The Festival d’été de Québec and 3 E – Driving the Local Economy

The Festival d’été de Québec and 3 E – Driving the Local Economy

Québec City, October 30, 2012 – Eleven days of music, more than 300 different shows, huge enthusiastic crowds night after night, a wall that Québec is not soon to forget, an original high-tech exhibition and a hit with the first wine festival ─ 2012 was a banner year for the Festival d’été de Québec and 3 E event-experience-emotion. With $35 M in turnover, the impact on the Québec City area is major.

“We make a significant contribution to the economy. Whether we’re talking about technical and stage equipment, catering, security, graphic design, photography or video services, the purchase of construction material or of advertising, we spend millions in the Québec City area, with small and large businesses alike. And we’re very proud to be helping develop a range of expertise and new technologies.”

This was the message that Nancy Savard, chair of the board for both organizations, delivered this morning as she announced the financial results, attendance numbers and popularity of this summer’s events, along with some key economic data.

– FEQ turnover: $22.2 M as opposed to $21.5 M for 2011
–  3 E turnover: $12.7 M as opposed to $5.7 M for 2011
–  Number of jobs supported and created: 4701
–  Permanent jobs: 35
–  Seasonal jobs: 865
–  Payroll: $M 4,5

1Source: étude des retombées économiques FEQ, Secor 2010.

Roger Waters – The Wall

The premier event of the summer! Québec is not ready to forget this, the final show of one of the most lucrative tours in the history of music. The impressive wall of colourful bricks erected in Battlefields Park, stunning lighting, quadraphonic sound and the smiles of the kids in the Young Musicians of the World choir ─ matched by that of the artist during his performance ─ will remain indelible souvenirs for all the spectators who came from far and wide to share this amazing experience.

“When Roger Waters chose the Plains of Abraham to top off his tour, he knew he could count on the proven expertise of our team,” explained the general manager of 3 E, Daniel Gélinas. “This was a first big test for us at 3 E, and we showed our stuff.”

This was the most profitable show of the entire two-year world tour.

Whether in New Richmond, with Evenko at the Agora de Québec, at the Pavillon Espace 400e Bell, behind the Bordeaux fête le vin event or the Billy Talent record launch ─ 3 E continues to grow, and this is good news for the Capital region.

The Plains of Abraham

The Plains of Abraham is a very special place for producers and performers. Over the past 10 years, the Festival d’été de Québec has invested time, energy and money into setting up reception infrastructures to meet the requirements of international superstars and into putting Québec City on the list of major venues.

“For years now, we’ve been saying that it’s our main venue that has everyone talking and is our greatest asset for pulling in big names. The latest issue of Pollstar, the show producers’ bible, agrees! The Plains came in 18th among the world’s most popular stages, and 1st in Canada,” noted Gélinas.

The Festival d’été de Québec

For the sixth consecutive year, the Festival has drawn over one million people to its venues. A SOM study of attendance put admissions at 1,360,660. And, just as exciting, the attendance rate for festivalgoers living within a 40-kilometre radius clearly demonstrates growing local support for the Festival. On average, they attended 5.6 times, up over 4.3 times in 2011!

“This is our highest rate ever, and one more proof that our balanced and diversified program is what the public wants. The Festival is definitely a must here in Québec City,” remarked the Festival’s chair of the board.

The SOM survey also revealed that over one quarter of Québec City area adults, 182,000 people, attended this year’s Festival. Of these, 18% scheduled vacation time to be able to take full advantage of the event, up 4% over 2011.

“This new data, which we have been collecting for two years now, will definitely be included in future economic spinoff studies,” Daniel Gélinas said. “If each of these people spent $100 during the Festival, this money is invested here rather than somewhere else, and that adds up to $3.3 M more for the local economy.”

The rate of outside visitors attending the event is also up, from 31% of all festivalgoers in 2011 to 36% in 2012. An indication that efforts to reach outside markets, especially the Maritimes, Ontario and the Northeastern United States, have paid off.

The Festival remains a hit with the public, boasting the highest satisfaction rate of its history: 98%.

• 1,360,660 site admissions;
• Over one quarter of Québec City area adults attended the Festival;
• 18% took vacation time to be able to take full advantage of the event;
• 98% of festivalgoers were satisfied with their Festival experience.


Another record: the impressive speed that passes were sold out ─ under 24 hours! In all, close to 170,000 passes, Front-Stage Zone cards and single-day tickets were sold.

“These numbers are very encouraging. Festivalgoers who buy their pass and spend on the sites account for over 65% of Festival turnover. This confirms that people like the event and participate fully, and, in return, we invest close to $8 M in quality, diversified programming,” Nancy Savard explained.

