By Glenn Alderson
Festival d’été de Québec (Quebec City)
July 4 to 14, 2019
Of all the festival’s worth fighting for, we’re willing to bet you’ve never been to one on an actual battle field.
Unless you’ve been to Quebec City’s Festival d’été de Québec (FEQ), a summer festival infamous for infiltrating the Capital every summer with big-name music acts; their main stage site sprawling across the historic Plains of Abraham.
FEQ is your chance to get a piece of the action and battle for awesome site lines where French and British armies once battled for Quebec.
While the 11-day spectacle might be one of the longest running multi-day, multi-venue music fests in North America, this year is shaping up to be one of their freshest yet.
Founded in 1968, FEQ has been developing a forward thinking international programming agenda over the course of the last decade to become a monumental gathering for music fans. Recent years have hosted acts like Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, Travis Scott and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
This year, the only battling will be between the music tastes of the diva-worshipping Mariah Carey fans, the old school punks who grew up with the Offspring and Blink-182, the classic rockers staying out past their bedtime for Lynryd Skynyrd, and pop music fans there to catch a glimpse of Twenty One Pilots and Yungblud. There’s also a focus on both emerging acts and francophone culture with plenty of programming representing a diverse cross-section of the music industry, including Éric Lapointe, Coeur De Pirate, Salomé Leclerc and Philippe Brach.
From July 4 to 14 the festival will be populating some of the Capital’s biggest music venues, theatres and nightclubs to roll out their extensive programming.
With 135,000 transferable passes sold each year at a reasonable price ($105/pass) the festival always sells out.
RUN TO THE HILLS – Navigating The Plains Of Abraham
Parallel to all of the action happening downtown, the Plains Of Abraham are sprawling with a capacity of more than 100,000. The Rolling Stones pushed those numbers to the max in true Stones fashion when they took the stage in 2015 and saw attendance peak at 102,000.
At night,the sea of attendees lights up with everyone wearing the festival’s signature flashing badges, blinking in unison to the music.
Headliners throughout this year’s 10 days include: Diplo, Kygo, Logic, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Mariah Carey, Lynryd Skynyrd, Alt-J, Blink-182, Slipknot, Imagine Dragons and more.
There are plenty of food — and drink — trucks onsite as well as wandering beer vendors to keep you hydrated.
FEQ is introducing a new venue this year at the Manège militaire (Québec Armoury) facing the Plains. It will be the festival’s headquarters with after-parties inside every day after the shows.
252 Rue Saint-Joseph Est
A historic auditorium located in the Saint-Roch district, Imperial Bell boasts great acoustics and an intimate atmosphere. Catch acts like: April Wine, Connan Mockasin, Courtney Barnett, Jean-Michel Blais and Voivod.
Régiment des Voltigeurs de Québec
805 Avenue Wilfrid-Laurier
The only military building in Canada recognized as a national historic site. Built as a gothic revival drill hall, the Québec Armoury is located in the heart of Old Québec and serves as an upscale destination that’s fully activated during FEQ.
240 Rue Saint-Joseph Est
A collaboration between restaurateur Louis McNeil and FEQ, District Saint-Joseph is a unique restaurant specializing in comfort food that also doubles as a bar and theatre.
L’ANTI Bar & Spectacles
251 Rue Dorchester
Steeped in punk rock nostalgia, L’Anti is a comfortable mid-sized live venue in downtown Quebec City that allows you to get up close and personal with the performers like: B.A.R.F., Wesbroom, Gutter Demons and local black metal legends Délétère.
228 Rue Saint-Joseph Est
Recently relocated from Old Quebec, the legendary Le D’Auteuil is now on St. Joseph Street, bringing a fresh new vibe for live music to the bustling Saint-Roch district.
Monastère des Augustine
77 Rue des Remparts – www.monastere.ca
If you’re looking to find god, this just might be the place to crash. A monastery and wellness hotel, put away your phones, zip your lips and enjoy the sounds of your friends chewing toast at their meditative silent breakfasts.
1 Rue des Carrières – www.fairmont.com/frontenac-quebec
Easily the fanciest hotel in Québec CIty, Château Frontenac is the icon of the city and one of the most photographed hotels in the world. Get your selfie sticks ready.
8 Rue Saint Antoine – www.saint-antoine.com
A boutique-hotel with tons of charm in the old port. Beck stayed here last year and it was likely the source of inspiration for his catchy summer anthem, “Wow.”
395 Couronne St – www.hotelpur.com
Located downtown in St-Roch, PUR boasts affordable rates and an upscale urban atmosphere. They also offer a unique thrill-seeking experience where you can rappel down from the top of the hotel so hang on tight.
Three MoreThings To See While In Quebec City
An island on the St. Lawrence River about five kilometres east of downtown Quebec City, cross the bridge to visit local farmers and vineyards. Cassis Mona & Filles (1225 Chemin Royal) is a great place to eat, drink and get an ice cream, all from the cassis fruit.
Perfect for a hot summer day, the chutes offer an outdoor experience with waterfalls and a zipline. Experience the Via Ferrata by clipping into a cable system and following a scenic circuit across rock formations alongside the falls. No outdoor experience necessary.
The best way to experience Quebec City’s vast history is on your feet. Grab a café glacé and take a stroll through Quartier Petit Champlain, ranked as one of the most beautiful streets in the world.
Where’s Bonhomme? We think QC’s mascot is way more badass than Philly’s Gritty — and much more useful in a snowball fight! Sadly, the big guy will be dragging his perpetually smiley face to China during FEQ — seriously, dude’s on tour. But you can always grab a selfie with his statue outside the Carnaval’s office (205 Boulevard des Cedres).
FEQ, Festival d’été de Québec, Quebec City