by carl wilson

There is No Joy in Victo:
The Actuelle Gap

The stage falls silent at the Victoriaville festival's famous hockey-arena-turned-concert-hall.

The economic crisis spilled over into the avant-garde today, with an announcement from the Festival International de Musique Actuelle (FIMAV) in Victoriaville, Que., that "The 26th edition ... will be held from Thursday 20th to Monday 24th of May 2010!" Put in less enthusiastic terms, what that really means is that there will be no 2009 edition.

FIMAV, for those who don't know, has been a mainstay of the experimental-music circuit in North America for a quarter century, hosting the likes of John Zorn, Cecil Taylor, The Ex, Pere Ubu, Wolf Eyes, Anthony Braxton, Merzbow, Fred Frith, Matthew Shipp and many other big names as well as Quebecois and Canadian improvisers, noise musicians, art-rockers, free-jazzers and beyond.

In their explanation for the decision, the festival notes factors such as the need to develop "national financial partners" with resources to match the festival's international reputation, burn-out among festival staff and "the arrival of new competitors on the Quebec avant-garde music market," a not so subtle reference to Montreal's Suoni per il Popolo, a month-plus-long festival that provides Montrealers with the chance to see many of the artists they'd otherwise wait all year to travel the two hours or so it takes to get to Victoriaville. Montreal also gets more regular visits year-round now from European and American improvisers and other experimentalists, something that happened rarely to never back in the 1990s. And even Pop Montreal takes up some of the left-field-rock territory.

I imagine that the festival is also contemplating the avant-music devotees who travel long distances as tourists each year to come to Victo from the U.S. and other far-off locations. Many of them are business professionals of one kind or another for whom festival-going is just a passionate hobby, and they have to anticipate that this spring, a lot of people are going to have to eliminate their travel budgets.

Probably just the first of many such announcements about arts organizations cancelling, postponing or scaling back events. (In Toronto, I wonder if there will be a 2009 Luminato?) Anybody else heard similar news in their own areas yet?

General | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, October 08 at 3:42 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)



Thankfully, Luminato 2009 is confirmed for June 5-14. There will be no postponement or cancellation. :)

Posted by Laura on October 9, 2008 9:46 AM



What a graphic demonstration of the hole that could be driven through our cultural environment if we don't stand up as citizens. Does anyone know if FIMAV received government funding?

Posted by Half on October 8, 2008 4:30 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson