Finally! Yes, finally the Festival d’été de Québec is back in the Capitale-Nationale with its various outdoor stages, its streets closed to many kiosks and sponsors as well as thousands of festival-goers who invade the upper town from 5 p.m. The effervescence returned just as strong as in previous years.
We remember that, very quickly, all the access bracelets to the event found takers following the announcement of the program which would announce the return of this long-awaited annual event. At first glance, I found the choice of artists very safe. What I mean by this is that few of the artists on the program are artists who have stood out strongly during these two years of pandemic (increased popularity, new albums, etc.); I believe in reusing the programs that were planned for 2020 and 2021.
This more personal comment did not prevent me, like everyone else on site, from finding shoes to their liking and fully enjoying the festivities. Note that several major changes are present in this edition. At first, the number of venues has greatly decreased; there is nothing left in the St-Roch district. The Impérial Bell as well as the Anti Bar et Spectacles do not present any shows from the program. In addition, the Place d’Youville stage no longer exists, as does the family park behind the Place de l’Assemblée.
We can therefore count on 4 scenes. The traditional Plains of Abraham stage, whose structure has been changed, which also sees its VIP and general admission configuration return to what it was, to the chagrin of artists such as Jack Johnson. On the side of the secondary stages with access by bracelet, we always have access to the Extra FEQ formula at the Armory where artists, announced some time before the start of the events, perform from 11:30 p.m. Finally, we are back at the Parc de la Francophonie with two side-by-side stages that alternate between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. For those who would have had concerns, the programming of these was well thought out so that the genres complement each other.
For those who did not have a wristband, the Pop-up FEQ was still honored by presenting short performances by artists from the program in new places. Just demystify the riddle the day before and be quick to get to the place. Finally, the stage erected at the Place de l’Assemblée in front of the Parliament also offered beautiful free concerts as well as access to a terrace to enjoy the food trucks present.
In the skin of a festival-goer
The first evening was a surprise from the organizers by offering an additional day of festivity with Jessia, Lennon Stella and Charlotte Cardin, whose name has been on everyone’s lips for several years. This show filled a very large part of the Plains, which is fabulous for a single Quebecer. Presenting her compositions, she surprised everyone by inviting Patrick Watson on stage. Note that the latter returned to the Loto-Québec stage three days later.
It was the next day that everything got under way officially with, on one side, Geoffroy, my discovery of the year, Tash Sultana, as well as the famous Jack Johnson. We are far from the rock, metal or punk music that most of you are used to hearing about here, but Tash Sultana deserves a freeze frame. Alone on stage for a good part of her performance, the Australian multi-instrumentalist edits the plots of her songs in front of us before presenting it to us in its entirety. Her talent, her voice and the charisma she exudes are worth coming to see her.
Like every year, the FEQ presents thematic evenings centered on a specific musical genre. It was Luke Comb and Matt Lang who opened the ball with country night on July 8 on the Plains. For those like me who don’t like it, the other stages presented rock artists like The Revivalists or more pop artists like Dean Lewis. However, the show that made people talk was that of Hubert Lenoir (yes, yes) on the free stage. Preceded by Choses Sauvages, the crowd had a great evening as the artists gave themselves entirely to the crowd during their performances.
The first Saturday hosted Maroon 5 on the main stage. Let us remember that the latter recently canceled all the concerts they had on their calendar, with the exception of the Festival d’été de Québec. It was therefore a huge delighted crowd that welcomed them on stage, preceded by Gayle, whose popularity comes from a Tik Tok buzz, as well as Quebecer Alicia Moffet, known via La Voix. However, it was Patrick Watson’s concert that caught my eye the most. In front of a diverse and well-filled audience, the artists from the Sirius XM and Loto-Québec stage offered an incredible musical evening to the festival-goers. Note the very popular performance of the Lévis band, Les Louanges, at the Extra FEQ. If you missed them, don’t worry. Their tour for their new album, Crash, is coming quickly this fall throughout Quebec.
Sunday was one of two rap nights on the Bell Stage as $uicideboy$ headlined, along with Ludacris and Denzel Curry. Being less in this atmosphere, I turned to local music on the secondary stages with Safia Nolin, Émile Bilodeau and Ariane Moffatt. It’s a diverse crowd cheering the performers as the vibes of the bass behind us kick in.
It’s a new week that opened with, in the spotlight, pop music on the big stage with Lights and Halsey. However, it was on the Parc de la Francophonie site that the repression at the entrance took place when several highly anticipated bands were performing there: Crown Lands and Tea Party on Sirius XM while The Man Who, Finger Eleven and Three Days Grace were on the second. On the one hand, Tea Party presented several of their successes, but the crowd present unfortunately did not seem entirely present for them. This was felt as soon as their set was over. Despite the fact that everyone was packed like sardines, mosh pits and circle pits were seen when the last band of the evening took the stage.
The second rap evening took place under the music of French-speaking artists: 20some, Rymz, Roméo Elvis and the popular Loud who drew a very large crowd on the parterre des Plaines. For those who wanted to continue on the pop vibe of the day before, the twin stages presented, among others, Tai Verdes and Charli XCX. Note also the presence of this year’s Mirror Prize-winning artist, Tiken Jah Fakoly, on the free Hydro-Québec stage. Originally from the Ivory Coast, his reggae is catchy and can’t stop you from wiggling your hips.
It was then the turn of the evening so awaited by many, L’Électro-FEQ. This year, everyone was able to party with artists such as Millimetrik and Marshmello. Once again, I still let myself be tempted by the secondary stages with artists from here such as Lou-Adriane Casidy, who is an incredible crush, as well as Vincente Vallières and Louis-Jean Cormier who knew cradle our ears.
July 14 was abruptly interrupted in the middle of the evening when the weather was not synchronized with the theme of the Latin evening. While Alex Sensation and Becky G had the chance to graze the Bell stage, it was at the Armory, sheltered from the storm, that Luis Fonsi had the crowd dancing to the legendary Despacito. The rap fans present at the Parc de la Francophonie did not have this opportunity with Lil Tecca.
An incredible Friday was in the spotlight with, on the main stage, Alanis Morissette and Garbage. However, it was the secondary stages that attracted me unsurprisingly with the presence of three Canadian punk formations that I love: Millencolin, Pennywise and Sum 41. Despite the frustration of many who did not have the chance to enter, the lucky ones on the spot raised the dust under the sound of the classics of these groups that marked the genre.
Finally, Rage Against the Machine was present on the Plains, despite the scare the singer caused earlier with his foot injury. It was therefore with a lot of enthusiasm and shouts that the group was welcomed, as well as the first parts Alexisonfire as well as the Vulgaire Machin. From start to finish, the crowd piled up in front, chaining mosh pits and body surfing. Note the presence of the long-awaited Clay and Friends as well as Milky Chance on the twin stages on the neighboring site.
It should be noted that, for this last day of the FEQ, we were divided between the concert and Half Moon Run and their guests as well as by the presence of Roger Waters at the Videotron Center. You will therefore understand that we could not pass up the chance to see a legend of progressive music in our capital. Sorry, Half Moon Run.
Lou Adriane Cassidy
Favorite shows 2022
July 16 – Rage Against the Machine
July 11 – Tea Party and Three Days Grace
July 7 – Tash Sultana and Jack Johnson