FIMAV Skips 2009, Looks Forward to 2010

FIMAV Skips 2009, Looks Forward to 2010
Canada’s oldest and most venerable experimental music festival, the Festival International De Musique Actuelle A Victoriaville, is taking a holiday next year.

Having celebrated their 25th edition this year of bringing "musique actuelle” (a Quebecois form of experimental musique incorporating improvising, electronics and absurdism) to a town best known for its hockey sticks and Lactantia butter factory, the festival’s general manager Michel Levasseur issued a press release stressing "FIMAV’s health is excellent, but the landscape is changing.” As a result, the event’s staff "want more time to prepare the next edition.” They have postponed the 2009 edition to May 20 to 24, 2010.

The FIMAV website offers some explanation. There is a suggestion that the festival’s national partners need to understand that FIMAV is a major international event. Founded in 1983, the festival for many years was the often the only location to see major European and expat American improvisers and experimentalists perform on this continent. Moreover, it helped foster the explosion of activity in the Quebec avant-garde during the 1980s. This was a remarkable achievement for a festival located two hours outside of Montreal. FIMAV created a ripple effect for its performers, who would play the small Quebec town, then pick up gigs in Ontario and New England as a consequence of being in North America.

Their present situation, however, cites budgetary pressures and "the arrival of new competitors on the Quebec avant-garde music market” as factors. In recent years, Montreal’s Suoni Per Il Popolo and MUTEK festivals have attracted many performers who might otherwise have played FIMAV. This may have had the result of drawing FIMAV’s fan base to Montreal at different times of the year, without requiring additional travel to Victoriaville. A statement by Steve Gagne, FIMAV’s director of marketing, says, "FIMAV’s customer base consists in innovative people, we need to find how to better reach these people and convince them to get out of major urban centres.”

The organization stresses its fundamental strength and promises to return better than ever in 2010.