Santa Teresa, the alternative festival choice

The town of Sainte Thérèse, less than an hour from downtown Montreal, is going into festival mode this weekend.

After a rather rocky 2018 edition, Santa Teresa is back for its third run this long weekend. Learning from last year’s mistakes, the festival has softened the presence of international hip hop (see Metro Metro) in lieu of keeping the focus on homegrown talent.

Santa Teresa succeeds when it embraces its small town setting, incorporating Collège Lionel-Groulx’s parking lot as its main stage and a number of bars and pubs in the downtown area for afterparties.

With so much to see over such a short period, here are five acts not to be missed at Santa Teresa 2019:

American Football

It’s rare that American Football come to town, let alone perform in a church. Not only are the emo rockers celebrating the 20th anniversary of their self-titled debut, the band also recently released their third studio album (also eponymously titled). Third time is indeed a charm for the group, the new album maintaining elements of what made the world first fall in love with them, while saluting other emo greats via guest spots from Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Montreal’s own Elizabeth Powell.

Église Sainte-Thérèse d’Avila, Sunday, May 19, 9 p.m.


Like many other Torontonians, BAMBII looks at Montreal like a second home. Frequently found on Moonshine billings, the DJ also holds her fort down with the increasingly popular, Caribbean-influenced JERK parties in her hometown. BAMBII is as thoughtful as she is fun, with a desire for inclusivity and representation a great emphasis at any function she spins. “It is very hard to get booked, being a woman and being a POC,” she explained to DAZED on her decision to start JERK. “That was basically creating a platform for myself because I wanted a party that was truly diverse.”

La Véranda, Friday, May 17, 10 p.m. and Skatepark du Parc Ducharme, Saturday, May 18, 5 p.m.


Fresh off the heels of a Canadian Music Week performance in Toronto, Sony Music signee laye returns to her home province for another festival performance. Her melancholy pop blend offers something for everyone to enjoy, tackling themes of heartbreak juxtaposed via warm instrumentals. In her short career, laye has already racked up millions of streams and found herself on a number of high profile Spotify and Apple Music playlists. The singer is expected to continue making waves throughout the summer, with an Osheaga performance in the pipeline for August.

Cha-Cha, Friday, May 17, 10 p.m.


Despite keeping a relatively low profile since the respective releases of his debut album CCCLX and his collaborative EP with the Alchemist, Moving Parts (both in 2017), Lunice has quietly kept on pushing. Lunice does not simply DJ. The Montreal beatmaker has a reputation for blissful belligerence with any performance, bouncing back and forth, knowing the perfect songs to play to get the crowd riled up and rowdy. With a TNGHT reunion seemingly in the pipeline, the second coming of Lunice is imminent.

Mainstage, Sunday, May 19, 9:30 p.m.


PUP are prolific when it comes to touring. They’re like a guy who graduated from high school years ago but keeps driving around the school pretending to know everyone. In any case, the Toronto boys put on a great show, and are welcomed back with open arms. Their latest album, Morbid Stuff, is being hailed as the best pop-punk project since the early 2000s, a statement that sounds like much more of a backhanded compliment than it really is.

Mainstage, Sunday, May 19, 4:45 p.m.

For the full Santa Teresa program and more details, go to the festival’s website.