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Festivals: Omicron plays the spoilsport

The return to normalcy that all Quebec festival organizers hoped for is threatened by Omicron. The very contagious variant raises concerns about the limits of spectators on the sites, as in 2021.

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“Before Omicron, everyone was getting ready for next summer with the pedal to the back. We could see the return of a certain normality. Now we don’t know. We find ourselves rather in uncertainty, as in 2020 and 2021 ”, says the general manager of the Regroupement des évents major et internationales, Martin Roy.

This is the case in Tadoussac, indicates the director of the Festival de la Chanson, Julien Pinardon. “We left on a normal four-day formula. It is still in this direction that we are going, but we are considering plans B. ”

Omicron is already making its own. IglooFest Montreal has abandoned its 2022 edition, scheduled for January. The holding of the Montreal en Lumière festival in February is not in question, but the health situation is closely monitored.

Waiting

In Saguenay, the organizers of the Regard short film festival, which will take place from March 23 to 27, are crossing their fingers while awaiting the government’s decisions.

“We hope to learn during the month of February that theaters will reopen in March.

If this is the case, our initial plan, which is made up of an online component, could be maintained, ”reveals Director General Marie-Elaine Riou.

In Petite-Vallée, after a great start in December, ticket sales for the Festival en chanson, which will be held from June 30 to July 9, are in “free fall” due to the uncertainty caused by the variant. .

“There is a show for which we arrive at the half-gauge. I asked the producer if we stopped selling tickets to create a waiting list or if he took the risk of going over half and if we have a 50% gauge, we cannot do it. That’s one of the concerns, ”observes director Alan Côté.

Optimism

If Omicron is worried, festival organizers interviewed have all insisted they remain optimistic. And flexible.

“The experience of the past two years has taught us that the wind can turn quickly in either direction and that we have no choice but to adjust”, indicates the general director of the Festival d’été de Québec. , Anne Hudon.

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