Why Festival dete de Quebec should be on your summer bucket list

Festival dete de Quebec is returning to Quebec City for its 52nd edition this summer, running from July 4-14, with.


Festival dete de Quebec is returning to Quebec City for its 52nd edition this summer, running from July 4-14, with a lineup that includes Diplo, Mariah Carey, Blink-182, alt-J, Slipknot, Logic, Twenty One Pilots, Courtney Barnett and more. You can buy your tickets for all 11 days for $105 at feq.ca.

If youre looking at that eclectic list of artists and the price and thinking, wait, how did I not know about this? youre asking the right question. Its a huge, historic festival in a beautiful city, yet is not as well known as many of its festival counterparts. But it should be. Heres why.

The pleasantly strange assortment of names in short succession above (Mariah Carey and Slipknot!?) should already give you a sense of Festival dete de Quebecs scope, but its really just a small survey of the sounds and genres on offer.

Theres hip-hop (A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Loud, Haviah Mighty), dreamy R&B (Daniel Caesar), big-stage EDM (Kygo), classic rock and blues (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Buddy Guy), classic Canrock (Moist), Quebecois stars (Coeur de pirate, Eric Lapointe, Safia Nolin), pop punk and ska (The Offspring, The Planet Smashers), indie rock (U.S. Girls, Bahamas, Mercury Rev, First Aid Kit) and thats still just a small fraction of the more than 250 shows.

Its not an overstatement to say there is something for everyone, and because of the way the festival is curated and the way the pass works you can easily pick and choose based on your tastes without worrying youre wasting your money or time. (Theres also free pop-up shows through the fest.)

Its also not a cliche to say Festival dete de Quebec is hiding in plain sight its literally one of the biggest festivals in North America. People pass through the gates more than a million times each year, taking in music at 10 different venues and stages all within walking distance in the downtown of Quebec City most at outdoor stages, but also within concert venues like lImperial Bell.

But the central Bell Stage is the most sublime and overwhelming. Located on the Plains of Abraham, the capacity is over 80,000 a sea of faces and light-up badges that often leaves even the most seasoned headliners speechless. Its one of the biggest stages youll ever see, and each nights program is curated based on a genre or theme so you can visit on the nights that most suit you.

Beyond the fact that the pass is $105 for a mega-fest, its also transferable. So if youre there for Mimi and your friend is there for Blink, you can hand your pass back and forth and catch the shows youre interested in. But also no judgment if youre into both.

Theres been a lot of hype about the 50th anniversary of Woodstock this year (not to mention an anniversary festival that may or may not be taking place), but Festival dete de Quebec is older than Woodstock. Its older than Glastonbury. And its been running continuously every year since it started in 1968. That makes it one of the longest-running music festivals in the world.

But thats dwarfed by the history of Quebec City itself, which is inseparable from the fest. Headliners like Slipknot are playing right where one of the pivotal battles that formed modern day Canada took place over three centuries ago.

And this year, theres a new venue including a terasse at the Manege militaire (the Quebec City armoury), which just reopened last year after a fire left it out of commission for a decade. Its where you can grab a cocktail or a snack before shows, catch Q&As with artists and after-parties that last till 2 am. Much of that programming is still TBA, but one thing that is announced: a prom night-themed Mariah Carey party. Wear your best ruffled tux or 90s prom dress to the Plains of Abraham (something you probably never thought youd do) and then continue to dance to diva hits at the after-party.

Beyond the music, Festival dete de Quebec is an opportunity to be a tourist in Quebec City which, if youve never been, is filled with beautiful architecture and restaurants. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the city one of the oldest in the continent because concerts typically dont start until 5 or 6 pm. Compared to the smelly tent experience, or even its glamping equivalent, that makes it a laid-back fest, with just as much time to hang out in an interesting city as to watch your favourite bands.

Find the full schedule and lineup at feq.ca.

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