Festival d’été de Québec has blended Francophone and Anglophone culture every summer since 1968, with over 300 shows featuring music’s biggest names. With over 50 years behind it and shows on Canadian historical landmark the Plains of Abraham, the festival represents the past, present and future of music in Québec City.
When it launched, the festival mainly promoted local acts. It has since expanded to feature huge national and international talent from a variety of genres. Rock bands have been well-represented traditionally, as Metallica played the festival in 2011, the Eagles of Death Metal performed in 2013, and 2015 saw both a rained-out Foo Fighters show and an appearance by the Tragically Hip. But pop and rap artists have received attention as well, and recent performers include A$AP Ferg, Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg and more. The festival has also offered new exposure to Canadian acts, as METZ, Weaves, Kiesza and more have played in prime slots over the past few years.
Instead of confining acts to one location, the festival’s performances spill out across downtown Québec City. Headlining acts play on the historic Plains, but street performers entertain patrons outside events within the downtown core, and the festival also founded two venues that bring music to the city year-round. The Impérial Bell operates on a lot that was formerly a parish, lumberyard and cinema, but today the venue books acts like Styx, Bloc Party and more. The District Saint-Joseph is a restaurant and bar that also features small musical acts. Both venues, as well as the Anti Bar on Rue Dorchester, play host to a variety of acts during the festival.
Private venue Le Cercle usually features after-hours shows during the festival, while free performances take place on two separate stages. With a variety of venues across the downtown, the Festival D’été de Québec offers festivalgoers a captivating voyage through the city.