Quebec music scene thrives under direction of young promoter

Quebec music scene thrives under direction of young promoter

Promoter, band manager, and production manager – it’s a lot of responsibility for one person, let alone a 25-year-old with a young daughter and another baby on the way. Yet since he was a teenager, Karl-Emmanuel Picard has been passionate about showcasing new music and brining big talent to Quebec City.

“I always wanted to be in a band, but I didn’t play any instruments,” says Picard of his career choice.

Before he was old enough to get in, Picard was selling tickets outside bars and clubs for his own shows he was promoting in the city. At the age of 15, he organized his first show at an all-ages club. The concert featured local bands and drew an audience of 500 people.

From there, Picard says he travelled with bands and attended music events in the United States and Europe. He says he became well connected with booking agents and promoted Quebec as the ideal concert spot for popular and emerging musicians alike.

“I think Quebec is the capital of metal,” he says. Dance Laury Dance, Mute, and Caravane are among the local rock bands Picard manages.

He also organizes shows in Sherbrooke, Trois Rivieres, and Saguenay. According to Picard, because the smaller cities are often overlooked as tour stops, their music fans are always eager to see live acts from across Canada and around the world.

In 2004, Picard founded District 7 Production, his independent booking, management, and production company. District 7 produces upwards of 200 concerts a year, and has worked with such acts as Swans, Bob Log III, Obey The Brave, Every Time I Die, Heavy Trash, Hank III, Redman, Between The Buried & Me, July Talk, The Black Dahlia Murder, Evan Dando, Andrew W.K., S.N.F.U, Murphy’s Law, Balance and Composure, and Stick To Your Guns.

Picard says his day typically starts at six a.m. and finishes at midnight. Weekends are no different, when he manages anywhere from two to ten live shows. Despite the self-described “crazy life,” Picard says he can’t see himself doing anything else.

“It’s my passion,” he says. “When I’m on stage and I see a venue sold out, it makes me feel proud.”

Among the sold-out concerts he has helped produce and promote, shows for rock band Papa Roach and Belgian pop singer Selah Sue were his favourites.

“There’s always a risk,” he says. Yet, he adds that the gamble involved in bringing big acts to Quebec doesn’t slow him down.

“My dream is to bring more, even bigger bands to Quebec.”

With new concert venues opening in the city, Picard says he is eager to continue proving that it is a not-to-be-missed tour stop for popular bands, as well as the birthplace of many talented and diverse musical acts.

About Author

Rosanna Haroutounian

Rosanna Haroutounian was raised in Mississauga, Ontario, and studied journalism and political science at Carleton University. She currently works as an English assistant at a college in Quebec City. She enjoys reading, baking, being outdoors, and travelling the world when time and finances allow.

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