Our festivals are back at 100% capacity… finally!!!
The summer of 2022 is the summer of possibilities! More than a simple return to normalcy, there is an urgency in the air, a feverish eagerness to bite into the present moment like a slice of watermelon in the middle of a heat wave.
In the world of festivals, summer doesn’t begin at the solstice: perhaps you have had the chance to vibrate at one of the many events that have taken place in the last few weeks throughout Quebec. Our goal here is not to make you feel like you missed out. We just want to tell you about how our festivals are helping people have fun this year. And that it’s not too late to take part!
One of the first events of the summer, Santa Teresa, usually serves as a barometer for the festival season. And despite the grey and uncertain weather this year, Santa Teresa’s general manager, Patrick Kearney, is pleased that he was able to create a “festive and cheerful” environment during the festival, even though the organizational work that came beforehand was colossal. “We had to have faith and take risks to overcome the uncertainty brought about by the 5th wave,” he explains. “And we did. The team that helps organize the festival is one of the keys to our success.”
Being one of the first festivals to be able to run at full capacity also brought its challenges. “Given that we were one of the first festivals to come back to life, festival-goers seemed hesitant at first. But in time, everything worked out.”
A month later, the KWE! festival in Quebec City was able to count on attendees that had already had the opportunity to get used to gatherings in large numbers. The festival, which showcases the cultures of Quebec’s eleven Indigenous nations, has adapted well since its 2019 edition, says its executive director, Mélanie Vincent.
“We found a much more appropriate location in Jean Béliveau Park, which is larger, under a canopy of trees. Many of our visitors and representatives of the eleven Nations loved it! Otherwise, the big difference is that we are reaching more of our target audience, that is to say, people from across Quebec, who came specifically for KWE! The fact that we attracted bigger crowds was not a coincidence.”
According to Mélanie, festival-goers weren’t the only ones who were pleased with the 2022 edition. “Our artists and craftspeople were proud. We wanted them to feel that KWE! is an event that belongs to them, in which they are free to express their culture and their knowledge. We found that this feeling was shared. We can say that we achieved what we set out to do.”
And all these efforts brought their share of good moments. For Patrick Kearney, the very first show on the “main stage” was a huge hit. Having had the chance to attend, we can confirm that both the artists and the audience were wild. That evening, the suburb of Sainte-Thérèse saw Lydia Képinski, Choses Sauvages and, for the first time in Quebec since the release of his last album, Hubert Lenoir, deliver a stunning performance. “Festive,” “overjoyed” and “ecstatic” are some of the words that the general manager uses to describe this evening and all the beautiful people who participated.
On the other hand, Mélanie had trouble summing up the five days of festivities in one event. However, she was deeply touched by “the participation of the representatives of the eleven Nations, their generosity, and their pride, everywhere KWE! was going on.”
For adventure-seeking festival-goers, summer is just beginning. But for these organizers, it’s time for a well-deserved rest.
“Organising a festival brings its share of stress and doubts,” concludes Patrick Kearney, “but once the festival is over, there is a great sense of relief.”
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