Earlier this year, Vancouver Island MusicFest artistic director Doug Cox discovered a niche in the Comox Valley, when he brought francophone band Le Vent Du Nord to the Cumberland Hotel as part of the year-round Concert Series.
The reaction was so positive, booking another French Canadian band — Les Tireux d’Roches — for this past summer’s MusicFest was a given.
Les Tireux d’Roches proved to be one of the surprise acts of the entire festival. As the penultimate performers of the weekend, they set the tone for The Mavericks to close, and they had the crowd clapping, stomping their feet and dancing everywhere within an earshot of the main stage. Riding that wave of genre popularity, Cox has done it again.
De Temps Antan come to the Cumberland Hotel Wednesday night, for more of that infectious sound.
“When we did the concert last year, with Le Vent Du Nord, that was the first francophone concert we had ever done and it was packed, so we felt really good about that, because part of our mandate at Musicfest and the concert series is to present those ‘left field’ kind of things,” said Cox. “My interest in music is sort of all over the map. I love to do some of the more esoteric things which, funnily enough, when you are in the Comox Valley, francophone concerts fall into that category. But they have been so successful, both those first two shows, it shows us that there is an audience for that here. There is a francophone community here. They may not be that visible, but they are here, and … they really appreciate when we bring in bands like this.”
De Temps Antan, comprising Quebec musicians Éric Beaudry (guitars), André Brunet (violin/fiddle) and Pierre-Luc Dupuis (accordion), have been performing the culturally entrenched melodies symbolic of Quebec’s rich heritage, for the past 11 years.
A quick listen will have the toes tapping, and Cox said the Cumberland Hotel will be prepared for the inevitable reaction.
“We are going to leave some room for people to get up and dance, that’s for sure,” he said, when asked what to expect of Wednesday’s show. “That’s the type of music it is. It’s so infectious, it’s pretty hard not to want to get up and dance. Usually, when we set up the Cumberland Hotel for shows it’s kind of set up like a full club concert, but I think we will have to leave some room to dance for this one. That’s just the kind of music it is.”
For a sample of what to expect Wednesday night at the Cumberland Hotel, go to bit.ly/1wJpWAY
“It’s very celebratory music, but it’s also good music… and I am hoping that part of the role that Musicfest plays is to introduce people to new styles of music,” said Cox. “When we bring in bands like this and we get a great crowd reaction, that’s when we know that we are (achieving) that.”
To buy tickets to the show ($20 plus tax), go to tickets.islandmusicfest.com. There will be tickets available at the door if the show does not sell out in advance. Show time is 8 p.m.