Out of all the Festimania festivals we were exposed to in Montreal, the Divers/Cité festival was the one that confused me the most. This gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender (GLBT) event had a grand vision to share the community with the wider population. Yet the experience fell a bit short.
In fairness, the event is a new one and still trying to find its voice. Yet, unlike the more vibrant Just for Laughs festival or the massive chaos of Osheaga, this festival seemed to lack the colorful diversity its name implied.
A look at the schedule revealed DJs and bands, with a drag queen and dance troupe shows thrown in. (I exaggerate, but not by much.) Even from a vendor standpoint, the event lacked more than a smattering of booths. There really wasn’t much to see nor to do.
The reason I dwell on this is because the GLBT community in Montreal represented some of the friendliest people we met in the city. And for this reason alone they deserved a better representation of the vibrancy of their community.
The main street of what is widely considered to be the “gay neighborhood,” was strewn with lights and pink balls. The entire neighborhood was excited about the event. They wanted this to be big and they were ready to party. And judging by the dance
events we attended, they had a blast. But there was little that I saw to represent the deeper facets of the community. I would have loved to have seen art shows, or listened in on forums or had a film festival to explore, yet little of this seemed present.
I cannot stress enough that my criticism comes from having explored the neighborhood and talked to the residents and seen the culture present there. I could have perhaps accepted a party had I not seen what depth the community had to offer. So I urge the festival to share more of it’s heart in future years. I, for one, would like to get to know you a little better.