The La Noce music festival was well underway before Silverio’s show on Saturday, July 8 in Saguenay. During his performance, the DJ kissed two festival-goers by force. After this incident, the organizers stopped the performance of the artist. As for the people concerned, they were in shock. “It was fun…before he grabbed my face,” says Manuel Piron.
To close this edition of the La Noce festival, Silverio wore a badly put on wig, as well as a sequined suit. Against the background of techno music, the Mexican artist stripped naked from song to song, threw his empty beers on the floor and sometimes spat on the audience, from a small outdoor stage devoted to late-night events.
Manuel Piron and his friend Charlotte Préfontaine attended the outdoor concert in the front row. The two festival-goers found Silverio’s behavior destabilizing, but understood that it was a performance.
“We could see that it was really a show atmosphere and that his character is to be a little fucked up guy”, describes Charlotte Préfontaine, in an interview with La Presse.
However, after a few songs, Silverio came down from the stage and walked towards the young woman.
Charlotte Préfontaine struggled, but the DJ continued to kiss her. Despite the cries of anger from the witnesses, Silverio then attacked Manuel Piron. “He put his tongue in my mouth,” says the young man.
The spectators who were far from the action were still dancing, but around the boards, “everyone was shaken”, says Charlotte Préfontaine. The student then left the crowd. “I went to cry,” she says.
Silverio didn’t stop there. “He was also spitting beer on us afterwards,” reports Manuel Piron.
The show continued after the event. “Charlotte left, but I was in tabarnak,” explains Manuel Piron. I saw that nothing was happening and I was angry. »
Manuel claims to have alerted a festival employee. “But the funniest part was that he didn’t know what to do,” the student said.
Festival organizers eventually shut down Silverio’s performance.
Sonalie Hénault also attended the show. “I was up high so I had a bird’s eye view of everything that was going on,” she explains. I saw that it happened to two people […]. He took them, he pulled them and he kissed them. In the crowd, “people were booing, shouting,” she recalls.
Juliette Perron, who accompanied Manuel and Charlotte to the concert, says she was “scared” throughout the show. “[Silverio] took Charlotte and he kissed her […]. Everyone froze,” she describes.
In the commotion that followed, Juliette recalls having “passed several crying girls”.
La Presse attempted to reach Silverio and his team, but our inquiries went unanswered.
Reached by phone, La Noce festival general manager Fred Poulin said he reacted “quickly and well” when festival-goers warned him that Silverio had kissed spectators. “We took immediate action as soon as we knew it had happened,” says Fred Poulin.
In an interview, the general manager considers that this is a “situation which is quite minimal”. Fred Poulin believes that kissing spectators was in the spirit of Silverio, who is known for his eccentric style. After viewing the artist’s past performances on the internet, La Presse confirms that he enjoys provocation in questionable taste, including gestures similar to those decried by Charlotte and Manuel.
“But in this case, [the spectators] didn’t feel good. So if someone doesn’t feel good at my festival, that’s where I act,” says Fred Poulin.
On Monday, July 10, La Noce recounted the events of the previous Saturday on Instagram. “Support was offered to those directly involved,” it read.
This statement had the effect of a “little knife in the heart” for Charlotte Préfontaine. “Because it’s not true,” she laments.
The director of the festival’s musical programming, Éric Harvey, called Charlotte the day after the show, underlines the student. “He made sure I was okay, but in the end they didn’t offer me any special help. They did not assure me that things would change. »
“They kinda washed it off. I didn’t feel supported,” she adds.
For his part, Fred Poulin indicates that Charlotte and Manuel received support “all weekend”. “We met all the people. We made sure to have the facts of the story, to have their version, to speak to them. »
Charlotte Préfontaine and Manuel Piron deny having been met by the organizers after the event.
Festivals are not powerless in the face of the misconduct of the artists they invite, underline experts in the prevention of sexual violence.
“There is a way to provoke and be artistic without committing crimes,” says Jordanne Blais-Rochefort, co-founder of Scène
Jordanne Blais-Rochefort insists on the importance for festivals to apply a zero tolerance policy regarding sexual violence, and to indicate it “black and white in the artists’ employment contract”. She regrets that some organizers minimize the abuses perpetrated during their event.
For Julie Durand, of the Center for Aid and the Fight against Sexual Assault (CALACS) in Saguenay, the duty of festival organizers is not to take care of people who have suffered inappropriate acts themselves. However, they must be able to redirect them to the right places and “create partnerships with specialized resources”, points out the social worker.
For the moment, La Noce, a relatively young event that only saw the light of day in 2017, does not collaborate with any group that works to prevent sexual violence. Fred Poulin, however, assures that he intends to do so next year.
The CALACS du Saguenay has contacted La Noce to offer the organizers support during the next editions of the festival, underlines Julie Durand.
Charlotte Préfontaine and Manuel Piron do not intend to file a complaint against La Noce. The young woman claims to have “lived the dream” during the three days of the festival leading up to Silverio’s performance. However, she hopes that this event will serve as a “wake-up call” for the festival.