Festival d'ete de Quebec 2018 Part 2: Fans Treated to Free Concerts

by Kevin Wierzbicki

When music fans talk about the Festival d'ete de Quebec (FEQ), the huge, 11-day event that takes place in Quebec City every summer, the conversation understandably usually begins with talk of the festival's biggest stars. FEQ took place July 5-15 this year, and big names aplenty were on hand, including Foo Fighters, Neil Young, Lorde, Atreyu, the Dave Matthews Band, Shawn Mendes, Future, the Weeknd and the Chainsmokers. But FEQ presented more than 250 shows this year, including dozens and dozens of concerts from an eclectic group of performers that came to Quebec City from locales the world over. What's more, a great deal of them performed for free.

The Festival d'ete de Quebec shows take place on multiple stages throughout the historic old town portion of Quebec City, and the biggest stars play on the main stage that's set up on the city's one-time battlefield, the Plains of Abraham. But there are two stages where the music is always free and where this year acts like Nigeria's Femi Kuti, Jamaica's the Skatalites, American blues band Mississippi Heat and Canadian electro band the Funk Hunters were among the luminaries putting on free shows.

Canadian acts are always well-represented at FEQ and among those playing shows with no admission charge were Rebecca Noelle, an Ottawa-based pop singer who injects a healthy dose of soul into her music. Noelle sings in both English and French and her set included a take on the Jackson 5's "Who's Lovin' You," as well as earthy covers of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "The Power of Love" and Janelle Monae's "Tightrope."

Rebecca Noelle

Also representing the home country were youthful pop star Scott Helman, who played favorites like "Machine" and "Cardboard Castle," and Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar who wowed a dancing crowd to funky cuts like "Over You," "You're the One" and "Addicted." Martin has a voice that sometimes sounds like Tina Turner, so it was no surprise to hear her and the band rip through a cover of Ike and Tina's "River Deep, Mountain High" near set's end.

Samantha Martin

Scott Helman

Another great free show was turned in by American singer Liza Anne, a performer with a charming stage presence who engaged in frank and humorous banter throughout her show. Liza Anne played nearly all of her latest album Fine but Dying, including "Socks," "Panic Attack," "Small Talks," "Closest to Me" and "I Love You, But I Need another Year." Most of Liza Anne's material was performed as driving alt rock, but in quieter moments a vocal resemblance to Joni Mitchell was obvious.

Liza Anne

Fans of funky world music were thrilled by Afro- Brazilian band Da Cruz, fronted by Mariana Da Cruz. Da Cruz's bass player dished out massive doses of earthshaking rhythm while Mariana's voice soared and teased, all of which made it easy for the large crowd to dance and sway along. At least six free shows of similar caliber took place every day during FEQ.

Da Cruz

Mariana Da Cruz

The 2019 Festival d'ete de Quebec will take place July 4-14 and information will be posted here.

Festival d'ete de Quebec 2018 Part 2: Fans Treated to Free Concerts

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