Redbridge Festival 2023 at Pont-Rouge, Quebec

June 10, 2023 – Redbridge Festival, Pont-Rouge, Quebec

When we think of cities that are synonymous with the magical world of punk rock, places like London and New York come to mind. Given that those two cities, on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean represent the cities that are generally considered the birth place of the genre, there’s little surprise as to why wear that tag. Yet, with time, places like California – and Quebec, have shown their merit and earned respect as punk meccas.

The last few years have been rough for the punk rock aficionados of the Quebec region, having lost the mega festival that was the Montebello Rockfest, as well as the disappearance of festivals such as Heavy Montreal and ’77 – even the annual Pouzza festival has been reduced to small crowds in lesser venues, now operating without its main outdoor stage (hopefully that changes for future events).

See Also: Redbrige Festival 2023 in images

Alas, a new breed of festival has emerged, with Festival Au Lac having its first edition this weekend, the same weekend as the third edition of the Redbridge festival.

Personally, I really miss Montebello Rockfest. A lot of artists are still owed large sums of money and yes, there were a list of problems over the years – but as a music lover, Montebello Rockfest was probably the peak; the best weekends we’ll ever spend at a festival in our whole lives. If that sounds depressing, keep reading. Rockfest was like a gathering of misfits from across the globe. Mostly from Quebec and Ontario but from far away places like Australia and South Africa too, and having spoken to visitors from those two countries – and others, I realized just how lucky we were to have had that experience for a little over a decade. Not only did Rockfest collect the best roster imaginable, year after year, but the comradery found between all walks of life was fantastic. And the after show parties… epic.

Arriving in Pont Rouge, by way of Ste. Foy and Montreal, instantly brought back memories of Montebello. Situated in a small Quebec town, surrounded by nature – trees and a rocky river with rapids flowing through it, offered a serene escape from the harsh grind of city life. The line-up was top notch, we’ll get to that a little later. There’s a short walk from the woods and across a bridge over a creek that felt like the entrance to Montebello Rockfest and it opens up to a collection of tents pedaling band merchandise, record label tents and more importantly cold beautiful beer. Before the first note of the weekend had been played, we felt like we had come home, surrounded by all these other wonderful misfits and social pariah’s.

With a single stage set-up and enough room to fit four thousand people, Redbridge was a fantastic weekend.

Day 1

Arriving early gave us a chance to cruise the merchandise tents and hug friends – some of which we hadn’t seen in some time. Secure a beer or two (or three – we weren’t counting!) and gear up for what on paper was to be a great day ahead. The skies were grey and clouds hid the sun and there was a feeling that rain could fall upon us at any minute. Truth told though, I’d take the rain over a scorching hot day any time.


Kicking off the Redbridge festival, was Quebec City’s Downstater, and despite it being early evening on a Friday where the majority of those that would be attending the festivities were just getting off of work for the week, the field was already beginning to fill up. The sun was out, the beer was flowing and the mood was all positive.

Quebec is chock-full of talented artists, no matter what the art discipline in question is, and punk rock is no exception. I alluded earlier to this being a mecca, and bands of the caliber of Downstater are proving that point over and over again. The sole local act on day one served up a healthy dose of music and Redbridge was quickly off to a running start. As always, Downstater were solid.

Craig’s Brother

California’s Craig’s Brother, like a lot of the bands on the menu this weekend, have their origins dating back to the 90s skate punk scene. Maybe not as big of a name as some of the others set to play later in the weekend, but Craig’s Brother defiantly should have their share of the pie when punk fans wax poetic about the days of yore.

The band were scheduled to perform at last year’s Redbrige festival, but unfortunately had issues due to Ted Bond, the bands guitarist and lead vocalist, testing positive for covid, and had to cancel their appearance. This then, was a sort of a home coming of sorts. A year later, they finally took to the stage and dropped a solid set that was well received. The day was still young but now the festival was in full swing and the field was rapidly filling up.


San Francisco’s Cigar have a pretty interesting history with the province of Quebec. Back in 2013, the band reunited to play at Ste-Therese’ Music 4 Cancer festival, then again to play Montebello Rockfest and came back again in 2016 to once more play Music 4 Cancer. Now playing at Redbridge, I think it safe to say that Cigar love Quebec as much as Quebec seems to love them.

Despite beginning in 1996, Cigar have only released two albums – and the second only came out last year. Tracks from both records rang out across Pont-Rouge, as Cigar re-introduced themselves to a crowd that was more that pleased to have them return to the province. Frantic drumming and incredible bass lines help the trio stand out from a sea of great, albeit similar artists, that took to the solitary stage throughout this two day festival.

