So, Bloodshot Bill and Lake of Stew are back on the (surprisingly good) lineup for this year’s L’Autre St-Jean party in Montreal. But while the attempt to exclude them is being cast in both the Francophone and Anglophone press as yet another example of the province’s insipid language debates (see: McCartney, Paul AND Quebec City), there’s actually a semblance of substance to this one.
As Fagstein points out, there’s reason to be confused about just what June 24 represents. La St-Jean is originally a celebration of Francophone culture, inside and outside Quebec. Taken that way, inviting Anglo acts to the party doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Would Canadians go for a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at Canada Day festivities? I doubt it. (Watching Plume Latraverse phone in a half-baked version of Bobépine for a Canada Day shindig in Montreal a few years back is a another matter entirely.) But, of course, la St-Jean hasn’t been called that in a long time—it’s la Fête nationale now. Which suggests Quebecers of any stripe—even you, Marty—should be welcome.
I’m not sure which of the two—Quebec or Francophone culture—June 24 should celebrate. But it seems safe to say one no longer assumes the other.