On August 13, some of Quebec’s celebrities are getting together to support the city and the victims of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy. Avenir Lac-Mégantic will take place at Montreal’s Bell Center with hosts Peter Mcleod and Gino Chouinard who will welcome Jonas and the Massive Attraction, Garou, Louis-José Houde, Isabelle Boulay and Coeur de Pirate. Don’t forget to get your tickets on the Evenko website!
I had the chance to talk to Jonas about the tragedy, the Avenir Lac-Mégantic concert and his band’s recent album.
As the ambassador of Lac-Mégantic, you must’ve been devastated by the tragedy, especially being in the area at the time of the incident. What was the toughest part of the whole experience for you?
It’s such a beautiful city. Over the last 3 years, they’ve really been injecting a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of love, into the tourism part of it. My fiancé and I were in the downtown core on our bicycles visiting the beautiful city of Lac-Mégantic and just admiring all the improvements that they’ve done and all of the beautiful touches that they’ve put into the city over the last couple of years. They’ve been focusing so much on the tourism and everything looks so beautiful.
That next morning, we woke up to our neighbor knocking on our door. We don’t have a television at our cottage. My neighbor was knocking at the door saying I know that you don’t have a television, and asking if we knew what had been going on. Of course, we hadn’t so we looked at the television and we got the terrible news. We jumped into the cars and got right to the scene.
Of course, the devastation was just unbelievable. It was absolutely heart-wrenching to see. That city, overnight, had not only lost so much beauty but also lost so many lives. It’s a very sad state of affairs. It’s a very ominous, unexplainable kind of event. It’s this point right now where it’s most important to start the refocus on where we’ve got to go now. You know, we’re not going to get straight answers from the transport ministers. It’s a company that’s probably covering a lot of mistakes.
Right now, it’s a matter of collecting ourselves as a community and taking the next steps forward and getting lots of money together and rebuild the environment. This is an environmental disaster as well on top of everything. It’s a matter of getting peoples’ awareness and generosity in motion.
The 13th of August will be a great place for that and a great platform for people to do that. It’s a great reason to come out there. There’s going to be lots of talent. It’s amazing to see how many people have stepped forward, how many great artists and friends have stepped forward to make this an unforgettable event.
With Coeur de Pirate and Louis Josée Houde amongst yourself and the others, it should be a lot of fun.
Isabelle Boulay, Garou are going to be out there to. It’s going to be an fantastic night. We’re looking very forward to filling up the piggy bank for the people in Lac-Mégantic.
What is the money raised going to specifically?
This is going to a specific fund called Avenir Lac-Mégantic which is going to go directly to the people. The Red Cross has done an amazing work, a beautiful job of collecting money and distributing it, but this is going to go directly to the rebuilding of the city.
If you had to describe your album Live Out Loud and Jonas and the Massive Attractions, what is the one thing you’d want fans to remember
With the success of Respire, our first French single out here in Montreal and all of Quebec, it’s received an unbelievable reaction on the radio. It’s been number 2 for several weeks and is hopefully going up.
I didn’t know what kind of importance the lyrics of that song were going to hold until after the event in Lac-Mégantic took place. Now, the meaning of the lyrics have a lot more of a profound intensity, I think.
I have noticed that it’s been getting lots of positive reaction, which is great.
I noticed on your Facebook page that you own a Harley. What’s been your favorite drive?
It’s hard to say, I mean, there are so many beautiful places to ride. I’ve had the chance to ride out in the Eastern Townships and I took the Harley out actually on a recent trip to Lac-Mégantic. The Eastern Townships are absolutely gorgeous. When you’ve got a beautiful mountain scape in front of you with some hilly rides and you can jump into the lake at the end of your day. There’s nothing like it in the world.
Thanks a lot for your time and good luck with the show