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…More Day One Impressions

As I may have alluded to before, I’m from away. And as a result of some fortunate social accidents, I’ve come to meet some wonderful, true and generous people from Abitibi who have opened their homes and lives to me and introduced me to this place and the festival.
Among them are power couple Karine Sevigny, Director of the press gallery and Kavin Macdonald, Lodging Director. I can’t think of friendlier, or funnier people to join forces with at FME. As natives of the region,their continuing work each year on FME shines as a labour of love and is a perfect example for me of Quebecois community spirit. The spirit that places art, culture and friendship in the top echelon of human pursuit.
As is bound to happen to a struggling Anglo in Rouyn, the language center of my brain began to seize up from the effort of comprehension and smoke bgan to issue from my ears like some sort of old diesel powered contraption. Subconsciously, I began to tune in to english voices, and decided to try and find out how other strangers found themselves here. It will be an ongoing effort throughout the festival.
Last night during the opening set of French Djs Alex & Kem (it’s always great to see DJ’s have an unabashedly good time while warming up a crowd with great tunes from Rockabilly to Punk), I had the pleasure of running into the Ali family (Sonny, Nathalie and daughter Camille). Sonny is a transplant from T.O. who came here for love and settled happily, so happily he’s brought his friend Frank from Ottawa. A music fan who seemed pleasantly surprised by the festivities thus far.
…And that’s how it happens, an emerging music festival gains national acclaim and a small mining town’s population increasing nearly 50% over 4 days.



Day One…First Impressions

All that talk about emergency ponchos, and what do I fail to bring?
In actuality, by the time it began showering intermittently toward the end of the night, it was time for a cool down. You would never know the summer was on it’s way out by the mid July-like sun and humidity that we enjoyed all day. Perfection.
FME’s opening day is always a day of anticipation, reunions and new introductions.
After a brief visit to the bustling FME nerve center, »La Maison En Sol Mineur », to pick up our passes, we headed back to the outside venue at 7e Rue.
…Just in time to witness the opening ceremony. A beautifully bizarre pagan procession led by an 8 foot tall, hooved ballerina with massive antlers and a sandpipers bill. This stunning chimeric symbol of this year’s festival, and indeed the whole unified artistic vision from typesets to set dressings is the brainchild of Karine Berthiaume. She is one of the founders of FME and it’s Artistic Director…

…more shortly,