Arcade Fire can play Fete Nationale

Band had originally been told: French songs or no-go.

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

Arcade Fire can play Fete Nationale

Arcade Fire is blazing a trail on the music scene – this year the Montreal band took home the Album of the Year Grammy and also recently won the 2011 Brit Award for Best International Album for “The Suburbs,” their third album. So when the idea came about to invite Arcade Fire to the city’s annual Fete Nationale celebration in June, you would think organizers would have been stoked to have the popular band perform.

However, to the chagrin of music-lovers everywhere, Fete Nationale organizers initially said they would only be allowed to play if they conformed to “certain guidelines” (The Canadian Press), which translated into singing only in French and not in English.

But Quebec’s culture minister Christine St-Pierre stated the next day that if Arcade Fire did want to make a stop in Montreal for Fete Nationale, they would be more than welcome (it should also be noted that the Quebec government partially funds the festivities surrounding Fete Nationale).

"He wanted a celebration that is very inclusive and a celebration that includes francophones, anglophones and people that are living together in Quebec," St-Pierre said said to The Canadian Press, referencing former premiere Rene Levesque, who turned the religious holiday St-Jean-Baptiste into the civic holiday known today to Quebeckers as Fete Nationale.

Like many language debates in the politically-charged province, the Arcade Fire discussion is somewhat unrealistic, as most of the acts for the event have already been booked and the band will already be in the midst of a European tour. However Arcade Fire fans breathed a collective sigh of relief once the government admitted they wouldn’t turn down a chance to showcase the Grammy winners.


Photo credit – Carsten Windhorst/