Your guide to navigating Québec City's Festival d'été de Québec
Courtesy of Republic Records

When you consider that the Festival d'été de Québec, the giant music festival taking place July 6-16 in Québec City, Canada, will present more than 300 performances on multiple stages, the thought of it all can be a little bit overwhelming. But this year’s festival, commonly referred to by its French acronym FEQ, is the 50th anniversary of the big music blowout. After half a century of presenting the festival, the organizers know all the ins and outs of making a festival run smoothly, for fans and performers alike. Still we thought we’d offer up some helpful tips for first time attendees and those who haven’t been for a few years; below is our own little list of FAQs.

Don’t they speak French in Québec City? How am I going to get by if I don’t parlez Française?

Yes, the first language of Québec City is French, but just about everyone also speaks English. It is always nice though, and appreciated by locals, if you make an effort to communicate to any extent in French. Some of the basics, like bonjour (hello) and merci (thank you) are really simple and you probably already know them. And since you’re going to be seeing a lot of fantastic musical performances, feel free to reel off a fantastique now and then too.

Shows take place on various stages; how much trouble is it getting from one to the other?

Most of the stages are within easy walking distance of one another. Québec City is built on a hill and if the stage you are headed for is uphill from where you’re at, build in a few extra minutes of travel time. Generally though it takes no more than 15-minutes to get from stage to stage, and in some cases much less time than that.

Man, 300 shows! How am I ever going to figure that out?

There’s an app for that! Download the 2017 FEQ app here. Once you have the app you can plot your course. Printed schedules with maps are widely available too, so managing your fun will not be a problem. Make sure though to arrive as early as you can for the shows you really want to see, especially for shows on the main stage, the Bell Stage. Capacity there is mammoth but tens of thousands of your fellow festival-goers will be joining you for the big shows like Metallica and the Who. All Bell Stage shows start at 7:00 p.m.

I usually get hungry and thirsty when I’m listening to live music. Will food be available and can I pay for it with US dollars?

A wide variety of food and drink is available at or adjacent to each stage; there’ll be lots of food booths and food trucks. And since FEQ takes place in the heart of old town Québec City, there’ll be dozens of restaurants and cafes open and serving everything from pizza to fancy French dinners. American dollars are not accepted; either get some Canadian dollars before you head to the festival or exchange your currency at the airport or your hotel. Right now the US dollar is worth about $1.29 in Canadian funds.

Okay, I think I’ve got it. Just one more thing; how’s the weather in Québec City?

Generally the weather during FEQ is fantastique! Temperatures are likely to be in the mid-70s to 80s during the day, with evenings being very mild and in the high 50s. There is always a chance of a sprinkle and it wouldn’t hurt to take an umbrella. Note though that umbrellas are not allowed into any of the show venues.

Keep in mind that FEQ performances are in the evening. You will have plenty to do during the day though as old town Québec City is stunningly beautiful and a joy to explore. You’ll be within walking distance of the city’s historic walled fortifications as well as countless charming shops. So plan on exploring the day away while waiting for the Flume, Lady Antebellum, Voivod, Anderson.Paak, Grace Mitchell or, you know, hundreds of other shows.

For more information on the Festival d'été de Québec go here.