The Gleaner

Farmland Festival brings diverse cultures together in Godmanchester

Local actor and director turned festival promoter, Chadi Alhelou, has been busy this past year – preparing the sprawling grounds at his home in Godmanchester, where he will host the second edition of the Festival Terre Ferme on September 24 and 25.

Presented by the non-profit organization, Érables et Sources, the event features multicultural programming including traditional and folk music from around the world, a produce market, international cuisine and gourmet food vendors, exhibitors of local Quebec products, artistic performances, and a play area for kids.

After the success of the first edition last September, Alhelou says his objective this year is to attract visitors to the Haut-Saint-Laurent while exposing locals to different cultures. “We have to admit it; there is not much diversity here,” he says, explaining he wants more locals to become involved in the festival. “I would like the people here to come as hosts and to welcome those coming from outside the region and from different cultures,” he explains. “I am not doing this for me. It is for the region,” he adds.


Two women doing an Indigenous dance outside in front of an audience sitting on bales of hay
Indigenous dancers opened the 2021 edition of the Farmland Festival in Godmanchester PHOTO Sarah Rennie


The festival will feature performances by members of the Association Québecoise des Loisirs Folkloriques du Sud-Ouest, the Elgin and District Pipe and Drums band, Haitian-born musician AZ, Gitane Sergiu Popa with their Balkan and eastern European sound, traditional Mediterranean and European music with Skarazula, and the Syrian Trio. The event will also feature master storyteller Myriame El Yamani, and Indigenous dancer Barbara Diabo.

The festival is funded in part by the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, and has the full support of the municipality of Godmanchester. Volunteers from the Maison des Jeunes will be on site with activities for children.

The site will open to visitors at 10 a.m. at 2152 Rang 4, Godmanchester. Kids under 12 get in free; admission is $15 for families, $10 for adults, and $5 for seniors and students. More information can be had at 514-777-7152.

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