Good Riddance

It’s always great to see Good Riddance live and as far as I can remember, always has been. Tonight, they played twenty songs revisiting each one of their nine studio albums. I personally became a fan of the band around the time they released Ballads From The Revolution back in 1998 – an album that I listened to extensively on my old discman (remember those?) while touring England and France a year or so after its release, and as such, hearing tracks like Salt and Fertile Fields live, again, really sent me on a trip down memory lane. Such is the power of music.

Mid-set, vocalist Russ Rankin spoke to the crowd, saying how he hopes the forest fires that have effected a large portion of the province of Quebec soon subside and that those most effect are soon able to return to their homes. He mentioned that such things are also common in his native California, too. Certainly the increase in forest fires is of concern to everyone, but it was a nice touch for Rankin to mention it and for him to be in touch with the issues surrounding the people he was playing for. Good Riddance have always been a band that seemed to care about current affairs and this just cements that notion.

As usual, Good Riddance played a fantastically tight set that was as true to their studio renditions as could possibly be. Throughout the years, not only have the band remained true to their craft, but they also don’t seem to have aged very much either. Maybe it’s the vegan diet or perhaps, and I’m not saying this is the case or not, but maybe, just maybe, they’re vampires. Who knows. (Well, they do, don’t they!)


My first punk rock festival was the Montreal stop of the Van’s Warped Tour way back in the mid-90s – and the band I was there to see most was, you guessed it, Pennywise. Fast forward more years than I wish to count or acknowledge, and here I am again looking forward to seeing Pennywise. Only this time, I get to see them headlining the same festival two nights in a row. How great is that! There were people in attendance that had seen them play the first day of Festival Au Lac the previous day, who would be seeing them for three consecutive nights. Remember how I said Quebec was a punk rock mecca? Are you feeling it yet?

Tonight, they would be playing their 1995 record, About Time, from start to finish – uninterrupted. An album that includes stellar tracks such as Perfect People, Try and It’s What You Do With It. Twelve songs in all. Leading up to the start of their set, the crowd was hungry and rambunctious, singing the woah-oh portion of Bro Hymn in unison.

Having played the entire About Time record from start to finish, as Jim Lindberg put it, it was time to have some fun. What came next was Pennywise busting out their best tracks. From Alien to Fuck Authority, My Own Country, Society and everything in between. The first day of Redbridge festival came to an end with the traditional closing track, Bro Hymn, and I wondered to myself what was left unplayed for tomorrow night’s headlining spot – they had played everything I had hoped to hear over the weekend already. As always, Pennywise had been brilliant and Redbridge still had another set to look forward to on day two.

Day 2


Yesterday’s menacing skies today meant business. Grey clouds grew darker and darker and all we knew it was now just a matter of time before the skies opened up and rain on our parade. We had been lucky to stay dry on the first day, but there was no chance that the same would happen for day two.

Killing Daisies

New-comer’s Killing Daisies began the second day of the festival and although they had an early slot time, a decent gathering had turned up and many more continued to swagger in during their set. Having released their debut album, Break The Silence, less than a month prior, Killing Daisies were handed a golden opportunity to win over the Redbridge crowd and with a solid performance, they surely have cemented their name and caught the attention of more than a few of those in attendance.

I have a feeling we will be hearing considerably more from Killing Daisies in the very near future and I’m looking forward to it.


Gatineau’s Colorsfade are one of my favorite modern skate punk bands and not because they’re somewhat local. One of the rare bands whose main singer is also the drummer, Colorsfade are rapidly becoming one of the provinces best known acts, and it’s well warranted. Although they didn’t play last year’s edition of the festival, they did play the pre-festival shows that Redbridge festival presented in Montreal and they put on a great set.

Starting off with Line In The Sand, the first track off of their second record Built From The Wreckage, a track that features some great duel guitar work and a high tempo pace throughout. Highly energetic, technical skate punk that really felt like it hit the mark on a weekend where some of the genre’s icons were also scheduled to play, and Colorsfade and the other local or semi-local acts really took advantage of their shot at expanding their fan bases.

Midway through their set, they threw a giant set of inflatable dice into the crowd which corresponded with them playing Roll Of The Dice, and those dice wound up bouncing around the crowd for the rest of the day. The dice were a hit; especially with the kids that were in the audience.


