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Dave Brubeck Quartet and Bill Smith at the Earshot Jazz Festival

Miya Masaoka

Running a festival with a focus on the cutting edge gets to be risky business, especially if said festival survives beyond its youthful stages. This lesson has been learned, in ways both hard and logical, by the dense springtime foray known as Festival International Musique Actuelle, aka FIMAV, or Victo. By whatever name, the festival is something special, and evolving.

Now on the cusp of next year’s 20th anniversary, FIMAV celebrates its status as one of the most unique avant-garde fests in the Americas, falling in some netherzone between the jazz left, the rock fringes, electronica, and contemporary “art music.” And all of this in a modest-sized town in Quebec’s Bois Francs region, amidst rolling hills dotted with dairy farms. Two hours outside of Montreal, Victoriaville is just close enough to a thriving urban scene to tap into its audience and artist base, and just far enough away to be a cultural entity of its volition and design.

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