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DISPATCH 04: La Saint-Jean, revisited

June 2020

We’ve made it our mission to keep you in the loop of what’s happening in Québec. So we couldn’t afford to pass up the chance to give you a quick rundown of our Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day traditions—even if they will be somewhat non-traditional this time around because, well, COVID. Regularly scheduled events might all be cancelled, but our national holiday is still our national holiday. So here’s a preview of what will be happening in la Belle Province this year, in the absence of our customary group cheers on the Plains of Abraham. Oh, and don’t forget that the shop will be closed on Wednesday, June 24, and that the team will be busy relaxing and raising a few glasses to our beloved Québec. True to form, we’ll be back at it on Thursday, June 25.
Happy reading!

Celebrating to the tune of la Saint-Jean, with lots of laughs (and a lot more inclusiveness)

It goes without saying that everything will be online this year. No parades, no live music, no bonfires—and no shortage of inspiring ideas and feel-good moments. The biggest shows have been replaced by Tout le Québec à l’unisson, a major event featuring a number of Québec artists, recorded at the Cogeco amphitheatre in Trois-Rivières and broadcast on Québec’s main francophone television networks. Of course, not everyone was pleased with the event’s scheduled lineup. According to many, the same group of “privileged” (and mostly white) Québec artists was still being put in the spotlight, leaving no room for emerging artists or visible minorities—and all this despite the current context of the Black Lives Matter movement. Singer Safia Nolin jumped at the opportunity to organize Saint-Jeanne, an online-only event that puts inclusivity at the forefront, shining a spotlight on minority artists and the LGBTQ2+ community and (hopefully) opening up a dialogue on the social changes Québec should be embracing.

Even online, the laughs and the music will still be there (because it wouldn’t be la Saint-Jean without them, now would it?). There’ll be stand up comedian Phil Laprise’s La Saint-Jean des chroniqueurs, and old-school bands like Kaïn, who’ll be taking to the stage for the first time in 20 years for la Fête nationale to broadcast a fireside concert. And we can’t forget Les Cowboys Fringants, who wouldn’t dare consider taking June 24 off…

COVID might have gotten the better of our festivals and events, but it certainly didn’t affect the passion we Quebecers have for our culture, our history and, above all, our values. And even though we’ve still got a long way to go, Québec remains a distinct society where diversity is at the heart of all we do, and where it matters that we make room for everyone. Around a campfire—just like everywhere else.

Photo credit | John Cobb Artwork

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