Émile Bilodeau rocks rue Principale for St-Jean Baptiste Day
The streets of old Aylmer were bustling with foot traffic and blue and white flags on June 24, as a roaming concert rolled into town, drawing hundreds to hit the streets to celebrate Quebec’s national holiday. Despite COVID-19 still preventing large gatherings, the event went on as planned. Spectators were asked to respect social distancing guidelines throughout the show and to wear masks. As a collaboration by Impératif Français, Festival Outaouais en Fête and Grosse Boîte, the event was put together to give locals something to cheer about for St-Jean Baptiste Day. The event featured Quebec-native singer-songwriter Émile Bilodeau, whose two-hour performance brought a vibrance the sector hadn’t seen in a long time.
Sitting on the back of a black pickup truck, Bilodeau played hits from his 2019 album Grandeur Mature, with Tristan Forget-Brisson playing the keyboard behind him, as a sea of people followed them around. Making four stops down rue Principale, the concert kicked off at 2 pm in the Galeries d’Aylmer parking lot, moving in front of Café Mulligan, then the Parc Commémoratif, before making its last stop at Parc des Cèdres at around 4 pm. Between songs, Bilodeau took time to express himself on certain social issues, notably race relations and politics, or just joked around with the audience and sharing a few laughs.
At the Parc Commémoratif, President of Impératif Français Jean-Paul Perrault emphasized the importance of Quebec’s national holiday for civic pride and encouraged people to speak French as much as possible to keep it ingrained in Aylmer’s culture.