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Caroline Montpetit July 24, 2012
Ecofest (Échofête) will be held after all in Trois Pistoles starting on the 25th of July, and Gabriel Nadeau will be taking part, notwithstanding the mayor of the municipality and former candidate for the Liberal party Jean-Pierre Rioux.
However, all the musical performances will be held at the Caveau Theatre, at the invitation of Lévy Beaulieu, instead of at the city’s concert site.
The showings of La Guerre Des Clochers and The Haunted House will moreover be interrupted for the occasion, except for a special presentation of La Guerre Des Clochers (The War Of The Steeples), on the 28th of July at 2PM. The schedule of events for Ecofest which should have taken place at the Trois Pistoles Arts’ Centre will nevertheless be maintained as is and in the same location. This was made known by the organizers yesterday, two days before the festivities. In fact the organizers were supposed to have a meeting yesterday morning with representatives for the municipality. But this meeting was cancelled after a communiqué, under embargo by the city, was circulated denouncing the politicization of the festival. “Certain activities presented seem to the partners to have widely overstepped the environmental questions for which this organization receives funding.”
The city suggests therefore that these partners “as a group are re-evaluating for the future, their potential partnership with Mandaterre and its festival in light of the causes involved.”
In fact, the workshops which started the controversy at Ecofest, was precisely aimed at citizen’s self-defense against shale gas, says Sebastien Rioux, press relations for Ecofest. The workshop which was not in fact organized by Ecofest, but by the organization calling itself Mobilization For A Generation, was cancelled.
On the other hand, the co-founder of Ecofest Mikael Rioux, wanted to emphasize the political tone that Ecofest has had since its beginnings. This festival had in fact come into being in the context of a protest aimed at a private hydroelectric dam project on the neighbouring Trois Pistoles river. “I spent 40 days on the shore of the river to show the population and the economic interests that we can do better and differently than the 25,000 dollars that the project would have generated: by creating an environmental festival” he said. Rioux maintains that Ecofest has brought in 250,000 to 300,000 since then.
It wasn’t a partisan fight, he adds, it was a citizen’s fight.
To those who accuse Ecofest of getting too involved in politics, Mikael Rioux replies that the mayor of Trois Pistoles, Jean-Pierre Rioux, is himself the President of the local Liberal organization in Rivière du Loup and a past candidate, and that the prefect was a former federal Conservative candidate.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
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