Less of a milestone than last year but no less impressive a lineup is this, the 51st edition of Quebec City’s Festival d’Ete — 11 days that see the entirety of the Quebecoise capital come together to celebrate the summer months with music and milk (more on that later).
Serving as the fest’s tent poles are its two weekends, with each boasting international acts upon its Plains of Abraham stage.
The July 5-to-9 weekend (in Quebec City, weekends are four days long) is tidily organized, with each evening’s artists similar in genre. Thursday sports the deep electro-R’n’B grooves of Montreal’s Chromeo and The Weeknd. The guitars are taken out of their cases on Friday by Kurt Vile & The Violators and Uncle Neil Young. A couple of Atlanta rap imports in the form of Lil Yachty and Future take over on Saturday, while emerging pop stars Camila Cabello and Canadian Shawn Mendes — who have both opened up for Taylor Swift at some point — will perform, supporting the insular claim that the weekend isn’t over just yet. Need more proof? Ask nicest-guy-in-rock Dave Grohl as his Foo Fighters keep the party going on Monday. We at ET Canada post MANY awesome fan-centred stories of these guys on the road. If you want to see what they get up to on Quebec soil (or stage), take Tuesday off and party with them Monday night.
Other notable acts include the one-two punch of M. Ward and The War on Drugs. Get to the Loto-Quebec Stage early for this one Sunday night. It should be a popular one. And for the “Gilmore girls” fan in all of us, sometime cast member Sebastian Bach will be present Saturday. Will he perform a Hep Alien song? Attend the show and find out.
Not to be outdone, the second weekend boasts five — count ’em, 5! — nights of music. It all kicks off Wednesday with Toronto’s Tory Lanez and Chainsmokers. If you don’t know either of those artists, there is always Air Supply playing elsewhere in the city. For Thursday you will be entertained by Phoenix, Beck, Machine Gun Kelly, and the Skatalites. The weekend, as it’s traditionally known, kicks off Friday with two strong female singers from two different generations in Cyndi Lauper and Lorde. A band called Galaxie, are also playing, though not to be confused with Galaxie 500; they have not reunited. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Glass Tiger will also be featured Friday night.
As indicated by last festival’s Metallica gig, Quebec City love their metal. So, organizers are going to give it to them in the trifecta of Silverstein, Bullet For My Valentine, and Avenged Sevenfold. Go ahead and pack your earplugs now — you’re going to need them.
First Johnny Cash covers Nine Inch Nails and now, Sunday performer Sturgill Simpson interprets Nirvana’s “In Bloom” which, for us, is worth the price of admission alone. Check it out here:
All this is just a warmup to Dave Matthews Band, who never seem to be off the road. With so much experience, the band must put on a rather tight, enthralling set, no? If DMB aren’t your thing, you can re-experience your youth with Sum 41, who will be playing at the same time as Dave Matthews (no, not on the same stage).
As always, keep an eye (or ear) open for shows popping up (a.k.a. pop-up shows) — extemporaneous mini-concerts held throughout the city’s streets.
We’re just bringing to your attention a handful of artists; check out the festival’s official site and be overwhelmed by the amount of music awaiting you from July 5 to 15.
Of course, there’s more to the festival than music (though, admittedly, it represents a large portion of it). Remember that cryptic ‘milk’ reference 20,000 words ago? Well, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day, Esplanade Park will play host to a variety of activities just for kids in the Family Place. There will be rides, shows, a picnic area, AND a dairy bar.
And if you prioritize your tastebuds over both music and children, there will be a licensed outdoor dining area where several food trucks just happen to be parked. Yes, poutine-related dishes are sure to be served.
For more information — schedules, maps, etc — look no further than the official site for the festival. In both French and English, the site also serves as a ticket outlet; if you do not live in Quebec City you may want to purchase one sooner than later — the city’s entire populace come out for FEQ so reserving your place may proved difficult the longer you wait.