Granby Song Festival/Festival de la chanson de Granby
Granby Song Festival/Festival de la chanson de Granby. Annual competition begun in 1969 in Granby, Que, by Yves Gagnon and Yves Steinmetz, to promote original Quebec song, provide amateurs with a permanent workshop, and encourage international exchange. It is sponsored by Les Loisirs de Granby, with organizational support from the MACQ and the federal secretary of state.
The festival was conceived as a focus for the talents of French-speaking singer-songwriters and singers 16 years old or over, Canadian or landed immigrants, with candidates to be chosen at annual preliminary auditions throughout Canada and 4 semi-finalists to appear at a gala concert held first in December at the boîte à chansons L'Escale in Granby and later in September and October at the Palace Theatre. The first-prize winners each receive $10,000, half of which must be assigned to a recording.
Winners have included Priscilla Lapointe (1969), Jean-Marc Perron (1970), Denise Guénette (1971), Fabienne Thibeault and Calixte Duguay (1974), Madeleine Boucher (1975), and Diane Pichette and Micheline Scott (1977), Marie-Denise Pelletier (1982), Jean Leloup (1983), and Luc de Larochellière (1986). The singer-songwriter Robert Paquette was among the finalists in 1972 and 1973. Two of the winners have represented Canada at the Festival international de la chanson française in Spa, Belgium: Perron (1971) and Boucher (1976). The latter won first prize in performance at Spa.
In 1976 the festival added a song competition, Chanson primée, open to any singer-songwriter, for an unpublished song with lyrics in French. The development of the regional operations across Canada was such that by 1978 local song festivals could be established. In addition a four-day training program was instituted and the eight semi-finalists of the 1979 festival benefited from the advice of such professionals as Daniel Deschesnes, Jacques Michel, and Jean Robitaille, with regard to arrangements, staging, and lyrics. Special lecturers also were engaged to discuss all aspects of the songwriting business. Training sessions were then held in July and August for a period of five weeks.