Bilingual concert event returns to Gananoque bigger and better

Joel Stone Park in Gananoque. Photo by Deb Keogh Photography.

It’s the time of year again for free waterfront concerts in Gananoque at the town’s waterfront amphitheatre in Joel Stone Park.

The fun started two weeks ago with the return of the Summer Concert Series, which takes place Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Those attending are asked to bring their own chairs.

Now, this coming weekend, Le FestivILES is back for its second year. This year’s edition will feature a weekend full of live music and a pop-up market.

“We’re three nights instead of one,” said David Osmond, a town councillor who also helped organize the bilingual event alongside Nathalie Lavergne, the producer of the event.

Last year’s festival was a one-day only concert, headlined by Michel Pagliaro.

“It was the largest gathering I had seen down there since a fireworks type of event,” said Osmond. “People guess that about 1,000 people attended last year’s Pagliaro concert.”

This year’s headliner is Paul Langlois Band.

“I’m really excited to see what happens in Gananoque that night,” said Osmond. “It’s not often you get to have a member of the Tragically Hip that’s going to come here and put on a great show. I’m hoping we pack the place and everyone has a great time.”

In total, seven bands will be performing, a pop-up market will be held every day, and the festival is entirely free for those attending. The event will run rain or shine.

Image via Le FestivILES on Facebook.

Le FestivILES started out as an idea to celebrate and welcome Francophone visitors. It was a hit with the community and participants, so much so that organizers decided to expand it this year.

The weekend of bilingual concerts has been strategically placed on July 28 to July 30 — also known as the first week of the construction holiday in Quebec. The idea is to attract tourists from La Belle Province to come to the area.

“We want to let it grow naturally,” said Osmond. “I don’t see how it would make much sense to go from one day to six days or two weeks. I know people in Gananoque and the area are excited to have waterfront concerts, and between us and the Summer Concert Series, we’re trying to put on as good of a show that we can and take advantage of one of the best waterfronts in Eastern Ontario. We thought that last year went well enough, let’s see what happens if we add two more nights.”

Performing live on Friday will be George Tierney (6 to 7 p.m.) and The Vaudevillians (7:30 to 8:30 p.m.). Saturday’s lineup features Les Soliloques (4:30 to 5:30 p.m.), The BackSteps (6:30 to 7:30 p.m.), and Paul Langlois Band (8 to 9 p.m.). On Sunday, the weekend wraps up with Norbert Lepage (1 to 2 p.m.) and Josee Brault (2:30 to 3:30 p.m.).

The market is open Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, go to Le FestivILES’s Facebook page.

Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!