Text: Diane Stehlé
Event producer and promoter evenko creates and produces large-scale festivals and events. This year, Pollstar, America’s most respected entertainment industry magazine, ranked evenko as the largest independent promoter in Canada and the 10th largest in North America. Each year, the independent Quebec company produces more than 1,200 musical, family and sporting events across Quebec, the Maritimes, and the Northeastern United States. evenko presents shows by the biggest international artists and invests in the development and promotion of artists from Quebec. We sat down with Chief Operating Officer Jacques Aubé.
Why does Montreal attract so many international artists?
Montreal is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. It can host any musical genre. The people here like to go out and have fun. Artists often tell us that our city is home to the best audiences they’ve ever had. Plus, it has to be said that we’re very lucky to have the incredible Bell Centre as a venue.
With which artist have you had your most successful collaboration?
Céline Dion. When she comes here, she’s home. Last time she came to Montreal, we organized nine sold-out shows at the Bell Centre. We’ve also collaborated closely with U2. Their shows, which took place at the former Blue Bonnets Raceway, were quite a production feat.
What project are you the most proud of?
We’re very proud of the Osheaga festival, which has been held for twelve years now in Jean Drapeau Park. It’s an audacious music festival. In 2006, this kind of festival only existed in California and Chicago. Each year, 135,000 people attend Osheaga. U2’s visit was also memorable, as I said, but that was in 2011. They’ll have to come back!
Lets talk about food. What is the YUL EAT festival?
It’s a festival for foodies. It showcases local cuisine by bringing together local chefs, artisans and producers for three days. We also co-produced the Lolë White Tour, which brings together communities from around the world for spectacular yoga sessions dedicated to peace. We’ve presented pre-season Blue Jays games at the Olympic stadium since 2014. That’s creativity: bringing all kinds of incredible events to our city!
evenko is now the fifth largest entertainment producer in the world. That’s something to be proud of!
What is your short-term goal?
We’ve started developing festivals in the Laval area to reach audiences from the north of the city. We still have work to do. I would also like to discover the next big international artist. evenko’s roleis to promote and produce shows, but also to help artists grow with their audiences by presenting them in bigger and bigger venues. My passion, which I share with my team, is to create an environment favourable to large-scale projects. evenko is now the fifth largest entertainment producer in the world. That’s something to be proud of!