Five Reasons to Visit Festival d’été de Québec

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Québec City a lively backdrop for Canada’s largest urban festival

This past weekend, I had the honour of being personally invited to Festival d’été de Québec. And it was a total blast.

Billed as Canada’s largest urban festival, the festival kicked off Thursday, July 4 and runs until July 14, and features one of the impressive festival line-ups in the country.

Taking place across Québec City amidst historical sites such as the Plains of Abraham and the Citadel, Festival d’été is a energetic celebration amidst a beautiful backdrop.

Which is reason enough to attend, but here are five more.

festival dete stage 2

The Music

Boasting over 1,000 artists at 300 shows, Festival d’été brought together one of the most diverse line-ups in Canada that spanned over ten days of music. Yeah, I got to see Bad Religion and the Wu Tang Clan within the same hour – c’est fou!

And the best part? The price tag. At $76 for a full festival pass, that works out to roughly $.08 per artist. Or $.25 per show. Which, on average is probably a lot less than you would pay at most other Canadian music festivals.

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The People

A lot of work goes in to making a 10-day long music event happen, and the staff and promoters for Festival d’été were not only efficient but exceptionally friendly.

And the citizens of the city are similarly excited to have travelers in their midst.

One of my favourite moments was striking up a conversation with two complete strangers for the entirety of the walk from the festival main stages down to the afterhours venues in the lower part of the city.

Also, the robots. Walking down Saint-Joseph, a friendly automaton, who resembled Johnny Five from rolled up and winked at me. Which, for some reason, filled me with a lot of strange and conflicting feelings…

quebec city stairs

The City

Québec City is easily one of the most beautiful areas of Canada. Situated on the banks of the St. Laurence/Lawrence River, typical sights of the city include picturesque battlements amongst modern buildings, historic sites amongst boutiques and cafes, and sailboats drifting lazily in the harbour.

quebec city castle

The History

Quebec City is one of the oldest European settlements in North America, when French explorer Jacques Cartier built a fort at the site in 1535 – it became a permanent site in 1608, according to Wikipedia. Which makes venue hopping at the festival all the more interesting. After all, where else in Canada could you go see the Wu Tang Clan rap on one of the Plains of Abraham, the country’s most storied battlefield?

festival dete wu tang crowd

The Party

This is Québec after all. With a lax attitude towards drinking in public (don’t be a douche, warn the locals) and cheap, potent liquor found at every corner depanneur, there are plenty of chances to get your rocks on and off. Featuring a teeming nightlife with bars packed with partygoers, the streets are more or less alive and boisterous until last call, which usually happens close to 3am.

Now that’s a civilized cut-off.

Click HERE for our Top Moments of Festival d’été de Québec: Review, Photo Essay