FME 2020: A Special COVID-19 Edition Celebrating Artists and Music Lovers

The Festival de musique émergente (FME) has officially announced its 18th edition, to be held September 3–5, 2020. After a long period without concerts, the FME team felt it was important to offer music lovers and artists a festival that hearkens back to the early days of the festival. This reduced, small-scale edition features about twenty musical projects. It goes without saying that these concerts will scrupulously adhere to public health guidelines; as such, it will be a highly unusual edition, with strictly limited venue capacities and quality, intimate performances.

Programming that recalls the early days of the FME
Once again this year, SiriusXM collaborates with Vidéotron to present a variety of musical discoveries for small audiences at various venues throughout the city. Artists will have the chance to perform under the SiriusXM banner on the Lake Osisko peninsula, at the Flavrian Lake Outdoor Centre, and at the Noranda Golf Club. These programmes feature Quebecois projects in all genres, including emerging artists. Particular consideration has been given to groups whose career strategies have been gravely affected by the pandemic: Aliocha’s new album; Laurence Hélie’s English-language project Mirabelle; the prolific Rosie Valland; the up-and-coming act Anachnid; promising rock band Zen Bamboo;  female punk project NOBRO; and the psych-rock duo Les Deuxluxes, who launched an album at the beginning of the year. We will also be treated to premieres including the prelaunch of a new project by Carla Blanc (of Dear Criminals fame); Meggie Lennon;  Jonathan Personne; and Gus Englehorn. We welcome with great interest the promising hip-hop project Backxwash, shortlisted for the Polaris Prize. And we must not forget favourites from years past, including Maude Audet, Les Louanges, CorridorLes ShirleyFUUDGE, Jesse Mac Cormack , and We Are Wolves.  For his part, Gab Bouchard  will roam the streets and alleys of the city with his revue Au pays des pick-up.  The Bleu Jeans Bleu will also visit Abitibi-Témiscamingue for the first time to unveil their new project. Clay and Friends will offer their vibrant, traditional family show Agnico Eagle, and Neoclassical group Flore Laurentienne will showcase a rare mix of strings and synthesizers. On the hip-hop side, we welcome Lary Kidd, KNLOBrown Family, and Eman. Most concerts will be presented twice in order to double capacity. See the complete schedule here.

A la carte programming

In contrast to their usual editions, festivalgoers may purchase only single tickets, at modest cost. Note that anyone who wishes to attend a concert (even a free one) must reserve their place at their online ticket office. No passports will be offered for sale. Each reservation is limited to four tickets total, for all concerts. Festivalgoers may make unlimited reservations consecutively, but each is limited to four tickets. The ticket office will go online on August 13 at 11:30 a.m. on the FME website. Because hall capacities are drastically reduced, it is recommended that you reserve early.

Details of the 18th Edition

This year, the Desjardins Stage at Kiwanis Lake will have a maximum capacity of 250, as recommended by public health authorities. There will be many other venues, also with limited capacities, scattered around Rouyn-Noranda. These include “5-à-7“ and evening concerts, as well as a few daytime surprises.

An information kiosk will be set up on the pedestrian street in the city centre. Here, guests can find information about this year’s reduced-format festival, including any scheduling changes, details about each show, ticketing information, and more. A DJ will provide ambiance at the kiosk during the day. A second information kiosk will be located in the curling arena.

The FME Hub

For the 18th Edition, the curling arena at 218 Murdoch Ave. will be transformed into the FME Hub. It will house CFME Radio, the VR Garden, the online ticket office, the FME merchandise kiosk, and the physical ticket office.

FME is pleased to announce the return of CFME, the FME’s dedicated radio station. From noon to midnight, its programming will include various original content. It will be on the air starting August 28 at 100.5 FM and at Once again, CFME will feature visits from local media figures including Barbara-Judith Caron from Urbania, Louis-Philippe Labrèche from Culture Cible, and the regional podcast Appropriation culturelle. All are welcome to watch the radio broadcasts live; however, space is limited in order to abide by public health regulations.

The VR Garden returns as well, for a third consecutive year! This year’s feature is the premiere of Asteria ahead of its official launch in the fall. This is a new multimedia experience created by a group of Quebec artists. Incorporating music and the discovery of immersive, intoxicating worlds, the work allows you to rediscover a composition by one of your favourite artists. The Garden is open Thursday and Friday from 5 to 10pm and Saturday from 1 to 10pm.

Finally, festivalgoers can buy clothes and other FME2020 merchandise at both the curling arena and the information kiosk on the pedestrian street downtown. Because of limitations imposed by COVID-19, it will not be possible to try items on before purchase. Catalogues will be available onsite to assist in sizing.

COVID-19 Regulations

They are working hard to provide a colourful event for festivalgoers. That said, it is important to respect public health guidelines to assure safety. Masks will be mandatory in public spaces, distancing must be respected at all times, and disinfection is required for all festivalgoers upon arrival at festival venues. Failure to comply with these regulations will result in show suspensions or cancellations.

Pro Zone La 101

Four shows will be videotaped during the festival and presented the following week on this platform for professionals, entitled Pro Zone La 101. After the video presentations, there will be Q-and-A sessions with the artists and their management teams. Industry players will be matched up according to their interests in virtual meeting rooms, in order to exchange ideas and promote cooperation.


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