An Acadian music and art festival is underway in Bathurst this week and is hoping to draw a wide audience from across the province. Les Éloizes, which is organized by the Association Acadienne des Artistes Professionnels du Nouveau Brunswick, has celebrated Acadian arts and culture with music, dance, performance and visual art every two years since 1998.
Jac Gautreau, the artistic director for the festival, said this festival has events that will be of interest to a wide array for people, whether they are francophone or anglophone.
“We’ve tried to open it up as much as we can. It remains an event produced and executed by an Acadian association, but because we’re here we wanted it to be as wide open as we could,” Gautreau said. “And we think, in a lot of cases, these events are enjoyable whether you understand every word or not.”
This year, organizers are focused on branching out more to English audiences, even featuring an anglophone performer. Musicians David Myles and Pascal Lejeune will be dividing up their own songs and even singing some of each other’s.
“Well, I mess up my own songs. So there was no worry there,” Lejeune said. “But no, I did my work, I listened to the songs a lot. So I like it. I’m a fan too of David’s, so it was very easy.”
Myles said it’s important for both anglophones and francophones to listen to and appreciate each other’s music.
“First of all, we live in a relatively small province,” Myles said. “It’s really important that everybody pay attention to whatever music is happening in the region; whether it be French or English.”
Promoting Bathurst’s art community
The festival, taking place this year at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre, acts as an important showcase not only for Acadian culture but also for the town which hosts the event.
Rita May, a spokesperson for the Bathurst Art Society, said the traffic that it draws will hopefully remind people Bathurst has an important art community.
“With the publicity we hope to get and are getting, we’re hoping the word will get out more that you don’t have to go to Montreal to buy a quality piece of art,” May said.
Les Éloizes wraps up on Sunday, May 6 with awards presented at a gala Saturday night.