Each year, Festival d’été de Québec brings international superstars and incredible emerging talent to the Plains of Abraham and all over the streets of Québec City. The festival kicked off on July 6 and continues until July 16. ADDICTED was there to capture all the magic on opening weekend.
Montreal rock trio, Les Shirley, put on an electric show as they warmed up the stage before a double bill featuring Billy Talent and Weezer. The group channeled 90’s grunge and early 2000’s punk rock, combined with the upbeat melodies of modern pop. They delivered a show that had the thousands of people in Plains of Abraham head banging and singing along.
Billy Talent hit the stage with a burst of energy and punk rock grit. As the band approaches their 30 year anniversary, they acknowledged all their day one fans with a number of tracks from their very first album in their set. Halfway through the show, the band surprised the audience with a special appearance from original drummer, Aaron Solowoniuk, who took a break from performing with them in 2016 following an MS diagnosis. It was a special moment for the band and fans alike as everyone cheered when Solowoniuk appeared on stage before launching into a performance of their 2007 track, Pins and Needles.
Weezer took the stage at the end of Day 1 with a performance full of trippy visuals, elaborate decor, and mini costume changes. A giant, colourful structure in the shape of an old school car radio was built on the stage. Throughout the night, lead singer Rivers Cuomo would climb on top of it, strut around the structure, and perform a few songs from its peak. The band’s dedication to showmanship and fun stage presence made it a truly memorable performance.
Grandson kicked off Day 2 on the main stage with one of the most high-energy sets of the festival, blending dark pop with a bit of hip hop. The singer began the show sitting on a bench surrounded by street lights with a sign labelled I Love You, I’m Trying. He took this opportunity to show off his acting skills, as he sat on the bench and displayed a range of emotions ranging from sadness, distress, and dissociation. As his intro music played, this vignette painted a picture of a man riddled with regret. After the intro, he launched into a powerful performance running and jumping on stage as he hyped up the crowd.
Talk performed at the festival for the second year in a row, and delivered a heartwarming set. Throughout the show he made it clear how important Québec City is to him, as he draped the Québec flag over him like a cape and even showed off a tattoo of the flag that he got on his arm.
Imagine Dragons brought their larger-than-life pop music to the stage with a vibrant performance. Their already energetic tracks were amplified with confetti, streamers, smoke machines, and crowd interaction. The crowd of 90,000 people chanted and sang along at the top of their lungs to fan favourites like Believer and Radioactive.
Toronto-based indie rock singer, Loviet, got Day 3 started on the SiriusXM Stage at Parc de la Francophonie. Her killer vocals, combined with danceable pop melodies and a nod to grunge rock made her set the perfect show for pop and rock fans alike.
Over on the main stage, Starcrawler kicked off another lineup of grunge rock before White Reaper and Foo Fighters. Their lively performance and frantic energy got the crowd riled up and ready for a night of incredible music.
Nashville based singer-songwriter, Stephen Sanchez, played to an enthusiastic crowd on the Sirius XM stage. The singer effortlessly blended nostalgia-tinged crooning with pop sensibilities for a unique, but familiar sound. With incredibly smooth vocals and an infectious energy, it was impossible to not get carried away in Sanchez’s performance.
We ended our FEQ 2023 experience with an emotional and energizing set from Jessie Reyez on the Loto-Québec stage. The R&B/pop artist delivered a performance that was equally commanding and intimate. Throughout the show, she maintained clever banter with the crowd, and made the performance feel like a gathering between friends.
Festival d’été de Québec continues until July 16, 2023. Looking for some weekend plans? You can learn more and plan your trip on their website.