec the biggest festival in North America?

festival-dete-de-quebec

 

Stevie Wonder, Rush, Guns n’ Roses, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Tiesto, Bassnectar, Wu-Tang Clan, The Black Keys and more… Imagine a festival with this line up.   Now imagine dozens of other local bands and talent performing all over the city for 11 days, in a place that’s over 400 years old, has a unique heritage and views that are beyond stunning for miles.

No it’s not Coachella, Lollapalooza, SXSW or some massive festival in Europe.  It’s Le Festival d’été de Québec, one of the biggest festivals in North America and it takes place right here in Canada July 4-14 2013.

So why haven’t you heard of it?

The festival is now entering its 46th year and is traditionally known to showcase local and world renowned Francophone music and talent. With financial difficulties facing them in the past, the focus shifted around 2004 when the festival decided ask the public what they wanted.

Media Relations co-ordinator Mélissa Brisson explains: “We did a survey in 2004 because the festival was decreasing in popularity and we were wondering what was going on.   Festival goers said ‘we want big world renowned music artists to perform at the festival’.  Because most of the big tours end in Montreal and they don’t come to Quebec City.  People in Quebec city said they want music and want these big acts to come to our city and we’re ready to pay for it.  So the decision was made to bring in bigger talent and increase the price of the access pass but it’s still very affordable compared to other festivals of this size.”

By 2007 Kayne West headlined the festival, followed by Van Halen, Stone Temple Pilot, Linkin Park, Wyclef Jean in 2008 which reached over 1 million spectators in 11 days.    The festival has consistently been able to reach the 1 million+ mark every year sine then, selling more than 150,000+ passes in advance last year alone!

“It’s a 365 day a year job” explains Festival programmer Louis Bellavance.     When asked who promotes the concerts Louis re-assures that it’s entirely not for profit and in house.    The goal is to bring more tourism to Quebec and Quebec City, and for the very reasonable price of $76 for an 11 day pass how can you disagree?   “This is the best deal on the planet, I haven’t found a better one yet, let me know if you find one.” says Bellavance.

Did we mention that the pass is transferable?   Yes it’s transferable, in fact they encourage it.    The wrist band has a velcro strap and the organizers believe that more people will come and stay if they can transfer a pass.   This ingenious technique is used to help support more local bands and local business.   If you are a little hung over and would rather spend the day site seeing or perhaps you need to get back to work because you couldn’t take 11 days off, then transfer your pass to a friend, it’s not a problem!

“We encourage people to stay for the full 11 days. Let them stay and eat the food and experience the culture that is Québec City ” said Brisson.

Perhaps NXNE, CMW and Montreal Pop should pay attention if they’re seeking government tourism funding. If this years’ line up and past attendance numbers are any indication of what the future holds for the festival, than this model seems to paint a very bright picture.

* stayed tuned to The Scene for event coverage

INTERVIEW WITH PROGRAM DIRECTOR LOUIS BELLAVANCE:

 

For more information and complete line up:  http://www.infofestival.com/

By: Darrell Shelley

THE SCENE


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