Rock in the spotlight at FEQ 2023
The 2023 programming of the Festival d'été de Québec (FEQ) will appeal to rock fans, in particular thanks to the presence of Green Day, the Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Billy Talent and Weezer. The event also retains its usual diversity by offering evenings with Pitbull (pop), Zach Bryan (country), Lana Del Rey (Indie rock), Les Trois Accords (carte blanche), Robert Charlebois and the Cowboys Fringants. The hip-hop evening and ÉlectroFEQ will also be back on July 11 and 12 respectively.
These names will all be headliners on the Plains of Abraham as Coeur de Pirate, Roxane Bruneau, Jessie Reyez, Cypress Hill, Ann Wilson, Christine and the Queens, Lamb of God, Vance Joy, The Smile, Streelight Manifesto and Patrice Michaud will perform on the first stage of the Parc de la Francophonie. On the second stage, festival-goers will notably find Milk & Bone, Bobby Bazini, Stephen Sanchez, Souldia, Les Louanges, Protest the Hero, Feist, Alvvays, Quebec Redneck Bluegrass Project and Jonathan Roy.
The two-stage format of the Parc de la Francophonie first explored last year will be enhanced this summer. Indeed, the site will be redeveloped and will include “an experimental zone” in Georges V Park. This will serve as the gateway to the entire site and will include food trucks and a screen to view the concerts. underway on the stages that will be set up on rue Jacques Parizeau. Festival-goers will cross the Grande Allée by taking a footbridge that will take them to the Parc de la Francophonie. According to programming director Louis Bellavance, this new configuration will accommodate up to 20,000 people. “No one should be left behind this year,” he argues.
Image: Courtesy /FEQ
Even before the unveiling of the program, the FEQ had indicated that the pass would be compulsory for everyone, including children, during the evenings of July 16 on the Plains of Abraham (Bad Religion/Green Day) and 9 ( Souldia/Cypress Hill) and July 12 (Protest the Hero/Lamb of God) at Parc de la Francophonie. Strollers will also be prohibited during these evenings.
On Tuesday, the Summer Festival unveiled a video on its social networks where future festival-goers learned about the programming for the 2023 edition before anyone else. Besides exclamations, it was difficult to detect any clue whatsoever on the names of artists who were announced Wednesday noon.
Clearly, the programming offered by the FEQ in 2023 pleased festival-goers since the sale of the regular, silver and gold pass began at the same time as the unveiling of the programming at noon and that all 125 000 passes found takers even before the programming director finished his round of interviews. The organization announced shortly before 2 p.m. that the event will be sold out for a second consecutive year. The sale of all passes in less than two hours also represents a record for the FEQ, beating the mark of 18 days established in 2022.
“It's phenomenal, we are used to large posters. The 50th didn't sell like that! People are hungry. The exit from the pandemic has created a dynamic where people need to find themselves. A lot of recognition and gratitude, there is a level of response that is astounding!”, reacted the big boss of programming a few minutes after hearing the news.
Photo: Benjamin Aubert/Metro
Louis Bellavance on…
The presence of Imagine Dragons, Foo Fighters and Green Day within the same edition of the festival
“It sets the bar very, very high for next year, but we're going to live with it, it seems like we're raising it all the time. There are very emotional stories with these groups here in Quebec. It’s something unique that may be hard to reproduce.
U2, Coldplay and Eminem who come back every year in demand from festival-goers
“There are constant discussions with these artists. We are aware of their whereabouts. There were times when we came very close. It’s always contextual and it takes favorable factors to get there, but it’s quite possible for the next few years.»
The different combos offered (Billy Talent/Weezer, Bad Religion /Green Day, Blue Jeans Blue/Les Trois Accords, Robert Charlebois/Les Cowboys Fringants)
“These are very strong combos. Each evening is a small themed festival, we attach great importance to who will play with whom. The evening with Allan Rayman, The War On Drugs and Lana Del Rey is also great in this sense. Same thing at the Parc de la Francophonie where we have evenings with evenings of five or six groups that we pick up together to provide a fitting experience. When you get to do it on a large scale like a Billy Talent and Weezer, it’s very satisfying. It's difficult, you have to work with everyone's egos to get that aligned. When you look at Bad Religion, they have already toured as headliners with Green Day opening for it. It’s a return of things for a group that has influenced so much.»
The quality of the programming in an inflationary context
“It’s a business choice that a non-profit business can make, unlike a for-profit business. It’s a risky budget that we assumed because we can do it and we want to do it. At one point, we looked at the data and wondered what we were doing because we could see that our purchasing power was not the same. The answer was to invest and take the risk. People are thanking us quite eloquently today and make us want to continue to keep the bar as high as possible.”
The presence of new country at the FEQ
“We had more difficult times with the new country at the start. We took a necessary break and it continued to progress. Quebec is not where it was in 2012, 2015 and 2018. We are clearly elsewhere. New country now, I think it's a genre that counts here in Quebec and that we can come back to it year after year. The hesitation is behind me. We had enough tests, and it’s not only the presence of Luke Combs last year, it’s a set of factors that we also saw at the Videotron Center. We also consult the streaming, we see what is happening in the market. We are there and we can work on this market. Yes, Zach Bryan is a test, but it’s also our greatest pride in this lineup because he’s the guy who’s up the most in all of the artists on the bill. To give an example, Milwaukee Summer Fest announced it in arenas of 22,000 seats each at the same time as Imagine Dragons. Zach Bryan sold out in twenty-four hours, Imagine Dragons sold out in four days. A year ago, no one knew him. Will it fill the Plains? That would be the biggest surprise!”
The stakes at customs for the hip-hop party as headliner Lil Durk was charged with attempted murder in 2019< “We are assured that he is able to come. Can it happen that it does not pass? Put it on! It happens every year. One out of twenty rappers has no criminal record. The last one we did without a locker must have been Logic. Everyone else, fingers crossed. We lose it every year. There's someone on our poster, Cypress Hill or whatever, who's going to be arrested. It’s sure! We will replace with someone else. It's amazing, I'm a little appalled. It’s the most popular genre in the world, but it’s really special and it’s not the most pleasant to work with for the rest of us.