FILED BY MARCEL
hundred kilometers from Montreal along the mighty and majestic
St. Lawrence River lies the historical city of Rimouski, population
43,000. Founded in 1696, it’s an important maritime city
that takes pride in its great nautical traditions.
up by rolling hills that offer panoramic views of the Gulf as
well as splendid drives on its quaint rural roads, the region
is frequented by tourists from both within and without Quebec.
are an innovative people for whom every project and initiative
are guaranteed to enhance the city's numerous attractions. Foremost
among them is the annual Rimouski
International Jazz Festival that will be celebrating
its 24th year during the Labour Day weekend.
never been to Rimouski, think of big city jazz festivals without
the negatives: parking is easy and plentiful, crowds are very
manageable, the air is pollution
free, and ticket prices are as much as 50% less than in the big
city. Even better, Rimouski promises the best in jazz, which is
why visitors come from far to hear the likes of Russell
Malone, Paquito D’Rivera, Brad Mehldau, Bill
Frisell, Joe Lovano, Gary Burton, Dave Brubeck and McCoy Tyner,
artists who have performed over the years in Rimouski. The event
is also a great stimulus for local emerging talent. From the nearby
village of Ste. Eloi, internationally reputed bassist Alain Caron
got his start in Rimouski; and since the passing of legend Stéphane
Grappelli has become the city’s favourite son.
takes place at Beauséjour
Park that overlooks the Gulf of the St. Lawrence.
The main stage is just across the street from the city’s
famous 3.5 kilometer, non-commercial boardwalk that features a
lookout as well as a colourful, sail-studded marina that
provides safe harbour for local and visiting aquatraffic. Directly
across the street from the boardwalk is the city center with its
many historical grey stone buildings, and of course a mouth-watering
selection of outdoor restaurants specializing in the inimitable
the course of four days, concerts, which begin in the late afternoon
until the bewitching hour, take
place in either the major indoor concert hall or the two major
outdoor stages, one of which is protected from the elements. Visitors
are encouraged to bring folding chairs and whatever else it takes
to assure the living is easy for the duration of the festival.
There’s also a huge area set aside for children’s
activities as well as music classes and concerts for kids, and
of course monitors to look after them both indoors and outdoors.
with 4 days of what's best in jazz, you’ll be treated to
authentic French Canadian architecture (the area is also celebrated
for its painters and wood sculptors) and hospitality that you’ll
be hard pressed to find elsewhere. You’ll
be received in the language of your choice and thanks to the festival’s
eclectic programming, you’ll be able to take in the music
of your choice, which translates into you can have your cake and
eat it too -- and all that and more at the 24th edition of The
Rimouski International Jazz Festival.
© MARCEL DUBOIS