In July 2019, as the first edition of Soif de Musique drew to a close, the organizers of the Cowansville music festival had reason to hope that they had spawned an annual tradition. Then came the pandemic. The 2020 festival was cancelled completely, and the 2021 edition was scaled down.
For the second full edition of the festival, scheduled from July 7-10 in the parking lot of the Pavillon des Sports, cofounders Philippe Mercier, Edouard Lagacé and Josiane Noiseux have dug deep, booking Charlotte Cardin, Coeur de Pirate, folk-rock stalwarts Les Cowboys Fringants and rapper FouKi. Anglophone rising country star Matt Lang will also perform, along with a long list of local artists including Maxyme (Bromont) and Séné (Granby).
The town of Cowansville is one of the event’s major sponsors. “For the municipality this is a significant event, and it will also be good for morale; we can finally envision a return to normality,” said Cowansville mayor Sylvie Beauregard. “It will bring a lot of people and make a lot of people happy…we’re proud to be a partner.” The festival also received support from the MRC Brome-Missisquoi, SODEC and the federal government’s Musicaction program.
Cowansville residents and Desjardins members who buy their festival passports on presale will pay only $40, and others will pay $45, via sponsorship from Cowansville and from Desjardins. Day passes will be available for $25, $20 for Cowansville residents and Desjardins members. Bleacher seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. The capacity of the site, including bleachers and standing capacity, is around 10,000 people, Mercier estimated.
The word “normality” is music to the ears of Cowansville native and folk-rock performer Pierre-Luc Belval. A performer at the first edition of Soif de Musique, he has waited two long years to take the stage again. “Fortunately, I didn’t lose everything during the pandemic, because I also have a web design business – my eggs weren’t all in one basket,” he says. “But on the music side, everything stopped.” He says during times when measures were less strict, he did get to perform in restaurants and bars “because everyone wanted to encourage artists,” but he still hasn’t gotten back to a performance schedule that resembles pre-pandemic normal.”
“The return of festivals is going to be great for everyone,” he says. “Having to wear a mask to go to an event isn’t the end of the world – the important thing is performing in front of a live audience.”
“Normal means being on stage like before without many restrictions,” says Maxyme, 19, who will play her biggest show since before the pandemic when she takes the
Soif de Musique stage. “I missed that a lot. That’s when I feel most alive.”
For more information and to see the full program, visit soifdemusique.com