There’s Canadian festivals, and then then there’s Festival d’été — an 11-day festival that takes place throughout Québec City, and where their main acts perform outside a castle. Wait, wait, and the pass for those 11 days is $100 pre-sale and $110 after that time.
We had an amazing time last year getting to know the festival, which has been running since 1968, so when we found out we were going back, we knew it was about to be a perfect weekend. With The Weeknd, Future, Lil Yachty, Killy, Langston Francis and Brockhampton [who have been a little hesitant to perform since removing a member due to sexual harassment allegations] headlining on the Rap/R&B side, as well as acts like Chromeo, Bonobo and Canadian legend Neil Young, it allowed for an especially diverse crowd, across all ages, to be involved with the festival weekend.
Taking place on the Plains of Abraham, the site of a historic battle that took place in the 1700s, and not too far from Chateau Frontenac, the festival grounds are uniquely special. Add in upwards of 325,000 of your closest friends (roughly 1 million throughout the festival run) and you’re bound to get caught up in nothing more than the music.
While we knew what to expect, it’s always amazing to see it live in action. After we finished watching Brockhampton’s energetic set, we got ready to see The Weeknd and started talking to a few fans. Some had been there for 10 hours in the 104F (40*C) heat, exhausted, dehydrated, but incredibly excited. That seemed to be the trend for the weekend, though these fans powered through. Security handed out water bottles, and took fan after fan out of the trenches when they couldn’t take it anymore – I’m not sure if that’s dedication or utter insanity, but they were determined.
While The Weeknd performed on a dimly lit stage, on Sunday, Lil Yachty and Killy went directly to the crowds. In particular, Yachty had his traditional water fight, throwing out dozens of water bottles (save the turtles!), requesting fans not to drink it, and on his mark, a water fight ensued. Wasteful? Absolutely. A moment to remember? Probably.
Not so rememberable, however, was Neil Young. No shade, but the first song was 15-minutes long, and Bonobo was close by… Needless to say, the photographers had a blast with the first three songs, which amounted to 40 minutes. At least I can say I saw him. While Neil Young performed for generations before me on Saturday, Future closed out our festival experience on Sunday, giving what may have been his best performance I’ve seen to date.
From his dancers to his artistic presence, the Atlanta rapper held the crowd down for a seemingly endless performance. He went back into his catalogue from when he first came out, right up to 2018 – minus his latest release, which dropped that day.
Music aside, there’s something special about Quebec City during Festival d’été – it’s just one of those things you have to experience once to understand. Thank you FEQ for another incredible year.
The views of our contributors are their own, and not necessarily those of Boi-1da.