Quebec’s punk rock scene is rife with fast and melodic bands that are also highly technical and well-versed in their craft. Enter Fullcount. A lot of their charm comes by way of sing-along choruses and ear-worm melodies that hook their listener and suck them in.

People were still rolling in while Fullcount were on stage, presumably hung over from the first day of celebrations. Perhaps some were airing on the side of caution with threats of heavy rain looming for the early part of the day. Whatever the case, those that were in attendance seemed to really be digging what they heard. Especially the youngsters. One of the many things that Redbridge does right, in the inclusion of the children; the next generation of punk rock fan. This way, whole families can come and out and get down.

30 Foot Fall

Texas based 30 Foot Fall weren’t even five full minutes into their set before the rain finally came, and it meant business. It didn’t last long but it soaked everyone in the vicinity for a good ten minutes before easing into a gentle pitter-patter. Some ran for cover but a large portion of the crowd stayed to watch 30 Foot Fall who were making their return to Quebec after a twenty-one year absence.

It is unfortunate that the skies had to open up during their set, given the lengthy absence and all, but 30 Foot Fall still did enough to get many to don ponchos and stick out the weather. The bleacher seats were comically overrun with patrons standing underneath them, trying to stay dry, although I highly doubt they gave much respite from the falling rain. The hardcore fans grabbed a fresh beer and pounded it back quick before it got too watered down and kept on keeping on.

Bad Cop / Bad Cop

You know you’re in for a treat when a band dances out onto the stage in unison, has a quick band meeting around the drum kit that ends in a series of high fives before strapping their instruments on, ready to go. Energetic from the get go, Bad Cop / Bad Cop do what they always seem to do, and that is rock out and have a great time.

There was a moment where I thought singer, guitarist Stacy Dee was going to break down into tears. It was moments after she said the words “fuck cancer”, alluding to something obviously deeply personal. Fanning herself for air, she was comforted by her bandmates before they collectively carried on. Bassist Linh Le spoke about the importance of inclusion, which was something that was already taking place at Redbridge. At this point, I’d like to say hats off to the incredible security team in the photographers pit that brought people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters in so that they could safely enjoy the show as well.

If I told you how often I confuse this band’s name with that of the two Bon Cop, Bad Cop films, you probably wouldn’t believe me. It is, however, true. (Good films too, by the way.)


Two days prior to the Redbridge festival, Belvedere and Mad Caddies had been at the Foufounes Electriques in Montreal where they played a great set – the same set they played here, but so what. Bands do that. All the way from Calgary, Belvedere brought their melodic pop-punk tunes to the foray and came ready to jump around the stage like excited teenagers, bringing a hefty portion of fun along with them.

Their energy was contagious, spreading like a virus to the many stood in front of the stage, and pretty soon, a whole collection of people were jumping about and slamming into one another, in a dance known in Quebec as slam. Moshing to most. Several crowd surfers took to the waves on hands below them, entrusting them not to drop them on their heads.

Catch 22

In the brief time in took the stage crew to switch over from Catch 22 to Strung Out, I found an opening in the woods that lead to a rock formation and an unbelievable view. There I sat for a few minutes to soak up my surroundings. It was there I realized I was in love with Redbridge festival. Yes, it’s early in our relationship but when you know, you know. I later heard rumors that the brush between the seated section and this rock formation is filled with poison ivy and if that is true, I was lucky enough to have escaped that itch.

For the ska fans, Catch 22 were a highly anticipated band of the evening. With only a handful of shows booked since their hiatus in 2012, Redbridge got the exclusive set. Eight years after their last exclusive visit to Montebello Rockfest, they were back to entertain the masses. I was excited to see them after all these years, and they delivered. When you have two ska bands with a large horn section  playing back to back, your going to have a good time. They say hips don’t lie but they sure do shake with the trumpets come out.

I was happy to hear a large selection of songs spanning their career. Point The Blame, Sounds Good, But I don’t Know and Hard To Impress were my highlight songs from the set. They even  played some cuts off their later albums that aren’t as heavy on the ska. Of course we had to hear the fan favorites, from the first self titled album Keasbey Nights or else it wouldn’t be a Catch 22 show. People went pretty crazy in the pit in general, but especially for Dear Sergio. We showed our gratitude with a very warm welcome, hopefully they will return again next year to our beautiful province.

