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A successful 25th edition for Bicolline

EVENT. For its 25th edition, the Great Battle of Bicolline was in full swing last week, when nearly 4,000 festival-goers gathered in Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc. A return to the scene that was expected by all, after two years of absence.

A simple walk on the site punctuated by discussions with the participants makes it possible to really feel the enthusiasm experienced by the public at the idea of ​​taking part in this series of activities. Festival-goers take their activities to heart, investing themselves in their costumes, in organizing and planning their schedule, and in their lifestyle. In short, as was the norm before the pandemic.

“The essence of Bicolline is centered on the creativity of the participants,” says Étienne Simard, coordinator of the Grande Bataille, the most popular event that attracts the most festival-goers. “There is no guide that says how to do it: we rely on people’s judgement. And we see very, very beautiful costumes every year. »

On a territory of 1.4 km2 wide, the participants in this fantastic medieval universe live and spend the whole week there. They are invited to build themselves huts to sleep in and their strong castles to prepare for attacks from opposing camps.

“It seems like it really was a sigh of relief for people to know that they were coming this year,” said Olivier Renard, founder and operations coordinator of Duché de Bicolline. “When it’s your hobby and you make a living from it, it’s good for them to come back. Just the fact of meeting up, it’s really a community that knows each other well, and there are many who had not seen each other for a long time. People really come from all over Quebec, and even from outside: we have about 13 countries represented. So that was definitely something. »

“I’m having a very nice Bicolline,” says Galo, originally from the South Shore of Montreal, who is in his third edition of the festival. “The activities that have been developed by the artisans of Azur are very nice. We all got a coupon when we signed up, and it comes with quests. This is in addition to the bulletin board activities. I think it’s really a great initiative. »

Jessica and Jessie, who both also come from the South Shore, agree. Although they admit to having traveled to Saint-Mathieu mainly to party and have a good time with friends, they are both great fans of the energy that Bicolline exudes, which they describe as ” exceptional”. “We really see the differences in people’s attitudes, there are some for whom it seems that they are invested in their characters and in their activities, whereas we are more casual. The role play, the unity of the huts, the architecture: there is nothing like that, anywhere else,” they both agree to say.

As for the big battle, it was once again the event that dominated in popularity with festival-goers. Gabriel, who practices the sport of archery with the archery combat group, is a regular at life-size role-playing games (GN), but this was his first bicolline edition. “La Brande Bataille was wonderful. I had already done larp style fights, but never of this magnitude. He particularly enjoyed the sporting aspect of the Battle, and the idea of ​​having several opportunities to try out the different strategies he had prepared.

Support from the community

Several stakeholders interviewed for this report emphasized the team spirit that emerges from the participants. While the focus of the event is on the formation of the trenches and the competition between them, the communities within these trenches really focus on teamwork and mutual support. You can clearly see that in the costumes that are made, the tactics of battles, and the realization of all the other smaller projects, throughout the journey, and it is a phenomenon that has grown in recent years. , with the number of families constantly increasing on the site. As Bicolline wants it, it is really the holiday spirit that reigns on the site.

Bicolline also has an international vocation. As Olivier Renard mentioned, more than 13 countries are represented there. The United States contains the most international participants, with a full section of the site featuring many Americans.

“I have always been a fan of LARP. It’s not my first time at Bicolline,” explains Allison. I think that, compared to other LARPs, especially in Europe, Bicolline offers a very unique experience to participants. The organizers started from their own game to make it a huge event, recognized worldwide. What I like the most is the idea that anyone can come and feel completely immersed in this universe. The culture and style that comes out of this LARP is absolutely remarkable,” believes the New Yorker.

In fact, it is really this culture and these common values ​​that festival-goers share that unites them all in the world of Bicolline. The organizers salute all the work that has been done by their many volunteers this year, as well as the financial assistance of $108,000 from the Government of Quebec, to ensure the return of the festival in 2022. This fall, they will contribute to the holding of the third Christmas Market, which will be held on the same site, in December.

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