If I could describe La Fête fransaskoise in a few words, I would say words like enriching, informative, cultural, artistic, and spirited. From the moment I arrived at the festival site near Batoche, I could feel a pulse in the air as people gathered to listen to the opening ceremonies. With a very limited knowledge of our second official language, I was excited to learn and be outside of my comfort box for once. With a short "bonjour" at the welcome table, and my muffled, "Je parle un petit peu le français", I was given my pass for the few days and a big "Bienvenue!"
My one and only night spent at "La Fête des Fêtes" was spent at the main CBC stage, taking in the live music there. Two musical acts took to the stage that evening: Shawn Jobin and Ariane Moffatt. The former hails from our very own Saskatoon, and although not really my style of music, he didn't fail to impress! His hip-hop, rap, and urban music vibe started off the evening right. Ariane Moffatt was up next, and for two hours seriously lit things up. She uses a combination of almost every genre I could think of in her music, from jazz to electronic to folk, but somehow ties everything together seamlessly. I was blown away by the intensity on stage and the energy in the crowd; she had everyone moving! Take a look at this video - the sound quality is far from great, but it's loud and fun.
The festival continued with other entertainment and events like performances by La Troupe du Jour, a French theatre company from Saskatoon; a dance party; a trip to the Back to Batoche Historic Site; children's activities, and more. If I learned anything at all, it is that there is most definitely a strong and vibrant fransaskoise culture in Saskatchewan, and I was happy to be a part of it, if only for a short while. I knew next to nothing of what people were speaking (unfortunately), but I did understand that what the Fransaskoise people were doing at the festival was very important: preserving and celebrating not only their past, but the bright future ahead of them.