To believe Michel Gervais, the time when the country enthusiasts were frowned upon is gone. While the 24th Festival Grand Gatineau country draws to a close, the president of the event speaks to a younger edition and more popular than ever.
The festival rejuvenation was particularly noticeable during shows on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, which had as headliners the winner of the show The Voice Stephanie St-Jean and Irvin Blais and his musicians. Same scenario on Friday, with a young stage doubled formed from the former winner of the same issue, Yoan Garneau, 21, followed by Alberta’s Brett Kissel, 26.
“In the last five years have rejuvenated our customers 30 years, says Michel Gervais. We feel that people have less and less afraid to show country. We wanted to have the recruitment for volunteers, and we had 18 girls, 20 who said they were country girls! ”
The public has not only diverse in terms of age; more and more visitors from elsewhere for the festival. This year, almost 45% of 23 000 festival-goers were from outside of Ottawa. First region in the standings, Abitibi emptied about 650 of his country lovers during the five days of the event. Secondly, the Laurentians – “naturally, we are stuck! “- In the third, the Centre-du-Quebec, and fourth, for the first time this year, Northern Ontario. “There was the economic benefits that come with it. This year we were in the 1000 nights. Last year, there was talk of less than 700; Yesterday, all our partner hotels were almost full during the four nights, “added the president.
Next challenge: choose the site that will host its 25th edition. The two-year agreement that allowed the Festival to install its capitals and its online dance floor in the parking lot of the Casino du Lac-Leamy is winding down. For now, nothing is yet decided about the future location. “We are still in negotiations. Our first choice is to stay close to the biggest tourist attraction in the Outaouais. ”
Whatever the final decision, Michel Gervais and his colleagues are already preparing a special event to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Next summer, almost 300 horses trot in Old Hull during a parade that will revive the public 150 years of the history of Gatineau. The project has already received city subsidies.