The Festival d’été de Québec’s celebration of its 50th year is now upon us, with the first of its two-part program running Thursday, July 6 to Sunday, July 9. In that all-too-short a timespan world-renowned artists will take to the many stages erected around the city, which opens its arms to the world in the name of music and fun.
The first few days are just choc-a-bloc with big names. Thursday features Melissa Etheridge, The Zombies, DJ Shadow, and National Order of Québec recipient Isabelle Boulay. Friday sees things get turned up a notch with several Canadian artists set to perform: The New Pornographers, Montreal’s Wolf Parade (who make a grand return to the festival after having played it in 2008), and, another from Montreal, Plants and Animals. All this takes place on the Loto-Québec Stage so if indie rock is your thing, this is the place to be Friday.
This unfortunately means you will miss Kendrick Lamar — a huge draw for the festival, as one of the most influential hip-hop artists going is touring his latest album, Damn, released earlier this year to superlatives galore. Lamar will be joined on the Bell Stage (at the Plains of Abraham) by Dead Obies and Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals. On Saturday, Pink and Pierce The Veil headline the Bell Stage and Loto-Québec Stage respectively.
There’s no rest on Sunday with Backstreet Boys and Nick Jonas playing the Bell Stage and Pink Martini, that multitudinous mashup of musicians whose fusion of genres should have everyone dancing. Oh, and did I mention Backstreet Boys? I felt like I whisked by them earlier. Attend their show and see just how many songs of theirs you recognize and love.
For those adults who will have kids in tow (or for those kids who will have parents in tow), every day from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Parc de Esplanade will host multiple shows, street performances, activities (a youth boot camp? sounds delightful), and a dairy bar (it’s sponsored by Milk so a dairy bar seems logical).
The festival will also be marking its 50th year in style, with an exhibition of highlights from the past 49 instalments AND, for the first weekend only, the streets will be overrun with inflatable puppets courtesy of theatre troupe Plasticiens Volants.
We’ll be back next week to outline all the goings-on of the festival’s second week — one that will feature Gorillaz, Metallica, and more!
The festival runs July 6-16 in Quebec City, taking over the entire world heritage UNESCO site with stages and events scattered throughout. Tickets start at CAN$95
For more info on the festival and the complete lineup of performers, visit the Festival d’été de Québec website.