Québec City at its Best
A Short Guide to a Great Time at the Québec City Summer Festival
300 shows, 10 stages, 2 weeks. Canada’s biggest outdoor music event. Welcome to the Québec City Summer Festival, or Festival d'été de Québec. With a rock-solid lineup that draws tens of thousands of people each year, FEQ is more than a festival—it’s an institution. To help you make the most of it, here are a few tried-and-true tips.
Get There Early
For every stage, the best piece of advice is: get there early! If you’re heading to the Plains of Abraham to see the headliners (in 2018: The Weeknd, Neil Young, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Beck, Lorde, Avenged Sevenfold...) don’t show up when they’re set to go on. Be there for the opening act so you can pick out a good spot. It’s an 80,000 person venue.
For shows held in Parc de la Francophonie (or Pigeonnier), the site fills up fast. And for indoor concerts, it’s best to line up early if you’re trying to catch a big-name act.
Enjoy the City
Credit: Renaud Philippe Zoom
The Québec City Summer Festival is a lot more than 2 main stages. If there’s a day of shows that aren’t your jam, get out on the streets and enjoy the festival vibe. You’ll find street art at Place de l’Assemblée-Nationale, a family zone at Parc de l'Esplanade and free shows on the Hydro-Québec and Fibe stages at Place D’Youville and Place de l’Assemblée-Nationale.
Cœur du FEQ
Cœur du FEQ, which means “ Heart of the Festival,” is a rendez-vous point at Place de l’Assemblée-Nationale, right in front of the Tourny Fountain. It’s got an information stand, a ticket booth, bike racks, a picnic area with food trucks, two pubs, a cocktail bar, and free shows by up-and-coming artists from Québec and beyond.
Where to Eat and Drink?
Credit: Audet Photo Zoom
Grande Allée is a FEQ hotspot, right by Cœur du FEQ. The restaurants and bars have a great festival vibe, with patios that are immensely popular before and after concerts. If Grande Allée is too packed, just head over to Avenue Cartier, Rue Saint-Jean, or Rue Saint-Louis. The bars and restaurants on all three streets are diverse, stylish, and festive.
Bringing Kids to the Festival
Kids 11 and under get into all general admission show zones free as long as they’re accompanied by an adult with a festival pass. (Front-row and V.I.P. areas are off limits.) If you’re heading over to a show on the Plains of Abraham, the hill at the back of the site is a great place for families. With the giant screens on either side of the stage, you’ll still get a close-up view.
If your hotel is outside the downtown core, public transit is your best option for getting to the festival venues. RTC, Québec City’s transit authority, runs more buses along its main lines during the festival and provides free parking lots with shuttle service as an added incentive. If you don’t like to get stuck in a crowd, don’t wait until the last encore to rush to a bus. Or have a nightcap while you wait for the crowd to thin out. If you absolutely want to bring your car, be warned: you’ll spend a lot of time trying to find parking and waiting in traffic.
More Good Ideas
- Save time at security checkpoints: pack only the essentials. Security staff have the right to search any bag. Before you head out, check the list of things you can and can’t bring to festival venues.
- Take out your festival bracelet/pass before you get to the front of the line. It speeds things up at the gates.
- There are lots of restrooms on the sites. But between shows is not the best time to go.
- Follow FEQ on social media for all the latest festival info.
- Download the FEQ mobile app to find the information you need, faster.
- If you want to save money for next year, buy your pass as soon as they go on sale (usually in March)
Enjoy the festival!