Looking Forward To FME 2022

Looking Forward To FME 2022. Erin MacLeod previews the festival in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. The fest features Animal Collective and much more
Looking Forward To FME 2022. Erin MacLeod previews the festival in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. The fest features Animal Collective and much more

It’s hard to write this: the end of the summer is nigh. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still opportunity to see fantastic music, and one of the best fests is happening this weekend. Festival de Musique Émergente (Festival of Emerging Music) has been drawing music lovers – especially those that want to know what wonderful sounds are around the corner – for the past two decades.

Yes, it’s in Rouyn-Noranda, a city with a population just north of 43,000 that sits a full day’s drive away from Montreal. But this year’s staging marks 20 full years of being one of the best fests that Canada has to offer. Before the pandemic, the audience drawn to the FME was equivalent to more than three-quarters the size of the city itself. After a couple smaller, socially-distanced versions, the festival is back with nine venues and almost 100 acts to take in.

This is the place to be for those who want to keep their ears to the ground for insight on the music scene to come, with a huge emphasis on Quebec and the “Rest-of-Canada”, as it’s known in la belle province. Given that this is a festival that has, over its tenure, hosted acts like Backxwash, Lido Pimienta, and other Polaris Prize-winning luminaries, it’s not surprising that this weekend will host Quebec luminaries Hubert Lenoir and Lisa Leblanc. They’re both sitting on the Polaris shortlist for 2022, with the winner set to be announced mid-September.

But what other treasures might await you if you are in the vicinity or willing to make the drive this Labour Day weekend? Passes are sold out, as are some of the shows. Sure, shows like Brooklyn indie bands Gustaf and Grim Streaker, the garage punk double bill of New Haven’s Killer Kin and Montreal’s Tha Retail Simps, and Quebec’s funky Les Louanges (supported by 80s-influnced Lydia Képinski and headnod-worthy Fernie) might require some negotiation, but you can still pick up tickets for big names like Baltimore’s Animal Collective, the aforementioned Polaris shortlisters, and East Coast favourite Julie Dorion.

Check out the powwow collective Medicine Singers, the metal intensity of Dying Fetus, or the soulful sounds of Lysandre, or the afrofuturist electro of Afrotronix. There are label showcases from Montreal’s Bonbonbon and Toronto’s Hand Drawn Dracula. There’s also a terrific hip hop bill with Loud, Koriass and Sarahmée on offer. It’s hard to overstate how this list is just scratching the surface of the shows on offer (a bunch of them free!), as well as eclectic cinq à septs, virtual reality fun, live podcast broadcasting, participatory artwork, and bespoke kombucha and beer. And if you can’t make it? Don’t be jealous of everyone who can: keep up with the music online with radio CFME broadcasting throughout the fest.

Purchase tickets for FME 2022 HERE


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