Getting Ready for Festival D’été Du Quebec

[Frequent contributor Juliette Jagger is about to be deployed and embedded on a summer of festival-going. – AC]

Now that summer festival season is finally upon us, concert goers across the country are faced with the dilemma of figuring out which slew of acts are worthy of their hard earned dollars. Although Canada’s mainstream festival profile has really only begun to skyrocket in recent years (primarily in relation to the large crop of EDM festivals we now host right here in Toronto) one particular festival, Festival D’été du Québec, has been flying under the radar, steadily earning it’s stripes for 47 years.

The festival, which was established back in 1968, and may just be Canada’s best kept musical secret, began by showcasing Québec’s local artists and street performers before eventually broadening its horizons by adding major international musicians to its program in the early 1980s. These days, the eleven-day, non-profit event, which is known for attracting upwards of one million people to the city’s downtown core, is a major cultural enterprise and a vigorous driving force behind the region’s economy, generating more than $25.4 million in added value for Quebec City.

Set to officially kickoff on July 3 and run until July 13, this year’s Festival D’été will feature more than one thousand musical acts in ten different venues throughout the city, including on The Bell Stage on the historic Plains of Abraham. This year’s headliners include everyone from Billy Joel, Lady Gaga, Bryan Adams, The Killers and Deadmau5 to Soundgarden, Queens of The Stone Age, Journey, Steve Miller Band, Blondie, Snoop Dogg and more.

So, with the summer festival market being as competitive as it currently is, what makes the Fest D’été experience so unique? Well, it’s that these guys have built their reputation on a family friendly atmosphere, world-class performers and an incredibly cheap price point. Considering what it typically costs to attend a three-day festival alone (a general admission ticket to this year’s Osheaga will run you $250 CND per person) Fest D’été is an absolute steal. For a whole $78 bucks, you can purchase an all-inclusive transferable pass for the entire duration of the event and you can share it with friends––there’s a novel idea.

With an emphasis on rock, hip-hop, electro, jazz, blues and more, the Fest D’été programming has a little something for everyone. If world music is your thing, you can dance all day and into the night to the festive rhythms at Place D’Youville. If you’re more into blues, Le Petit Impérial is the place to discover local talent, while the electro and after-hour shows at Le Cercle keep many festivalgoers awake until dawn. If you’re looking for the trendiest up-and-coming bands, join the crowd inside the historic Impérial Concert Hall or go to Parc de la Francophonie for music under the stars.

In addition to showcasing a vast array of musical acts, Fest D’été is also known for its hugely talented street performers. With their wacky antics and vibrant personalities, all of the city’s finest performers can be found along Saint-Jean Street, making their own colourful contributions to the near two-weeks of celebration.

To purchase tickets to the 47th edition of Festival D’été or for information on hotel packages and other handy festival tips visit here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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