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  • Mathieu Parent

Our Santa Teresa Experience

A short drive or metro ride out of downtown Montreal is where the town of Sainte-Thérèse held the second edition of Santa Teresa Festival from May 18 to 20. Three days filled with a variety of musical artists and bar hopping. This gathering has become the start of festival season here in Montreal and a place where you can finally see the people you’ve been following on Instagram for months in person! The main street is closed off, venues are too small to hold the actual amount of people who should be seeing an artist (ex. Milk & Bone at Bar Le Cha Cha) so, what you get is everyone gathering in the street drinking, waiting for the next show to begin or for one to clear out so they can get a spot. As I said, this is a three day festivity so I will walk you through our Ic3y experience from the Friday to Sunday.

Curious and bored, our Ic3y team (Mathieu and myself) decided to take the metro to Santa Teresa quite early on Friday (which is a very convenient way to get there). The festival team were still prepping the activity and merchandise booths along the street when we first got there late afternoon. Since no shows started before 5pm that day, we decided to replenish ourselves at Prohibition bar before the place got too full with business during the weekend because of its place in the heart of the action. The first gig of the night for us was Mort Rose. The four french rock boys from Montreal were full of heart and joy. Lighthearted jokes and songs about sex is what best describes their ‘brand’ from this first impression. They are definitely making their mark here in Quebec and we can’t wait to see what they have coming next! After that show, we slowly made our way to the Église Sainte-Thérèse-d’Avila for the brilliant Feist. Despite our placement in the church which gave us a great view of a beam, Feist’s voice was beyond magical and her engagement with the crowd in this unconventional festival venue was the sweetest to witness. We ended the first night walking further out into the town to the Association Portugaise that lead us to a wedding looking hall for Essaie Pas’ set. Something interesting about Santa Teresa is the variety of genres you can listen to in one day; we went from rock to indie to finish off with some electronic from Essaie Pas’ newly released album.

Photo: Essaie Pas

Saturday was a mess. The cloudy day seemed to start off fine with CRi as the first act on the outdoor stage. Nothing, nowhere then followed and that was about it for a few hours since the downpour would not stop. The festival tried to relocate Her and Alice Glass into indoor venues but they both got cancelled, Alice Glass being one of the biggest disappointments for fans that day sadly. Wolf Parade got moved to Le Montecristo, a venue way too small to hold a band with a great following. I think that my greatest disappointment of the day, which is in no case their fault, its The Voidz being cancelled. No attempt, at least in our knowing, was made to relocate the show that so many people from out of town traveled to come see. The band members were sweet enough to stay in the rain to meet and reassure fans despite the misfortune of the event. Hopefully we will be seeing The Voidz soon enough! Things picked back up late in the evening as July Talk performed in the rain. This was our first time seeing the Canadian legends perform and it hopefully won’t be the last. Their musicality, stage presence and everything they stand for is so captivating and impressive. They were probably our favourite performance of the weekend. That same night, Langston Francis, Sophia Bel and Milk & Bone (a solid lineup) were all playing at Le Cha Cha which we unfortunately couldn’t get into due to the space being over capacity. Instead, I finally got to see the Saint-Lambert rock band Zen Bamboo. Their coolness, dark and real lyrics along with a steady amount of shredding made their performance one of my favourites and I can’t get their songs out of my head. Our night then continued to discover the punk rapper Clyde Forest. He was nothing but smiles and energy during his set, seeing an artist have genuine fun on stage is always refreshing to watch. With all these gigs, we missed Nick Murphy (Chet Faker) and went back to that hall to indulge in Jaques Greene’s electronic universe. Overall, yes Saturday was messy and cold but we still got to see a decent amount of shows. We do think the festival could’ve prepared better in case of rain and accommodating the fans. So, hopefully they will review their strategies for this mishap and take precautions for next year!

Photo: Zen Bamboo

The last day was a huge contrast to the last two days. The sun was out and hot, the outdoor stage was packed with artists and fans. If the whole weekend would’ve been that nice, the festival would’ve had so much more praise. Sunday was the day destined for rap artists. With Ski Mask the Slump God and Trippie Redd cancelling the day of due to issues at the border, local favourite Loud was moved to the outdoor stage. We saw Mount Kimbie, a discovery for me and I fell in love with that band. ABRA was hands down the most fierce performer of all, she’s just too cool. Then the rap queb, dare I day legends? Dead Obies performed for the first time as five piece instead of a 6…Yes, Yes Mccan is no longer a part of them. It was interesting to see how they reworked their set and to see VNCE (the beat maker) step up and sing during their hit 'Explosif'. The boys have new music on the way and many more festivals to play, I am intrigued to see what and how they will be proceeding with this change, it seems good so far! We then missed Ghostmane to go chat with up and coming Sony Music artist, the sweet Langston Francis. After seeing him partying it up with his crew the night before, we got to chat about his journey as a young artist, his upcoming music and much more which will be revealed in our interview coming soon!

Photo: ABRA

Back to the main stage, as mentioned before, to see Loud. This was our fourth time seeing the rapper this past year and it never gets old. His attitude and confidence may come off as cocky but his songs and stage presence makes it all endearing and always a good time. Once again there was no chance of entering Le Cha Cha for Hubert Lenoir, Lydia Képinski and others but at least our faves, Ragers were playing. With new music on the way, the four piece kept it smooth and cool while performing old and new electronic pop-rap based songs with live sound from their guitars and drums. Its always a pleasure to see them live, their energy is undeniable. All this to lead to the moment that had Quebec talking, Lil Uzi Vert. I personally just wanted to take photos of this rapper then go see (SANDY) Alex G. After waiting over an hour for the rapper to show and with no updates from the festival, fans were getting aggravated and so were we (all the photographers). There were so many other gigs that night that would’ve been awesome to shoot but since Lil Uzi Vert was the main event, we all stuck it through until curfew. The Ic3y team thankfully didn’t stay to witness the riot, so we can’t comment on that but we do want to say this: knowing that the headliner had previously cancelled shows in Montreal for whatever reason, wouldn’t a smart thing to do is get a backup act in case one doesn’t show? They had Loud instead of the other two acts that cancelled which is better than nothing. As a festival promoter wouldn’t you rather disburse money for another act in case anything happens instead of paying back hundreds of fans who were disappointed and talked down on the festival for the following days? Just a thought. We hope Santa Teresa will rework their formula and improve their system for their 3rd edition next May!

Photo: Ragers

All photos taken by Coralie Daigneault.


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