(Montreal) In downtown Montreal, the festive season begins.
Sound tests are taking place Friday night on a concert stage – the second day of the Just for Laughs Festival, under the auspices of the Quartier des. Tickets for the festival’s free public performances, restricted by COVID-19 regulations, have found buyers.
Two blocks away, the soundtrack by Isaac Neto was attended by hundreds of people – as part of the final weekend of the Newts de Africa International Festival, a music festival from the African continent and the African Diaspora.
With venues limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, festival organizers are happy to be back, but look forward to next year hoping that limitations on limitations and capacity will not affect their plans.
Charles Decari, CEO of Just for Laughs Group, said it was a “year of transition” and that his team created a festival by navigating the barriers imposed by public health.
When planning began in February and March, the organizers worked on a number of scenarios with different group sizes ranging from audience numbers to half of normal capacity, Decari said.
“You have to build scenes,” he explained. You need to plan a little more than usual so you have alternatives. ”
As in the past, the festivals include paid indoor performances and free outdoor performances. Outside, there will be fewer stages and smaller groups than in recent years, Decari said. Indoor shows operate at 30% of their capacity, while outdoor shows account for 10-20% of the pre-epidemic audience.
“Normally, we welcome one million people at festivals in 15 days. This year, we would be happy if 200,000 people visit us in the next two weeks,” Decari said.
In Quebec, public events can have a maximum of 5,000 people, which should be divided into 500 separate sections. Indoor events are limited to 3,500 spectators, they must seat 250 people, with separate entrances and toilets for each section.
Due to border restrictions, Mr Deskari described it as a “major concern”, with some of the performances being filmed in New York and Los Angeles and shown online.
“This is how we were able to reach international talent,” he said. We decided to change the way we do things and we went to them. ”
He said local artists will take part in in-person shows.
He said other Montreal festivals plan to bypass border boundaries by focusing on local artists.
Suzanne Rousseau, the festival’s general director and co – founder, said Friday that the Nuits de Africa International Festival showcases local artists and performances from previous years.
“The first few nights were, in particular, wonderful,” she said of the festival, which began on July 6. The artists said: “This is my first public show of the year”. ”
The exterior of the festival consists of two small cabaret-style stages, M.To me Rousseau. Instead of the main stage, a sound and light show is performed on a building. It will feature filmed performances illustrating the festival’s 35-year history.
“The important thing is that those who go to the festival can see and watch the performances in person,” she says. And accessing online benefits for people who cannot reach or travel to Montreal. ”
OmTo me Rousseau said he hopes to keep some shutters online in the coming years and also want to do a big festival next year.
“We are so happy to be celebrating this year, it will prepare us for next year,” she said. It gives the hope of being ready to receive more people, more performances and a full experience. ”
Some major summer festivals in Montreal, including the Montreal International Jazz Festival, have been postponed to September. OmTo me Rousseau, however, said he had never considered delaying the Newts de Africa festival this year.
“It’s important to be there in the summer. There is no doubt that we are going to do this, ”she said.
Francis Bouchard, a spokeswoman for Tourism Montreal, a non-profit organization that promotes the city’s tourism, said the festival would be postponed until October this year. It is encouraging that festivals and events that were postponed or canceled last year are coming back this summer and fall.
“It’s very relieving to be back,” Mr Bouchard said. He said while border restrictions were restricting visitors, tourism advertising campaigns were now targeting Canadians.
Mr Decary said he was optimistic about the future of the festival in Montreal, adding that people were “hungry” to celebrate the summer in the city.
“We’re excited,” he said. We are back. ”