Animal Collective FME 2022

Animal Collective

10 picks & 5 tips for the 2022 FME music festival

Rouyn-Noranda’s four-day, no-sleep, all-in Festival de Musique Emergente is on from Sept. 1 to 4.

It’s the end of summer, and while festival season is never quite finished here in Montreal, if you have another party left in you and are looking for an awesome Labour Day weekend road trip getaway, pack your things and head north. 

The Abitibi township of Rouyn-Noranda awaits. 

Its annual four-day, no-sleep, all-in Festival de Musique Emergente is on from Thursday, Sept. 1 to Sunday, Sept. 4, well into the wee hours of the holiday Monday. 

This year marks the festival’s 20th anniversary. Back in top shape after a couple of scaled-down editions, the return of FME in full form looks promising. 

If you’ve never been, can afford the gas and lodging and are in the mood for big music festival vibes in the heart of a tiny lakeside community, you’re in for a treat.

A projected 91 artists will perform on 9 different indoor and outdoor stages over the course of the long weekend. 

Many performances are free, the rest are fairly priced, and the secret pop-up shows always make it so that if you miss a particular buzz band you were looking forward to, there are still decent odds they’ll suddenly appear in a repair garage, in the middle of a park or even in your hotel room! (Okay, that only happened once. And it wasn’t pretty.)

Before we get to a handful of surefire (and by no means exhaustive) goodtime picks at this year’s FME, here are Cult MTL’s Five Foresights for a Fruitful FME.

  1. You will be offered shrooms, frequently and under almost every circumstance. Church-goer? Shrooms. Kiwanis Club meeting? Shrooms. Pickup street hockey game? Shrooms. So it goes. 
  2. You can walk almost anywhere and catch multiple headliners if you have the tenacity (and if you aren’t spinning out on shrooms, lunatic), so bring comfy shoes and don’t bother trying to find an Uber. 
  3. Unless you want to survive on an alternating Rouyn-Noranda party diet of poutine from Chez Morasse and vegan wraps from Freshii, pack groceries.
  4. Don’t mention Bill 96 (I just have a hunch!)
  5. There’s a lot of hoopla surrounding reportedly toxic arsenic levels in the air. Our tip for staying unpoisoned: don’t live in Rouyn-Noranda for the next 40 years as a two-pack-a-day steel worker! 

10 Picks & 5 Tips for the 2022 FME music festival

Alright, now that you’re all set, let’s head to FME 2022.

Thursday, Sept. 1 

Street rhymes and good-life vibes co-exist smoothly in Ticaso’s world. The Montreal Nord MC has been around the scene for a minute but started to catch serious buzz during the pit of pandemic hell with his 2021 LP Normal de l’Est on Quebec hip hop label Joy Ride Records.

Ticaso’s joined by Magi Merlin and Naya Ali at Scene Fonderie Horne — Guiguette Chez Edmond, (8 p.m. $24.75)

Concurrently, an all-Acadian with considerable clout bill at Scène Videotron finds P’Tit Belliveau and les Hay Babies setting the table for a Chiac Disco throwdown with headliner Lisa Leblanc. C’est le gros partay dans ce bubble, bet. (8 p.m., free)

Friday, Sept. 2

Impossible to avoid a Quebec hip hop all-star lineup with Sarahmée, Koriass and Loud at Scène Videotron. When in Rouyn…(8 p.m., free)

At midnight, Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda goes dance-matic with Seulement and gargäntua, alors dansons. (11:59 p.m., $19)

Saturday, Sept. 3

Animal Collective headlines the big freebie at Scène Vidéotron with CRi and Elizabete Balcus warming it up. Looking forward to CRi after missing most of his headlining Jazz Fest stunner this summer only to catch the last 10 minutes and 50,000 music fans pleased as can be. (8 p.m., free)

Afrotronix brings electro-afro-futurism, late-night style, in the cold comfort of an honest-to-God auto repair centre, Garage Rheault, not too far from the main stage. (11:30 p.m., free)

Sunday, Sept. 4

Headliner Hubert Lenoir weirds out on the Videotron stage and you can’t go wrong with that. (8 PM, free)

But as per tradition at FME on its closing night, there’s metal in the air — and it’s not tainted with arsenic! Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda welcomes hometown (presumably) grindcore thrashers Abitabyss and death band First Fragment to get the Sunday sweats going for headliners and Maryland metal gawds Dying Fetus. (8 p.m., $42)

And when that breathes its last mortal breath, head down to the basement of said Théâtre for Montreal youth crew No Waves at midnight. (11:59 p.m., $19)

If that all sounds like a bit much, Eric’s Trip-per Julie Doiron chills things out at Cabaret de la Dernière Chance (11:30 p.m., $19)

See you in Rouyn, and if you’re driving up Friday or Saturday, please let me know in case I need anything!

For more about FME 2022, please visit the festival’s website

For more Montreal music coverage, please visit the Music section.