Public and Private Funding

To these revenues is added the indispensable funding by all three levels of government. These grants represent 14% of the overall budget and make it possible to offer superb shows at Place d’Youville, lively activities at Place de la famille and entertaining street performances. Activities that go a long way toward bring added value to the event and give visitors a quality experience.

“We’re hoping that the federal government will resume investing in this lucrative big events industry. They generate high parafiscal revenues and it’s clear that with the kind of results that we’re announcing today, we’ll be paying even more into the public coffers,” the general manager of the Festival noted.

The Festival can also count on solid partners whose financial support has kept pace with the growth of the event and with its initiatives. Bell, Molson, Loto-Québec, Metro, Hydro-Québec and the Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec are some of the many long-time supporters of the Festival. Their contribution represents 19% of the total budget.

Reach and Reputation

Day after day, the Festival’s star performers featured in the pages of Québec City’s daily newspapers, not to mention its radio and TV stations, which also promoted the music festival. Press coverage was, once again, imposing. In the front pages of both Le Soleil and the Journal de Québec over 20 times and the Devoir twice, the Festival d’été de Québec was also the topic of thousands of radio and TV mentions and interviews and articles in daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and on the Web.

Thanks to the interest generated by outside media, the reputation of the Festival d’été de Québec continues to grow outside the province, getting coast to coast Canadian coverage of the 2012 edition! The Festival was picked up by influential media such as Exclaim!, CBC Music and Metro, as well as journalists from Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax and Charlottetown. As for the international media, some came from as far away as Australia and the UK. All went home thrilled by their experience:

“I can’t emphasize how astonishing this was. All sorts of people, aged from 15 to 65 were mingling, swaying to the music. Quebec clearly loves the celebration.”
Brad Simm, Beatroute

“[…] it likely won’t be long before the rest of the country decides to join what is easily one of the best and most inclusive parties in Canada.”
Lia Grainger, Metro Canada

“Although I have a great time at other music festivals all over the country, none of them will ever hold as special a place in my heart as the Festival.”
Elise French, The Pulse Magazine

The 2012 edition saw an increase in the number of foreign television networks, including TFO, AUX and TV5 Monde, which shot seven episodes of L’Invité with Festival artists, giving the event terrific international visibility.

Again this year, the European media came to Québec to cover the opening show, Le français d’abord. Major Belgian media, including Ciné Télé Revue, La Dernière Heure, Le Soir and RTBF, spoke of the Festival d’été de Québec.

Le français d’abord

This year’s TV broadcast of the opening show, Le français d’abord, once again gave the Festival d’été de Québec huge international visibility. As both the opening show of the Festival and the high point of the Forum mondial de la langue française, this celebration of the Francophonie was seen by television audiences worldwide.

In France, the show was broadcast on France 3 to close to two million viewers in August, while in Belgium, where it was shown for the first time, the program drew more than 200,000 viewers. The combined audience for Télé-Québec and Radio-Canada totals close to three million. Reruns on TV5 Monde, whose numbers are yet to be known, could boost viewers to the several million mark, as the potential audience is 207 million.

An analysis of press coverage conducted by DIRECTION communications stratégiques inc. puts the media value of this production at close to $6M.

Social Media and Website

Interacting with festivalgoers remains a priority for the Festival d’été de Québec, which continues to make exceptional use of social media. By getting suggestions, providing information, commenting and questioning, the event maintains an ongoing dialogue with its 62,000 Facebook followers and 10,000 subscribers to Twitter. More and more, the public is using the Festival’s social media as a reference. We also saw a significant uptick in the keyword #feq, which at times topped Québec trends on Twitter.

“We now share a great deal of exclusive information over the social media, in particular the names of the artists that we announce first on Facebook and Twitter. This is one way to give a little bit more to the people who follow us, and above all, to stay in direct contact with festivalgoers. We appreciate getting instant feedback, reading their comments and interacting with them,” Nancy Savard said.

The website remains the primary source of information for festivalgoers. From March 1 to July 17, 2012, the site counted 866,340 unique visitors, for a total of 1.8 million visits and more than 6 million pages viewed.

For a third year, the Festival produced videos during the event in order to offer festivalgoers exclusive content: original backstage images, talks with artists, excerpts of shows and YouTube viewings exploded from 100,000 in 2011 to over half a million in 2012!


“Word of mouth is powerful,” pointed out general manager Daniel Gélinas. “The artists and their crews are thrilled by their experience at the Festival d’été de Québec. The exceptional quality of our technical infrastructures, the professionalism of each of our teams and the warm response of Québec audiences are what gives the Festival its excellent reputation and what makes the artists want to come and come back,” Gélinas said in closing.

The 46th edition of the Festival d’été de Québec will be held from July 4 to 14, 2013.

The Festival d’été de Québec is presented by Bell in collaboration with Molson Dry.

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