The Santa Teresa Festival: Truly a Multi-Genre Music Fest For All

On a pleasant weekday evening disconnected 35 km away from the busy Montreal island, in a small suburb called Sainte-Thérèse, there was a loud crowd celebrating local bands. It was not any regular evening but the first of the extravagant Santa Teresa Festival which started on May 19th and lasted until the 22nd. 

With closed streets, three different outdoor stage venues and many indoor performances, the Santa Teresa Festival was unleashed in full force for the first time this year after the restricting effects of the pandemic. It is a music festival dedicated to celebrating and encouraging local and budding artists; as well as international acts headlining. The festival's goal is to give the bands access to huge crowds and to also introduce refreshing music to the audience. 

Right next to the welcome arch of the fest was the usually busy ticket counter on Turgeon Street where the line included people, babies in prams and pets on leashes. Even if some of its venues were only for adults and weren’t pet-friendly, the whole fest still had a groovy vibe no one could escape from.

It was about 8:30 pm on the second day of the fest, when the sun just rested for us to party. People grabbed some drinks at the SAQ bar tents and some tasty crispy fries at one of the food trucks before heading to the closest open stage, the Desjardins stage. This stage is one of the venues that hosted free events for all the days of the fest.

Pink hued lights lit up the audience's faces while the crazy, peppy songs of the band easy tiger lit up their moods. The band comprises of Gabrielle La Rue and Sarah Dion who played their recent release "Ibizia." I realised I was too late to the party when their performance ended just as I wanted to go up closer and break a leg. The song, the beats and the energy were very engaging and deserved all those loud claps and cheers. 

The next performance was at the Loto-Québec stage, one of the paid venues for which the audience needed special passes and wristbands to access. It could host a huge crowd, so there were separate food trucks, bar tents, and drinking water kiosks specifically for this section of the fest. 

Food court scenes smelled like fresh fries, fish-n-chips, nachos and churros. They had multiple seating areas for the crowd to take a break from partying. Meanwhile, the stage was being prepped for Hubert Lenoir’s, 9:15 p.m. show. He is a Québécois musician who rose to fame with his 2018 album, Darlène. 

All the venues were based on first come first serve, and I stood in the last row of the audience as I was late to the party. From what my weak eyes could discern, Lenoir wore a white dress for his performance. He didn’t give the crowd one dispassionate second as he swayed and mesmerised the audience with his soothing June 2021 release, Secret

The lights, the bass, the boom, and the crowd went gaga over his peppy song “Dimanche Soir.” According to many publications, he was declared "a pop star in any language" and he proved it that night; rocking the huge crowd in a white dress. 

Simultaneously at the Desjardins stage was another band electrifying the crowd with their music. They were Solipsism, a psychedelic-rock band formed in the winter of 2021. The band members are longtime friends based in Montreal and Québec. François Lemieux (Milanku, ex-Dark Circles) on voice, guitar and keyboards, William Duguay-Drouin (Caravane) on drums, Taylor William Fitzpatrick Johnson (White Nails) on keyboards, Samuel Gadreau on guitar and Maxime Doyer on bass and vocals all mesmerised the crowds with their version of rock. 

The fest hosted many other bands and independent artists for four days. From slow, meaningful songs by artists such as Martha Wainwright and Lonny at the Ste-Therese-d'Avila Church, to rap music by Fly Jordy & Wes Castle in the Cabaret BMO to other venues hosting pop music, rock, and punk, the Santa Teresa Festival proved to be truly a groovy, local music fest for all tastes.