Mad Caddies

It had been a little while that the Mad Caddies hadn’t played a show in Quebec and we were eager for their return. Two days prior they made their return to Montreal for a gig at the Foufounes Electriques but I was more excited to see them outdoors. It’s always a different vibe to see this band on bigger and better stages. Redbridge set up was perfect for their energy. It will be said many times that Quebec has a bond with the bands that play here often enough, especially Mad Caddies. They always take time out of their set to thank us and say they truly love it here. Montreal is even featured in song from Souls For Sale, off their album Keep It Going.

Main man Chuck Robertson looked to be in great health and slimmer than we last saw him, and his surrounding cast seemed to be in great spirits, which naturally reflects in their playing too. With the stage squeegeed dry and the skies showing a glimpse of blue now that the rain had stopped, it was smooth sailing for the Caddies. Wet weather wasn’t about to dampen the spirits of their audience as they danced and skanked away to the entirety of the Mad Caddies set.

Strung Out

Originally, Lagwagon had been penned into this slot, but a medical urgency with frontman Joey Cape sadly forced the band to cancel their Canadian dates. A social media post from the band said that Cape required immediate surgery and would be off his feet for several weeks. (with a promise note saying they’ll make it up when they can – and given Cape’s love for Quebec, they surely will). Given Cape’s song Montreal (here’s a link to the great music video created by Raw Cult Media) I’m certain that whatever it is that caused to him to get sat on his ass is serious and we at Modern Free Press wish him a speedy and easy recovery, and look forward to seeing Lagwagon back here soon. (Redbridge 2024?!)

Just hours after the announcement that Lagwagon has pulled out came, another was made that Strung Out were coming back, having played last year, for another round. If you’re going to replace Lagwagon, Strung Out is a great way to do it. Vocalist Jason Cruz apologized for having taken Lagwagon’s spot, which he really didn’t need to do. Both bands have a tremendous following in this region and both are always welcomed here. I had been looking forward to this set all week.

As much as I adore Strung Out’s studio recordings, I’ve found them to be hit or miss when it comes to the live setting over the years. Tonight though, they were spot on and sounded great. They played the majority of my personal favorites, including Firecracker, and I couldn’t have been happier. I don’t think there’s any other band but Strung Out that I would to come in and replace a band like Lagwagon.


Last night, Pennywise had played the full About Time album, and then a seminal best of selection of tracks, to the point that I wondered what was left for them to play tonight. Given their three and a half decades as a band, and twelve studio albums, they surely have a lot of cuts to chose from. Well, minus the two full albums they had already played, and perhaps minus the one that Lindberg didn’t sing on – still, you get the point. They have an extensive catalogue of music.

With the Full Circle album complete, Lindberg again joked that they could now have some fun. I imagine that several songs from the two records they had played, were tracks that don’t often find their way to their live set. Making this more special than the usual Pennywise show.

After poking fun at NOFX and playing snippets of several of their songs, as well as those of Sublime, Bad Religion and Rancid, they continued playing Pennywise songs. Fletcher and Randy had butted heads earlier in the set, over what I didn’t catch, before Jim told them to keep it for the trailer. Bands are like relationships; the healthy ones have their squabbles. (Right, baby?). Fletcher began playing a song Living For Today that Lindberg interrupted to say that they had played it the previous night (they hadn’t – not to take sides or anything), which Fletcher denied and defended his position by saying it may have been at Festival Au Lac two days prior. They played the song regardless and I’m sure nobody had issue with that. They also played Fuck Authority both nights – and again, I doubt anybody at Redbridge was upset to hear such a great track twice. I know I wasn’t.

The night ended with Bro Hymn, as each and every of the numerous Pennywise sets I’ve seen over the last three decades have (fuck, I’m old) but this time I was on stage, singing along and it’s an experience I’ll not soon forget. Much like it was when I did it at Music 4 Cancer a few years back. Pennywise, as always, had been brilliant.

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Everyone, and I mean everyone involved with the Redbridge festival were fantastic. The security staff and the people making it all work all deserve a huge pat on the back, a high five and a cold beer. The sound was amazing. The pit crew was great. The fans were respectful and the whole package had a real feel of community about it. Besides having a killer collection of bands play; wrestling for those that like sort of thing (which I don’t normally, yet found myself immersed in and enjoying the tom foolery) to the inflatable games and face painting for the kids – the next generation of punk rockers who we will all too soon be handing the reigns over too. Redbridge, you are one beautiful bastard!

With festivals like Festivoix, Envol Et Maccadam, Rock La Cause and the always incredible Music 4 Cancer still to come; punk rock in Quebec is alive and well, and ready to party!