Despite the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, the chaos at airports and the difficulty of hiring workers, Quebec is ready for the big reunion with the stars of its Summer Festival.
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It starts this evening, exceptionally on a Wednesday for a FEQ over twelve days instead of the usual eleven, with the carte blanche concert of the phenomenon of the hour in Quebec, Charlotte Cardin.
As in the good old days, tens of thousands of festival-goers are expected every evening on the Plains of Abraham, where we will see Jack Johnson, Luke Combs and Maroon 5, the main headliners of the first weekend of the festival.
“There is a great excitement. Everyone can't wait to get started,” says programming director Louis Bellavance.
Yesterday, workers were at work to complete the assembly at the three main outdoor sites.
New this year, shows will be presented on two alternating stages in a redesigned Francophonie park, which will be able to accommodate up to 15,000 festival-goers. As for the free stage formerly at Place d'Youville, it is moving in front of the National Assembly.
Good news: Mother Nature has decided not to spoil the party. Clear skies are expected tomorrow evening, but bring a warm sweater as the mercury could drop to 14 degrees Celsius.
Airports at a glance
Relaunching the Summer Festival after two years of absence has its share of challenges. In particular, the FEQ is crossing its fingers so that artists are not affected by the critical situation in airports across the country.
“We are monitoring this diligently. We have reviewed the itineraries of all the artists and we have compiled a list of all the groups transiting through Montreal or Toronto. We have warned those who have too close matches and we help them find alternatives, ”reveals Louis Bellavance.
"It's worrying," he admits. It will definitely not be an FEQ like the others. »
As for COVID-19, we will have to live with the seventh wave.
“Right now, things are going well with our teams. We have plans in place to take over. It’s a lot of extra work to plan for,” says FEQ general manager Anne Hudon, who specifies that the organization will be able to deliver the goods if artists have specific requirements related to COVID-19.
With the exception of hand sanitizer stations at the entrance to the sites, the festival will not impose any sanitary measures during the event, following public health directives.
As for the workforce, Anne Hudon assures that the festival has all the necessary staff to operate its sites, even if recruitment has been more difficult.