July 7, 2022

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Festival Puzzles |  The Journal of Quebec

Festival Puzzles | The Journal of Quebec

Quebec music and comedy festivals that have been sidelined by health regulations for two years now have to overcome new hurdles as the Govt-19 epidemic finally rests on them: rising costs caused by labor shortages and inflation.

While it is not questionable to hold any event, and no one cries out for disaster, many companies across Quebec need to make unprecedented efforts to balance the budgets by mobilizing the staff needed to keep their festivities running smoothly (see other text below).

“Recruitment was tough in all sectors,” notes Laurent Sallnier, vice president of programming and production at Equipe Spectra, which organizes Francois and Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.

“We receive less applications than usual,” says Patrick Rosen, boss of Just for Laughs.

“We had to go to CEGEPs and universities. It’s a challenge that takes a lot of time and money,” explains Thomas Gregore, general manager of FestiVoix de Trois-Rivières.

Will they appear?

At the Festival d’été de Québec, the development of the Plains of Abraham site, where the Maroon 5, Alanis Morissette and Rage Against the Machine parade will take place in July, begins after the race against the clock tomorrow morning. Ads on Facebook to find all the skilled workers needed.

“For the next three weeks, we have teams to achieve what is planned. We’re right, but are all the people going to show up on Monday? I do not know, ”said Director General Anne Hooden a few days ago.

In general, comedyha! Fest-Québec needs 150 to 200 volunteers to ensure its smooth running. Currently, “I’m 50”, reveals its general manager Josie Charland.

“I hope people respond to the call, otherwise we have to be creative and find solutions. If necessary I will go and sell tickets,” she jokes.

Technicians and security guards are needed

At La Noce in Saguenay, the organization could not find all of its sound and stage technicians in the region. “I have to go to my contacts and friends bank in Quebec and Montreal,” says director Frederick Paulin, who finds it difficult to find rental vehicles and security guards.

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“I asked Cardo and they said they could not bid because they did not have enough manpower. I am looking for a complete team. I do not have enough men to do it alone in Sakune, and I do not have a security leader who can manage his team. In the worst case, if I do not have all the officers I need, we will ask volunteers to look for doors located in less reasonable places, ”he said. Pauline.

Meetings in June …

Francois of Montreal

June 10 to 18 in Montreal

Song Festival

June 16 to 19, in Tatosak

Festive dR. Mobilo Aquafest

June 20 to 26, 2022

Wedding

June 29 to July 2, in Chicoutimi

Song Festival

June 30 to July 9, in Petite-Vallée

International Jazz Festival

In Montreal from June 30 to July 9

Voice ceremony

In the Trois-Rivières from June 30 to July 10

They said …

Since this situation affects everyone, we try to exchange staff between producers. That is, instead of signing a two-week contract for the same event, we hire them together for a period of two months. ⁇

– Patrick Rosen, Vice President, Francophone Content and Director of General and Art at Just for Laughs

Considering the epidemic, this year we played it safe, our needs are low, so we will do well. ⁇

– Josée Charland, General Manager of ComediHa!

We are going to tell the artists that we will try to put the same setting on stage as much as possible, between concerts because we have a shortage of manpower. ⁇

– Sebastien Hood, general manager of Festive, in Lewis

We do not know how many people are ready to come to the big events. ⁇

– Laurent Sallnier, Vice President of Programming and Production at Ecube Spectra

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Everyone affected by inflation

Inflation is hitting Quebec festivals hard because they have to absorb up to 50% of price increases.

“Everything is expensive”, begins the boss of the festival! Baie-Saint-Paul, Clement Turgeon.

“For the same auction that used to be $ 15,000, today it can go up to $ 23,000, especially due to the price of gas. For example, chemical toilets, you have to pick them up at Katino,” he adds.

The increase in costs affects the salaries of staff and artists, rental of stage equipment, lighting and sound, vehicles, fences, toilets, bar and catering items.

According to Thomas Gregor of FestiVoix in Trois-Rivières, “it goes for 15%, 30-40 or 50% more”.

“With us, everything we rent comes from Quebec, Cicotami or Montreal. Delivery costs have exploded,” said Julie Pinardon, general manager of the festival de la Sanson de Tatsock.

$ 4.2M to $ 4.8M

According to Laurent Sallnier of Équipe Spectra, “Concentration changes the game. This will become a real budget issue. ⁇

At FestiVoix de Trois-Rivières, the 2020 edition canceled by the epidemic was the largest in the history of the event with a budget of $ 4.2 million. “By 2022, to achieve significantly the same thing, we have reached 4.8 million,” notes Thomas Grigore.

For his part, the festival’s director, Anne Hooden, submits that “her event is limited to the pay rise it wants to offer its seasonal staff in order to maintain honesty with regular staff.” ⁇

The main assistance of the government

After all, so far no one was crying out for food, mainly cowpea-related subsidies from Quebec and Ottawa are in place.

“Both levels of government and the municipality really responded. They should be there for the renaissance,” said Patrick Kearney, director of the Santa Teresa Festival from May 19 to 22.

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It remains to be seen how long governments will last, believes Clement Durjan. “Going forward, if the government withdraws the subsidies related to Govt, it will be an issue. To hire, you have to be very generous and it will take more sources of income. ⁇

Reasonable increase in ticket prices

Although inflation is high, the sharp rise in ticket prices in 2022 will not affect those attending the event.

Financial assistance from various levels of government in relation to the epidemic was able to avoid a price shock at the ticket office.

In general, the increase will be reasonable.

At Trois-Rivières, FestiVoix has increased the price of its passports from $ 49 in 2020 to $ 59 in 2022.

“Inflation is less than what we are experiencing,” said director Thomas Gregor.

Festive de Lewis has raised its passports by $ 10 to $ 49.99 instead of $ 39.99.

Things are not moving in Tatosak

At the festival de la chanson de Tadoussac, prices did not change. “We do not want to increase prices because we know we need a good budget for transportation and accommodation to get to Tatasak. We hope that the various subsidy schemes will take into account the increase in the cost of living,” explains Director Julian Pinarton.

On the festive side! At Baie-Saint-Paul, the price of tickets to an event was the same. Passports for the duration of the event will be increased from $ 10 to $ 15 as the fourth evening is added.

At the Festival d’été de Québec, director Anne Hooden explained that all 125,000 passes had risen to $ 130 in pre-sale, which was $ 20 more than expected in 2020 and was ordered to tackle inflation.

For La Noce, in Saguenay, the increase is a little more significant. Passport has gone from $ 50 to $ 80.