Behind the Scenes at Divers/Cité 2012

By: Shamaa Von Spindler

The annual Divers/Cité is renowned for drawing some of the biggest festival crowds in Montreal, and it made an even bigger splash this year as it celebrated its 20th anniversary. This incredible arts and culture event delivered a heightened level of glamour and spectacle this year, which easily matched its stunning new location on the Jacques-Cartier pier.

Co-founded by Suzanne Girard, this avant-garde LGBT festival embraces and celebrates the diversity of arts and music. Divers/Cité's spirit of unity and openness permeates the air and is evident in the energy of both the performers and festival goers alike.

Longtime attendees of this free outdoor celebration knew to expect a high-energy line up of performances that would keep them moving and on their feet, come rain or shine. This year was no exception! Neither soaring temperatures nor transient storm showers could keep the crowd from embracing the truly infectious beats of DJ Ana Paula with VJs The Cameron Brothers, which vibrated and pulsed through the electric atmosphere.

The frenzy only continued into Saturday as Mascara— “the biggest Drag Show on Earth”— took to the stage for its 15th annual appearance at Divers/Cité. The crowd went wild as this show that does NOT disappoint outdid itself yet again. Hosted by none other than Mistress Mado, this year's show featured over 3 hours of tour-de-force numbers celebrating beloved pop divas such as Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue and Madonna. It also included a tribute to the late Whitney Houston and culminated in a spectacular visual finale, with an impressive troop of dancers and a parade of decked-out dance queens. The energy was joyful and infectious as Diver/Cité was well underway.

Sunday brought storms, and not just in the sky! The last day of the festival packed a punch as La Grand Bal took place on stage one, where DJ David Morales accompanied choreographer Scott Forham in his production of “Limitless,” which had the crowd dancing (and splashing) in the rain. In the meantime, Le Grande Danse took to stage two where Iberian Idols, DJs Chus and Celallos, continued to spark the atmosphere; they kept things very much alive, bringing the crowds through the storm to groove the rest of the night away.

The 20th Anniversary of this spectacular festival seemed to not only be a culmination of Suzanne and Diver/Cité’s inclusive mission, but also the beginning of a new era of expansion that only an open heart and an open mind can bring. We look forward to the next 20!

Check out our photos from the 2012 event, below.

Tags: GAY & AWAY