The 14th edition of the FMBM kicked off to a lively start on Queen Street this Thursday. The street was packed with happy festivalgoers ambling around the kiosks to the rhythmic beat of Bass ma Boom Sound System. It feels like the world has come to Gaspé for the festivities. There is jewellery from the Gaspé, South America, India and Napal, a local winery showcasing their products and a bright array of accessories and clothing for every taste, age and size from near and far. Summer is in the air and the atmosphere is easy-going. I can see from a distance, hands up in the air of people practicing urban yoga on the roof of the tourist office.
This is the meeting place for locals who haven’t seen each other since the festival last year and have a lot of catching up to do; holiday makers and families who are new to Gaspé and discovering the event with wonder for the first time and a wide variety of participating artists taking a look at what’s going on. For most of the year Gaspé is a town with a small population spread over a very large area where everyone knows each other. This festival transforms the town and its inhabitants, creates a bond with cultures from all corners of the planet and is a celebration of difference.
Great evening of music
The celebration doesn’t stop on Queen Street. Later in the evening the show began in the Hydro-Québec Show Tent. This year the event started with the warm sunny sounds of Alex Cuba, a generous dose of Latin-American music mixed with afro-jazz and funk with North American influences to set the tone. In the interval young and old alike were delighted by a local juggler, Felix Martin, performing here for the first time and fire-eater Laurie Robitaille Amazone Spectacles, raising gasps of amazement from the young and a few shivers from me! Afterwards Gregory Charles, in collaboration with the big band from the region, Mambo Sax, cranked up the energy in the Hydro-Québec Show Tent with a breath-taking improvisation of classics covering numerous musical styles to get everyone on their feet. They blew me away with their version of Van Halen’s song Jump.
That was the end of the festivities for me, I danced home to the memories of a great evening of music at Land’s End. However, the event continued into the early hours for the young and hardy, at the Bistro-bar le Brise-Bise and the Bar La Voûte.