FME 2023 Preview

DOMINIONATED contributor Matt Hertendy is heading back to FME — le Festival de musique émergent en Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Here’s a preview of who he’s looking forward to seeing.

How quickly a year goes by. It feels like I blinked after FME 2022, and suddenly the 2023 edition of le Festival de musique émergent en Abitibi-Témiscamingue is right around the corner. DOMINIONATED will be back on the streets of Rouyn-Noranda again to take in all the action, from August 31 to September 3, 2023. Here is who we are looking forward to at this year’s festival.


Elisapie has been a staple in Juno, Felix and Polaris Music Prize conversations throughout her career. Recently she has been turning heads with inspired Inuktitut language covers of hits by Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, and others on her forthcoming album, Inuktitut. As evidenced by her discography, including 2018’s The Ballad of a Runaway Girl, Elisapie is unafraid to make compelling music.

Dope.gng / La Sécurité

The programming team has committed what I would call “a crime” by scheduling Dope.gng and La Sécurité at the same time, forcing us to choose between the two. Experimental rap duo Dope.gng brings a range of vibes to their repertoire, from the incredibly smooth late-night party jam Sticky to the fiery, in-your-face rager Brúler des Condos. La Sécurité brings fresh energy to the post-punk, and if their new album Stay Safe! is any indication, we can expect to dance late into the night. 

Catching both acts may not be impossible, as FME has a habit of surprising festival goers with Secret Shows that pop up at a moment’s notice. So maybe they will atone for the crime of making us choose between these two exciting acts.

Mugsy & Maam’s Show

Part puppet theatre, part clubbing, we are invited to dance along to the story of two puppets’ quest to return to their interstellar home. By virtue of the concept’s uniqueness amongst the rest of the lineup, it gains a mention on this list. If a puppet show isn’t your thing, you can at least get down to the House stylings of The Fitness, Lou Roots and (my personal favourite name) GabaGhoul.

Other FME Must-Sees

With a festival of this calibre, writing at length about everyone would make this a novel rather than a blog post. Some other performers on our radar included “DOMINIONATED-core” favourites such as Cedric Noel, Nora Kelly Band, and knitting. The rap and hip-hop lineup is not to be missed, with talents such as Imposs, Fraud Perry, Q052, Myst Milano, and members of Montreal rap outfit Dead Obies, Greg Beaudin and 20some.

The bottom line is that no matter what your musical preferences, or even your French language proficiency, FME pulls together a lineup full of variety and surprises. One year after covering FME 2022, artists from last year who weren’t featured in my preview still appear regularly in my music listening habits.

You can’t go wrong once you’re in Rouyn-Noranda for FME, no matter which shows you end up in.

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In the Pines