Lasso Festival | A promising first edition

“Are there people here who like country music? These instantly acclaimed words were uttered onstage by singer Matt Lang on Saturday afternoon at Parc Jean-Drapeau. There is hardly a better way to describe the enthusiasm of the metropolis Montreal for its first 100% country festival Lasso.

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William Theriault

William Theriault
special collaboration

A total of 35,000 festival-goers came on Friday and Saturday to see the shows by around thirty artists from Quebec, Canada and the USA. Cowboy hats, jeans and plaid shirts as far as the eye can see… a little bit of Southern America on Montreal soil.


PHOTO SARAH MONGEAU-BIRKETT, THE PRESS

The audience on the first day of the Lasso Festival, Saturday, at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

For Nick Farkas, vice president of programming at evenko, who also oversees Osheaga and îleSoniq, this first release of Lasso is a step in the right direction. He is particularly pleased that the visitors were able to enjoy the music together like a “big group”.

“I’ve often heard people say at the end of the week: good vibrationsvery communal, he described too The press Saturday. We really feel that the rural community spirit is there. »


PHOTO CATHERINE LEFEBVRE, SPECIAL COLLABORATION

The audience used the festive atmosphere for line dancing.

The crowd, which the organization estimated was 80% Quebecers and 20% tourists, was quite mixed. Festivals are usually mostly attended by young people in their 20s. That was the case in lasso, but the ’40s and ’50s didn’t hesitate to show the tip of their noses — and throw in a few line-dancing sessions.

It is that Crowd the most polite thing I’ve seen in my life. Everyone smiles respectfully. It’s really her fun.

Nick Farkas, vice president of programming at evenko

The Lasso team has also paid attention to the family aspect: children under 10 years old are admitted free and an area tailored to their interests has been set up near the restaurants.

Festival visitors who left nothing to be desired

Luke Bryan was warmly welcomed at the end of the festival on Saturday evening. The country star performed on stage with intensity. Half-smiling, half-concentrated, he was more in his bubble at the beginning of his performance – but was gradually enlivened by the chaining together Sunrise, sunburn, sunset or Hunt, fish and love every day.


PHOTO CATHERINE LEFEBVRE, SPECIAL COLLABORATION

Luke Bryan

Known since the 2010s, he used his collection of classics to please Montreal. The 46-year-old singer even indulged in a large drink while performing a newer track. A margarita.

Hair in the wind, Kelsea Ballerini arrived strong and confident in the penultimate slot on Saturday night. Armed with a solid voice with pop accents, the 28-year-old American paid tribute to her native Tennessee half of my hometownHe inhabited the scene with conviction and declared his love for the metropolis. “It’s my first time in Montreal,” she exclaimed to festival-goers. I would love to move here if you take me! »


PHOTO CATHERINE LEFEBVRE, SPECIAL COLLABORATION

Kelsea Ballerini

Ontario duo The Reklaws, consisting of Stuart Walker and his sister Jenna, particularly stood out for their interaction with the crowd early Saturday night. A young man wearing a Montreal Canadiens Nick Suzuki uniform was even invited to attend one shoot with the band and… Suzuki himself.


PHOTO CATHERINE LEFEBVRE, SPECIAL COLLABORATION

Ontario duo The Reklaws

Festival announcer Matt Lang from Quebec opened the second day with an energetic half-hour on the lasso stage. He interacted with visitors several times.

It is important to us to respect the history of the country in Quebec. We know how important it was in the region.

Nick Farkas, vice president of programming at evenko

“Quebec is a market that wasn’t really served by the enormous artists of Nashville, says Nick Farkas, but it still had its community that’s existed in Saint-Tite for 30-40 years. »

More calmly, Riley Green moved the crowd along I wish grandpas had never died and made him dance while interpreting There was this girl, his most famous song. The Alabama native also scored points by donning an Expos shirt at the end of the number.

Dierks Bentley, who began his career some 20 years ago, headlined on Friday. Performing some of his most popular songs, such as What was I thinking Where burning manThe American relies primarily on collaborations: Tenille Townes and Ashley McBryde, who had previously performed, each performed.


PHOTO SARAH MONGEAU-BIRKETT, THE PRESS

Old rule

However, it was Old Dominion that stole the show on Friday. With an complicity more than tangible, the Nashville group proved on stage why they’ve won many awards. With Matthew Ramsay and his four partners, the crowd sang beautiful songs like make it cute, Written in the sand or one man band. She obviously had fun on easier routes too hotel key, snapback Where I was on a boat that day.

On the first afternoon, festival-goers were treated to a mix of musical styles courtesy of Blanco Brown. The New Yorker combines country with hip-hop and has created a unique sound: his song The GitUp is the best example. And let’s not forget that he offered the viewers roses to the sound of I need Love.

Most performances took place on one of the two adjacent main stages. But a little further on, the ranch’s most intimate scene offered beautiful discoveries. The American Alexandra Kay was worth seeing. Note that Quebecers Sara Dufour and Léa Jarry also performed there.

A long-awaited meeting

The very first edition of the Lasso Festival has been in preparation since 2019. It was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 before being postponed twice. Old Dominion, second headliner on Friday, had already agreed to perform there three years ago.

We were like, “Are we going to get our festival sometime?” It was so important to our team, so we’re super excited. It was difficult to motivate the team that fans to.

Nick Farkas, vice president of programming at evenko

The Vice President’s satisfaction was reinforced by the “consistently positive” comments from guest artists.

And now what’s next? “The first year of a festival is an investment,” he emphasises. In three or four years we would like to have 25,000 to 30,000 people on the site every day. »

“Next year it will be even easier to book artists because now word is getting around. »

The second edition of Lasso is scheduled for August 18th and 19th, 2023.

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