Cultural Spotlight:Festival du Bois – A glimpse into the musical community

Photo courtesy of Le Winston Band

Festival du Bois is the largest celebration of French Canadian and francophone music and culture in B.C. Traditionally held in Coquitlam, this vibrant festival brings together music lovers to appreciate the diverse music styles in our society. This year, musicians all across Canada will be bringing their unique songs to the free online festival held from Apr. 16 to Apr. 30.

One of the most anticipated performances comes from Le Winston Band, a Montréal zydeco group whose distinctive musical style combines its French-Canadian musical roots with rock and Cajun tunes. The band comprises Antoine Larocque on the accordion, Vincent Fillion on the guitar, Antoine Fallu on the electric bass, Andrew Duquette-Boyte on the frottoir and Gregory Fitzgerald on the drums.

The members of Le Winston Band are very excited to participate in the Festival du Bois for the first time. For their piece, they shot a video in L’Orbite in Montréal, which they describe as a beautiful venue converted into a florist since the pandemic.

“We were in a great mood when making it,” the band says. “We played a few original pieces and some traditional Cajun and zydeco songs, always blending different genres with our own style and reality.”

The band believes that the video will bring the same joy and warmth they experienced to their audience.

The story behind the band

Le Winston Band was formed in 2012 when the members were still in CEGEP (two years post-secondary education in Québec). During a long student strike, the band had extra time to play country and cajun covers along with traditional and original folk songs in French.

“It all began in Vaillant’s apartment at the time, which was called Chez Winston because there lived a domesticated rat named Winston,” the band explains. “So when we had to find a name for our first gig, Le Winston Band seemed right.”

In addition to the original trio, Vaillant, Fallu and Vince, Duke and Greg have also come to join the group.

“We are like family now,” the band expresses.

Adapting to change

Le Winston Band acknowledges that there have been significant changes in the format of the celebration.

“Of course, we were most looking forward to living the real experience of a festival, especially the partying, meeting all kinds of great people and great bands,” the band says.

From Innu singers to Acadian musicians, the festival is truly a celebration of diversity.

“We were also excited about discovering a part of B.C., learning about the people and seeing how our Louisiana-influenced music would be received there,” the band adds.

Although things turned out to be slightly different, the band maintains a positive attitude as they express they need to ‘adapt and be patient.’ They believe that music can be appreciated equally online and hopes that the audience is looking forward to other surprise events and features the festival is sure to bring.

For more information, please visit www.festivaldubois.ca.

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