HIstory of the festival
The Festival des Guitares du Monde en Abitibi-Témiscamingue was born from the meeting of two men: Jean-Charles Coutu, a retired judge who loved classical music and was very involved in the cultural life of his community, and Alain Vézina, a former record dealer with a passion for music. Surrounded by a few friends and family, they produced the first FGMAT in May 2005. The artistic direction is entrusted to Mr. Vézina who uses his numerous contacts in the music industry to attract big names in guitar to Rouyn-Noranda. This first edition is built around the presence of Rémi Boucher, a guitarist from the region who has a brilliant international career. The event takes place over 3 days and offers a dozen shows, including Robert Michaels, Canadian Guitar Quintet and the Lost Fingers. Given the enthusiasm and the response of festival-goers, the two founding members decided to continue the adventure every year.
In less than five years, the organizers have created a cultural event that has earned an enviable reputation among the greatest guitarists of the Quebec, Canadian and international scene. A well-informed and warm audience, well-filled halls and dedicated volunteers are all elements that musicians remember from their visit to this small urban community (43,000 inhabitants) that is well connected to the world despite its eccentric geographical location.
For 16 years, FGMAT has averaged 25,000 admissions each year. In the last edition (2019), over 90 activities and musical performances were presented over 8 days.
The big names that have performed at FGMAT
Joe Satriani, Tommy Emmanuel, America, Don Felder, Jon Anderson, Al Di Meola, The Assad Brothers, Doobie Brothers, Alan Parson, José Feliciano, Harry Manx, Don Mclean, Manuel Barrueco, Pavlo, Peppino D’Agostino, Johnny Winter, Robert Randolph, Tuck and Patti, Buddy Guy, John Pizzarelli, Randy Bachman, Dominic Miller Sharon Isbin, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Daniel Lanois, Ottmar Liebert, Robert Cray, Richard Marx, Oscar Lopez, Jake Shimabukuro, Stanley Clarke, Buffy Ste-Marie, Richard Desjardins, Larry Corryel, Luca Stricagnoli, Jonny Lang, Jesse Cook, Matt Andersen, Jack Broadbent, Ruthie Foster, Marcus King and many others.
The mission of the Festival des Guitares du Monde en Abitibi-Témiscamingue is to diversify the cultural offer in the region by offering music shows based on the guitar and plucked instruments by regional, Quebec, Canadian and international artists.
An educational component is at the heart of the event with the presentation of guitar workshops, master classes, shows in schools and shows for young audiences.
Accessibility is a very important factor, which is why free shows for all are offered and indoor shows are offered at affordable prices.