In the 1960s and 1970s, so-called galas were already being organized in Montmagny. They were essentially open mic nights, providing amateurs and professionals alike with an opportunity to perform one or two tunes in front of an audience that sometimes numbered in the hundreds. In the course of a single evening, some 30 musicians might perform!
Gala in Saint-Eugène (L’Islet), 1998. Watch the video with description (EN).
Performers were backed up by a house band that played throughout the evening. Usually, it was made up of more experienced musicians. For more than three hours, they had to accompany whoever took the stage, regardless of the musician’s musical choices and level of experience. Meanwhile, those hoping to play at a gala had to sit patiently and wait for their turn. Listen as drummer Marcel Vézina describes what went on at these events:
Interview with Marcel Vézina. Subtitles available (EN and FR). Watch the interview with transcript (EN).