Acadian Artists Take The Spotlight In Francofete En Acadie

Close to 60 artists are scheduled to perform this week as a part of the 16th annual edition of Francofête en Acadie. Performers take the stage through to Sunday.

The musical celebration offers some of the best talent the francophone music scene has to offer. While the event is based in Atlantic Canada, a host of talent from beyond the region’s borders is scheduled to perform, including Quebecois artists Daran and Catherine Durand alongside Ontario groups AkoufèN and Mastik.

Atlantic Canadian artists are well represented, as well, with performances from Prince Edward Island’s Caroline Bernard, East Coast Music Award favourites Ten Strings and a Goat Skin and Nova Scotia’s Ryan Doucette. New Brunswick artists Dave Puhacz, Kevin McIntyre, Les Hay Babies, Cedric Vieno, Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire and Danny Boudreau are all slated to perform during the six-day event.

The official launch of Francofête en Acadie takes place on Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. at the Dieppe Arts and Culture Centre, at 331 Acadia Ave.

New to this year’s festival are late night musical showcases, which will be held at Plan b Lounge, located at 212 St. George St. in Moncton. The “Aft’heures du Plan b” will run Wednesday, Nov. 7, through Saturday, Nov. 10, and will host the likes of Phil Flowers, Fayo, the BackYard Devils, the Lonesome Line and Luc Mills.

In addition to Plan b Lounge, venues hosting shows include the Dieppe Arts and Culture Centre, the Capitol and Empress Theatres in downtown Moncton, as well as the Jeanne-de-Valois Auditorium on the Université de Moncton campus.

Jacinthe Comeau is the executive director of Francofête en Acadie, having started her role in the organization after holding a variety of other arts and culture roles in the province. While Francofête en Acadie is a music lover’s dream come true in terms of having so much talent concentrated in one city, the festival also provides aspiring artists and bands the opportunity to perform for a myriad of talent buyers and concert promoters from all over the world.

“We are welcoming 35 delegates to Francofête en Acadie this year,” Jacinthe says. “We have people coming in from Canada and the United States, but [we] also have delegates from Italy, Belgium and Switzerland that will be in attendance as well.”

While success at home is a big source of pride for virtually all Canadian artists, an international agenda certainly looms big on the wish list for many. What better way to start reaching an international audience than in your own backyard? Jacinthe says the successful tour of Lorient, France last year by the likes of Stephen LeBlanc, Les Hay Babies and others show the appetite for Acadian music is voracious, even half a world away.

“The tour that a number of Acadian artists undertook of Lorient earlier this year was a huge success. I believe a big dream for many of these performers is to be able to sell their shows to talent buyers from overseas,” Jacinthe says. “Francofête en Acadie is a wonderful platform for Acadian artists to sell their show.

“And, of course, with the showcases being open to the public, it is a wonderful opportunity for people to come out and discover some new music. Many of the shows that we are presenting, people are given the opportunity to see six different artists all in the context of one show. We always hope that this type of event will help stimulate people to check out these artists during the rest of the year.”

Article published in the November 7, 2012 edition of The Times & Transcript