A celebration of life will be held Saturday (Sept. 9) for Anton Lemieux, son of Sound Heritage owner Jean Lemieux and popular employee of the Vault Café. (Submitted photo)

Music festival remembers Nanaimo overdose victim

Festival Lemieux will be held in downtown Nanaimo today (Sept. 9)

Max Frazer will realize a dream he had with best friend Anton Lemieux, a beloved employee of the Vault Café, today (Sept. 9).

Lemieux passed away in March, a victim of the fentanyl crisis, and Festival Lemieux, a celebration of life, will take place noon to 10 p.m. Saturday at a stage behind Sound Heritage (33 Victoria Cres.), owned by Lemieux’s father Jean. Lemieux and Frazer, whose band Wide Eyed will be performing, had envisioned organizing such an event for years.

“We had just started the planning of it and tragedy struck around that time and I felt, not obliged, but I felt like it was right to do it anyway and especially for his dad. [He] really, really wanted that to happen,” said Frazer. “From my perspective, it was just as much for his father as it was for being in memory of him.”

Frazer, café general events coordinator, described Lemieux as outgoing, funny, sociable and talented.

“He was a fantastic writer, a really good poet, wrote really good short stories,” said Frazer. “He dabbled in a lot of things. He did a lot of comedic short films, a lot of beautiful writing. He was a musician. He played in a band in town the Let Me Downs, he was a drummer in that band.”

Frazer also said Lemieux liked the recorder instrument, something Chris Thompson, member of band Ah, Venice, who will perform Saturday, elaborated on.

“He just got up on stage one day at a comedy event and started doing the weirdest comedy. He opened with a recorder solo for way too long and about half the audience didn’t get it at all, half of us thought it was absolutely hilarious because he doesn’t know how to play the recorder, nobody knows how to play the recorder, but he thought it was funny just to open really strongly as if he knew,” said Thompson.

Fentanyl will be a topic that will be brought up Saturday, according to Frazer.

“There’s been a lot of shows in the last six months where people have brought it up and talked about it and I definitely don’t think it’s something that’s going to be kept in the dark,” said Frazer. “We all know that that’s why [Lemieux] isn’t here with us anymore. We all want each other to be safe and be aware.”

Tickets are $25 at Fascinating Rhythm and the Vault Café.

WHAT’S ON

Festival Lemieux performers Saturday (Sept. 9):

1 p.m. Waste Management, 1:45 p.m. Sean Patton, 2:30 p.m. Ah, Venice, 3:15 p.m. Sweet Dreams, 4 p.m. Hush Pup, 4:45 p.m. Roberts Hall, 5:30 p.m. Dagr AP, 6:15 p.m. Wide Eyed, 7:15 p.m. Fever Feel, 8:30 p.m. The KCATS.

reporter@nanaimobulletin.com