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By Jade Bourgeois

FRIMAT is back for a 17th year this weekend, July 21-23, and I guarantee it’ll be a blast! As usual, the eclectic program brings together some of the best-known names alongside up-and-coming artists. So, it’s off to Val-d’Or for a warm and friendly musical adventure!

Programming for all ages and a big move

On the heels of the 2021 COVID edition at the Saint-Sauveur church in Val-d’Or (still amazing, by the way!), FRIMAT is moving its Friday and Saturday evening events to the Bourlamaque Mining Village, at La Cité de l’Or. The shows will be held indoors, in the Réserve à minerai and Chevalement rooms. As usual, festival goers will discover new artists while grooving to familiar tunes.

Marjo, Dumas, Lou-Adriane Cassidy, Gazoline, Naomi, Feu toute!, Après l’asphalte and Confiture Maison will rock the Réserve à minerai room (go on, I dare you not to belt out the chorus of Provocante), while Tito, Skiifall, Rowjay, Mort Rose and Blesse will wind things down with after-shows in the smaller Chevalement room. But that’s not all! This fun weekend will kick off with a free show by Figurette (an excellent Val-d’Or band!) and Alex Burger at Parc Albert-Dumais on Thursday, July 21, against the backdrop of the 3rd avenue sidewalk sale.

And FRIMAT hasn’t forgotten about fans of happy hour on the patio! Charlotte Brousseau and Rau Ze, two standouts from the 2022 Francouvertes, will play on the gorgeous rooftop patio at Le Prospecteur microbrewery on Friday and Saturday, July 21 and 22. As a patio lover myself, I’ll be there enjoying a refreshing sour beer and an appetizer of delicious pépites d’or (DEEP-FRIED cheese curds from Fromagerie La vache à Maillotte).

What about the Vitrine artists?
To participate in the Vitrine de la relève, at least one member of your band has to be from Abitibi-Témiscamingue. This year’s contest winners Après l’asphalte and Confiture Maison will perform at Cité de l’Or. They take over from Et on déjeune and Excavation & poésie, who had the crowd jumping and dancing on the church pews (shhh, don’t tell the priest!) in summer 2021.

The all-female Témiscamingue band Et on déjeune also performed at the festival in 2021, as part of the Vitrine de la relève.

FRI… what?
an acronym for Festival de la Relève Indépendante Musicale en Abitibi-Témiscamingue—a long name that’s also the organization’s mission statement, which is to showcase local up-and-comers alongside well-known industry pros, like Marjo and Dumas this year (not to be missed!) and Richard Desjardins in 2021 (that’s right, Richard Desjardins, the pride of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, who never fails to impress).

Richard Desjardins is one of the biggest names to have participated in the festival.

So, add the festival to your tour of the (many) events taking place in the area and get ready to party into the wee hours—the last shows wrap up around 1:30 a.m... I have a feeling Restaurant Bénédictine will be serving up a lot of mid-afternoon brunches!

Photos credit : Maryse Boyce