The programming director of the FEQ, Louis Bellavance, and the director-general, Anne Hudon, have made a jump on the plains of Abraham, where there should have been trôner the main stage of the festival.
July 8, 2020
Updated July 9, 2020 4h17
The FEQ between optimism and realism
In normal time, Quebec would begin this Thursday, the musical marathon’s annual summer Festival (FEQ). Since its beginnings certainly more modest in 1968, in good and bad weather, the meeting-artistic marked 52 beautiful seasons in the capital without failing at the task. Because of the pandemic of COVID-19, the 53rd presentation does not, of course, will not take place. While its sites are deserts, the management of the event prepared ‘with realism” the suite of things.
We were waiting for the other hand, Imagine Dragons (whose delivery fell into the water after two songs last year) and the great reunion of Rage Against the Machine. It was the opportunity to attend the back to the front of the stage with Alanis Morrissette, to receive the visit of the sensation Halsey and the veteran Rod Stewart. As fans, the team of the FEQ has had to do his mourning of it all. While the plains of Abraham and its other sites will remain much more silent than usual in the coming days, we look to the future in the offices of the rue Saint-Joseph,… Even if the future remains unclear.
“The planet is still in the thick of it, summarizes the programming director of the FEQ, Louis Bellavance. To us, it is inseparable from the state of this situation-there globally and not only locally. If it does not go in the United States, it is certain that the FEQ as we know it will not be able to ride. If it does not work in Europe, it would cause other problems. We can rejoice in what you have going here, but it is not we raise not.”
To 12 months for a possible next festival, the management has an optimistic view, however, without leaving realism on a tablet. “Our main stage located on the plains of Abraham, it was necessary that the crisis is behind us, says the director-general of the FEQ, Anne Hudon. That said, we know that there are measures that are going to be here to stay for a long time. And you wish, because there are some customers who will be less inclined to want to get out quickly.”
If the vaccine COVID-19 is waiting and that the crisis were to persist, the organization will evaluate the plans possible. But the idea of setting up an appointment in a context of distance physical only smiled at him hardly.
“Our scenario is make the FEQ. And, when you do the FEQ, there are people on our sites that are close to each other. Do they wear masks? Is it that they have taken the Purell in entering? Is it that they pay in money? These are the more technical aspects. But there are a bunch of people together. We will not say that it opens at 50 % of the sites. It is a scenario that has not even worked”, slice Louis Bellavance, careful not to distort the biggest event of the capital.
“We are working to make it a festival and not half, he adds. We will not make a FEQ on the rue Saint-Joseph or the avenue Maguire. If there are a FEQ, we are going on the Plains, and is made of international artists. If you can’t do that, there will be a crisis that no one wants to even consider at this time.”
“Our scenario is make the FEQ. And, when you do the FEQ, there are people on our sites that are close to each other. Do they wear masks? Is it that they have taken the Purell in entering? Is it that they pay in money? These are the more technical aspects. But there are a bunch of people together. We will not say that it opens at 50 % of the sites. It is a scenario that has not even worked. ”
The programming director of the FEQ, Louis Bellavance
According to Anne Hudon, the team of the FEQ will have the opportunity at the beginning of 2021 to address the issue. “From January, we’re going to watch our percentages of chances, and the energy that you put on the plan A or B or C,” she explains.
“For now, we made the bet that there will be a vaccine, a treatment or a déconfinement acceptable that we can make something that really looks like a FEQ” says Louis Bellavance.
The FEQ did not wait for the government decree before announcing its cancellation in April. The priority, according to Anne Hudon, then, was to quickly repay the festival-goers who had already purchased their passes.
“For us, it was to give them a small dose of love. We are going to tell them that the situation is not easy, but we will go promptly on that,” recalls the director-general.
“It was not the first [to cancel], details Louis Bellavance. There are a lot of announcements that have been made on strategies for ticketing. Some have wanted people to retain their tickets for the time that they resignent artists. On our side, and the discussion was consistent with the artists. We were given a deadline and we had informed the artists that if we didn’t have the certainty of being able to deliver the event, we will cancel. That was the question : from what point in time we would not be able to deliver an event according to our standards.”
For the FEQ, the delays were starting to be tight in April. “Financially, the following weeks were weeks of big spending, confirms Louis Bellavance. He had to deploy, all casual staff would come in… It was there.”
Even in the unknown, the team had to quickly turn the page in order to imagine the next chapter of the FEQ. “It was necessary that we could project somewhere, note Louis Bellavance. The most difficult was not to mourn 2020, although it has been quite a slap. It was beautiful, it was going well, we were excited for this one. One relies on a condition to find the action. We, we are hyperactive to the realization of projects. When we get to do more building, not to go to the front and not achieve something, this is serious. This, to me, is the end that is difficult.”
While several festivals have postponed their headliners in the next year, Louis Bellavance has chosen to simply scratch the programming expected this summer and to work on future grid as it would have done in normal times… but This does not exclude to accommodate before long musicians, which one has been deprived this year.
“We walk on windows that are fixed in time,” he observes. There are artists that were scheduled in 2020 that we will never see again. There’s a lot that we are going to review. But I am sure that for others, it’s going to be a real missed appointment, because the timing is just not there. Each situation is unique.”
BEHIND-THE-SCENES THANKS TO A PODCAST
During the health crisis, the Quebec city summer Festival (FEQ) has kept in touch with its audience on social networks, but also through a survey to which approximately 30 000 festival-goers attended.
“All we can do is continue to have a conversation with our festival-goers to see how they perceive the situation,” says the director-general, Anne Hudon.
The spectators have also been asked to create a podcast to put online these days and that will allow them to enter a little into the behind the scenes of the FEQ : program director, Louis Bellavance, was lent to the game by answering their questions.
“It was good, I was surprised at the level, ensures the latter. We talked about force majeure, cancellations, missed appointments, artists that could be reviewed. We spoke about artists that I want to see, from some whim. These are questions that often come back, but we’ve also had more technical questions on the job…” Geneviève Bouchard