What happens when a music festival takes over a whole community?

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Interview with Julien Aidelbaum – Founder of Santa Teresa Festival

Santa Teresa Festival, in its sophomore year, will be bigger and better than ever. Julien Aidelbaum, the founder of the festival warns that this year’s event is near being SOLD OUT, so get your tickets quickly!

You can find more information about the Festival at their website:  https://www.santateresa.ca

Montreal Rocks spoke with the founder of Santa Teresa Festival, Julien Aidelbaum.  We get a glimpse of a bigger and better festival and find out what bands Julian is excited to catch.


Montreal Rocks:  Thanks for talking to us about the festival this coming weekend.  I look forward to attending.  What are we to expect during this Friday to Sunday festival?

Julien Aidelbaum:  A lot of bands, obviously:  Hip-Hop, Indie Rock, many emerging artists both from Quebec and Canada & International up and coming acts.  Just a nice experience throughout what we call the village of St-Therese.  If you are not familiar with St-Therese, we built the festival around the little village, which makes it pretty special. We pretty much use up all the space and make sure we transform every location into our festival “parcours”.

MR: In the past, I’ve attended MRCY back with Alabama Shakes, which is something you produced.  I had a great time, I felt it was well organized.  Then it disappeared, but then I found out it has become something new, something better:  Santa Teresa

Last year, I saw City and Colour and I loved the way it was set up. Like you said, the whole town becomes a festival town.  After the show, I popped into Le Montecristo and saw We Are Wolves then went to the other side of the street to Le Cha Cha for another band in this super small Brasserie type place. It was fun, it was as if the whole city was in music mode.

JA: That is exactly it.  This year we are even pushing further.  We are using the bars, but we are also blocking the main street.  It wasn’t blocked last year.  There will be visual arts on the street, a “terrasse”, and gaming.  We really want people to just come and chill for the whole weekend: Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Chill on the street and if they want, pop into any show.  That is the big difference.  We are adding a few venues too.  L’Association Portugaise is a community room which has a POP Montreal vibe. We are adding pop up shows throughout the village this year, but obviously, we are back to the church with those two shows:  Feist and the closing ceremony with Klo Pelgag.  We are investing more time and more content for the outdoor stage where Nick Murphy and Lil Uzi Vert will be performing.

Nick Murphy

MR: Will you need a ticket for the outdoor stage?

JA: You will need a ticket for pretty much everything.  It’s a three-day pass or a single day pass and VIP badge.  These tickets will give you access to the different locations, but there is La Protestante and Le Saint-Graal that are totally free.

Friday Day Pass:  $25
Saturday Day Pass:  $50
Sunday Day Pass:  $50

3-Day Pass:  $95
VIP Pass:  $300

MR: Compared to the bigger festivals…we won’t name names…it’s a very reasonable price.  What I like as well is that last year at the big festival, it rained…my daughter was there, soaking wet.  Because your festival is spread out across many little venues that are inside, there is less chance of getting wet, so that is another bonus.

JA: Our outdoor site can hold thousands of people, but not that much room in all the clubs and bars, but yeah, it’s fun because you go from one indoor venue to the other.  It doesn’t matter if it rains.  It’s looking pretty good for this weekend.

Lil Uzi Vert

MR: You started producing shows back when you were 17.  Your big goal was to bring more emerging and indie artists to “la banlieu” to expand the fanbase of the bands.   How has it changed over the years?

JA: The market has evolved a lot. People, in my opinion, are more used to seeing shows in the North and South of Montreal, not necessarily downtown. There are a lot more shows on the North Shore.  We are in a nice period because the North Shore, Laval and Les Laurentides is the fastest growing market in Canada.  There are a lot of young families, students of course with all the schools across the different cities.  It’s the right moment to inject more youthful culture.  We are not saying that we are changing the game, but we are trying to do something different with Santa Teresa and it’s the perfect time.  If I go back 8 years ago, there was pretty much nothing, or only mainstream stuff was happening.  Now, it’s more diverse, more indie and a lot more genres.  I think people are open to this.  “Ce n’est plus la balieue dortoir”, you know.  There is a lot of action.

MR :  Just seeing City and Colour sell out in 5 minutes last year, and you had a good turnout for Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton, I was at that show as well.  What a wonderful experience hearing a live show in that church with such amazing acoustics. Of course, it’s a bit of a pain because of the seats, because obviously, it’s church seats…but you don’t care, because it’s such a warm intimate feeling.  It really makes for an interesting concert.  I definitely recommend that anyone who has some time this weekend, go to the Santa Teresa festival and really experience it for what it is…it’s really something special.

JA:  I think so, we are working on something very special and unique.  Obviously last year, it was year one, now it’s year two, but it still feels like the first year because the event is slightly different. Last year, it was all around the church shows.  This year, there are the church shows, but like I said earlier, a lot more content and international content on the outdoor stage.  We only had 10,000 people there last year, so many more will be discovering Santa Theresa for the first time and I think people will adopt it.  It’s different and way more chill than being downtown in my opinion.  Way more chill than being at Parc Jean-Drapeau.  We are in a nice little community and we are comfortable.  We are not more than 20,000, that’s our goal this year.  I think people are going to dig it.

MR:  You are known for your curation and bringing interesting bands. What is the one band you yourself don’t want to miss?

JA:  To be honest, there are a lot more than one!  I would say Trippie Redd, Ski Mask The Slump God or Lil Uzi Vert for sure.  I really want to see The Voidz, that is a no-brainer.  What else?  I’m really stoked for grandson.  Stoked for ABRA, Tommy Genesis.  F#$@&ed Up.  We are really proud with the programming this year.

MR:  There is definitely something for everyone.  Tons of up and coming bands that I haven’t heard of yet, so I’m looking forward to being exposed to them.  Anything else you want our readers to know?

JA:  We just want people to discover the festival.  We will be SOLD OUT soon, so people need to get their tickets now!

Santa Teresa 2017:   35 artists

Santa Teresa 2018:    85+ artists

Poster Festival Santa Teresa 2018

Interview by Randal Wark

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