Today should have been offered the opportunity to groups Blue Jeans Blue, and The Three Agreements to ignite the plains of Abraham, to start 53e edition of the FEQ, a perspective cut there nearly four months by the pandemic COVID-19.
However, the memory of this manna summer clashes with the current reality, where retailers, restaurateurs and hoteliers are trying to keep the head out of the water.
“We made it, but it is sure that it will be a little nostalgic today. […] The adrenaline of the big weeks there, we love it. It’s just my drug to me. This is what I love, ” says Philippe Desrosiers, co-owner of the Stainless steel, on the Grande Allée.
“[Wednesday], we would have been in mounting the set-up on the terrace. From[today], we would be working 14 to 18 hours per day. Usually, I sleep at the bar during the FEQ “, laughs Mr. Desrosiers.
Jean-Pierre Bédard, ceo of the Société de développement commercial (SDC) of Montcalm, was not immune to this nostalgia, his news feed on the social networks, trying to remind him of the memories of this time in the last few years.
“For us, this is extremely disappointing because we had already started to plan activities for the FEQ, loose-t-it. This is really a moment where the terraces are crowded throughout the day. At this time, we are not yet able to achieve results in attendance evidence. ”
Four times less populated
Hoteliers, custom filled to accommodate this influx of unbridled, are also hard the lack of festival-goers.
“The city would be busy in normal times. It would be at about 85 % occupancy during the FEQ in the hotels. There, it is about 20% on weekdays, 25 % on the weekends “, illustrates the director of communications and marketing the Office of tourism of Québec, Éric Bilodeau.
This deficiency, as compared to a year usual, represents ” millions of dollars of benefits “, leading François Meunier, vice-president of public and governmental affairs, Association des restaurateurs du Québec (ARQ).
“If it was just the FEQ, we could say that we will eventually pass through it. But there will be no other events of this magnitude here before a long time, certainly not before next year “, says he.
The hangover could be hard, according to the ARQ, which anticipates up to 3000 bankruptcies in the quebec industry of the restoration within the next year.
The shortfall, it is necessary to oppose the ” reverse of the medal “, said David Lassonde, who has, among other things, the Tavern, Grande Allée and the Snack Bar Saint-Jean. The shortage of labor made it the 10 days of the FEQ worthy of an ” extreme sport “, illustrated there, as the actors in the middle are pushed to the limits “.
“This is not necessarily a positive, but we are just going to have a summer where we will not have pushed everything to the cap. In Saint-Apollinaire, there is no FEQ, and they go through anyway “, a philosopher Mr. Lassonde.