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People here know how to celebrate

There are many ways to switch off and relax, and every one has their own way. For me, it is to lace up my shoes and hit the streets of Rouyn-Noranda, feel the warm sun on my face and fill my ears with music, or see a music concert and forget about time… for a few hours! Letting go! Letting go from today’s crazy lifestyle in which performance is highly valued, in which we are expected to be the best and better people. It can be difficult to strive for maintaining our balance. That’s why we need to give ourselves permission to SWITCH OFF!

When I need to switch off, being a spectator at a concert is what works best for me. Just being there, not being in command, enjoying the moment, a few hours where it’s never out of place to let go and open oneself up to discoveries. Here in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, we are particularly spoiled in terms of number and variety of festivals. In Rouyn-Noranda only, we have over a dozen festivals. This is evidence of Abitibi-Témiscamingue’s cultural effervescence and exuberance.

FME 2016
Photo : FME / Louis Jalbert

The charm of Abitibi-Témiscamingue’s festivals

I admit it. I’ve got a real soft spot for one festival. This won’t come as a surprise to those who know me. I am particularly fond of FME. Year after year, this festival takes me on new paths. I enjoy admiring the urban scenography, discovering talents, getting together with friends, eating out before concerts, getting a text message saying there’s a surprise performance in 10 minutes’ time. Even waiting in line to go to the washroom is part of the excitement. All those "small things" make it a pleasure to return.

Sonia Demontigny
Try to guess where I am in this picture! - Photo : FME / Christian Leduc

People from here knows to celebrate

Some go as far as organizing "hidden shows" in back streets for their music to be heard, while others improvise "pancake fights" in the parking area next to Cabaret de la dernière chance. (According to people who once took part in a food fight, the participants form two clans, one clan on each side of the parking area. When the "referee" cries GO, they start throwing pancakes at each other, putting all their energy to it. When there’s no pancake left, they use the ones on the ground and keep going… This story seem a bit doubtful, I admit, but still...)

One thing’s for sure: festivals are nurturing environments for unlikely situations. That’s what makes the charm of our festivals.