The Vocalist Magazine SPRING 2013 ISSUE - Page 74

INTERVIEW Credit Image - Sharon Jones TVM: As the cofounder and artistic director of the festival what exactly is your role? Well, in the first years obviously Alain Simard and myself, we did the whole program by ourselves. Now there’s a group of people who work with us, about five people in the programming department, so I don’t really coordinate their work on a day-to-day basis, but I try to retain a certain vision and motivation to keep things happening and challenging for ourselves as well, not to stick to a formula and do the same thing over and over. So that’s why from year to year we won’t be using the same concert halls all the time. Obviously we have the main halls that we use all the time like Place des Arts and the Metropolis. But it’s a program that is really on the move, based on opportunities and ideas we have that can fit with the different venues we are using. So year and year out, there is about ten or twelve venues, all varying in size and style from young underground clubs, to mainstream concert halls. It’s trying to retain that vision and the excitement that is really my main goal in this job. I can say that each time I am pretty excited each time it starts. I can’t wait for the festival to take off, as soon as there’s live music in the festival, I don’t mind doing meetings and seeing our sponsors and all that in the daytime, but at night you won’t see me sitting in a restaurant discussing with people. I try to get into as many shows as I can. TVM: What has been the biggest success with the festival? What are you most proud of? Well I think that the way that Montrealers are so proud and protective towards the Festival. We have never had a bad incidence on the site, because the crowds are very supportive of the Festival and they want it to thrive. So the relationship between Montrealers and the Festival is something that I really enjoy, and the fact that people have come to trust our taste. We know that for some artists that are not really known in the market, but when we go out and say ‘this artist is really worth trying’ people put a lot of trust in us and this is a form of mutual respect. And I think that this is really our crowing achievement, to get a crowd to trust our taste, and they get to be a bit more adventurous which is fantastic. TVM: What is the most challenging part of the event for you? Umm.. Well to try and renew our content and keep it exciting is obviously a challenge. And that’s not even a department that I am really concerned with but when you invite those huge crowds in the streets of downtown to keep the whole process pleasant, peaceful, family oriented, enjoyable, exhilarating (chuckles) this is also a big challenge. Because modern life in a big city does not call for those utopian visions that we have for the Festival, and still they prevail. So this is something that I really cherish and I think it’s a challenge to retain but I think it’s a nice one. TVM: You must receive numerous requests from bands and artists, how do you deal with this? We’ve never had to deal with artists that are really touchy and bazar with their requests. I mean sometimes some need more attention, people like T. Jarrett is really fussy. But in general, we don’t have 74