Victoriaville, Quebec. It is a quaint blip lying on the Nicolet River, the Trans Canada Highway, and Canadian National Railway. It is about a hundred miles northeast of Montréal and 72 miles south of Québec City. It is famous for its hardwood. Originally a settlement known as Demersville, the city changed its name to honor Queen Victoria in 1861 (I am guessing much to the distress of the town's French-speaking majority). It is regularly referred to as the "arsehole of Quebec" by a friend of mine, but I know this is primarily because he got his ass dumped by a girl from ‘Victo.' As a lumber-heavy mill town, Victoriaville is definitely most famous for the hockey sticks that bear the town's name. I switched my stick allegiance many years ago to Sherwood 5030s after planting the blade of my Victoriaville in a sidewalk crack while playing road hockey and bagging myself something terrible in the process.

For our purposes at TMT, the city's royal name will only be spoken in conjunction with the "musique actuelle" festival it hosts every year, namely, The Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville. Priding itself on booking and presenting "modern" music in the very best sense of the word, this is the 24th edition and once again features visceral international inventors, composers, and installers alongside neo-classical heavyweights alongside noisy sound wrestlers alongside musique-concrete manipulators alongside non-traditional sound sculptors alongside, well, you get the picture, right? Additionally, Victoriaville loves introducing "world" or North American premieres of ensembles and shows and gets off on giving the spotlight to many artists before others catch up and are forced to. There is no downside I can think of; there's no reason why you shouldn't take a trip north to visit the economic capital of the "Bois-Franc" region of Quebec from May 17-21, despite what my bitter friend says.

Here's the lineup so far: Anthony Braxton 12(+1)-tet, John Zorn (solo), Acid Mothers Gong, Marilyn Crispell/Lotte Anker/Andrew Cyrille/Mark Helias, Corkestra, Jean-François Laporte, Michael Snowith Alan Licht/Aki Onda, Theresa Transistor, Melvins, Koenji Hyakkei, "Signal Quintet" (Jason Kahn/Tomas Korber/Norbert Möslang/Günter Müller/Christian Weber), Victoriaville Matière Sonore, Larry Peacock, Carla Bozulich, Magik Markers, Quasar/Alexandre Burton/Julien Roy, Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Trio, Fine Kwiatkowski/Hans Tammen, John Tilbury/Stevie Wishart/Christof Kurzmann/Werner Dafeldecker, Fond of Tigers, Joane Hétu, Kevin Blechdom/Eugene Chadbourne, Daniel Menche, and Keiji Haino/Merzbow.