19 Jul Les Cowboys Fringants give an emotional closure to FEQ 2023
In between Quebec classics, record audience figures and uncountable tears, Les Cowboys Fringants closed the 55 edition of the Festival d’été de Québec (FEQ).
Never before had a Quebec artist attracted more spectators to the Plains of Abraham as part of the Summer Festival. The band was scheduled to appear last Thursday, the 13th, but an electrical storm prevented this presentation. Then, in an unusual but very appreciated logistics movement, the FEQ was extended for 12 days to conclude on Monday the 17th.
The band conformed by Karl Tremblay, Jean-François Pauzé, Marie-Annick Lépine and Jérôme Dupras came out around 9:30 PM, and in between violin cords played by Lépine, they opened the historic show with “Ici‐bas” which made the approximately 90,000 attendees cheer and yell in excitement.
The emotions were high not only for the presence of this emblematic Quebec band, but also because the vocalist Karl Tremblay has been fighting a battle against cancer that sadly seems to be losing, since his wife, Lépine, announced a few months ago that the treatment was no longer working.
Despite the sad perspectives, the band remained optimistic, inviting the audience to sing themes like “La manifestation”, “La Reine” or “Les maisons toutes pareilles” and of course the popular “Sur mon épaule”, a moment where the cellphones were taken out to light up the spirits, and the sky, at the same time.
Even when Tremblay was having some difficulties at some point, and Jean-François Pauzé approached the microphone to announce that he was taking a break, the vocalist himself interrupted to say “We will take the break later” and later sat in a chair in a moment celebrated by the fans.
Able to move from politics to human nature, from the environmental cause to the little things of everyday life, the enduring spirit that drives this country-folk music band continued on full display on the Plains with songs like “Joyeux calvaire!”, “Awikatchikaën”, where Jérôme Dupras jumped to the crowd, and “Tant qu’on aura de l’amour”.
After an encore that included “Marine marchande” performed with Sara Dufour, the last song of the show was “Les étoiles filantes” (Shooting Stars), which felt even more special by all the lights created by the audience that surely brightened the band hearts; whom, in return, delivered an additional surprise song: “Un p’tit tour”, that marked the end of the historic 12 day event that Karl defined as “The most beautiful festival in the world”.
*A spokesperson for the Cowboys Fringants confirmed that the dates of shows that are on the group’s
Por: Mariana Mijares
Fotos: Cortesía Festival d’été de Québec (FEQ)