Festival d'ete de Quebec: FEQ Award Winners Perform For Free

by Kevin Wierzbicki

The Festival d'ete de Quebec (FEQ) is in full swing! Having begun on July 4, Quebec City's massive 11-day music festival continues through July 14. Known for presenting big name acts, the festival has in recent years brought stars like the Rolling Stones, the Who and Metallica to the Bell Stage, the biggest venue of the multi-stage event, and this year Mariah Carey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Slipknot, Twenty One Pilots, Diplo, Imagine Dragons, Logic and Blink-182 are among the big draws set to play the Bell.

Other stages located throughout the historic old town portion of Quebec City will host shows from performers who come from far and wide, from homegrown heroes from Quebec to acts from Africa. And while it is necessary for fans to purchase tickets to see most of the shows, FEQ always has lots of free entertainment, and this year there are five venues where fans can see a show at no cost. Among them is the Hydro-Quebec stage, located on Rue St. Jean adjacent to a delightful selection of cool shops and hip eateries and one of the most scenic portions of the ancient walls from the days when Quebec was a fortified city. And on July 5 the Hydro-Quebec stage hosted four up-and-coming acts, three of which were bestowed Prix FEQ Awards earlier in the day.

Prix FEQ Awards are given to young, developing artists who have displayed excellence in their chosen genre. This year's winners were I-Dep, from Tokyo, Japan, French rapper DI#SE and the Quebec -based Okies. Okies kicked off the Hydro-Quebec program for the evening, treating the crowd to their style of jangly but moody pop music. Singer Marc-Antoine Moisan addressed the crowd in French but often sang in English as he led the band through a set of music that included cuts from the band's new Once a Fisherman from Spain EP.

Festival d'ete de Quebec 2019
Okies (Photo courtesy of Renaud Philippe/Festival d'ete de Quebec)

DI#SE (pronounced Dee-ehz) put on a high energy show, roaming the stage bare-chested and rapping lyrics in French, backed only by one musician who played drums and dealt programmed synth swooshes.

Festival d'ete de Quebec 2019
DI#SE (Photo courtesy of Renaud Phillippe/Festival d'ete de Quebec)

I-Dep took the stage in matching outfits and immediately did something very unusual; they began with a rowdy and loud instrumental cut where everyone took a solo (the bass player began his with the famous bass riff from Michael Jackson's Beat It) and was introduced by singer Cana, something that most bands would save for the end of the show. At times Cana sounded like Gwen Stefani as she led the band through a set of pop, R&B and funk numbers, all of which had the crowd dancing. I-Dep's big buoyant sound was enhanced with exuberant sax work from Sinsuke Fujieda, who at one point hopped down into the photo pit in front of the stage to do some honkin' closer to the crowd.

Festival d'ete de Quebec 2019
I-DEP (Photo courtesy of Renaud Philippe/Festival d'ete de Quebec)

The Hydro-Quebec evening wrapped-up with a show from Quebec 's own Shoot the Coyote, a Canadian favorite fronted by Benoit Pinette. Highly influenced by '70s-era Neil Young, Pinette plays souped-up folk music and was on this evening backed by a five piece band and a 12-person choir, the latter presenting an attention-grabbing and otherworldly vocal introduction to the dream pop cut that opened the show. The Fibe stage also offered free entertainment on July 5 when it presented artists from the second season of the Canadian television show The Launch; performing were Cassiopeia, Michelle Treacy, Olivia Lunny, T. Thomason, Maddie Storvold and Saveria.

Festival d'ete de Quebec 2019
Shoot the Coyote (Photo courtesy of Renaud Philippe/Festival d'ete de Quebec)

Lots of music and fun remains to play out at this year's FEQ; for a complete list of upcoming performances go here.

Photos provided by Festival d'ete de Quebec

Festival d'ete de Quebec: FEQ Award Winners Perform For Free

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