We’re in the thick of it now folks; festival season has arrived and I know we all know someone (who knows someone, who knows someone else) making the American circuit, swaying back and forth to the sound of an introspective indie band under red, white, and blue. Now it’s your turn to be that someone at some of these epic Canadian music fests. A continuation of our first lineup, these babies are home-grown good times, guaranteed to blow your mind.
There aren’t any permission slips you need to take home to get signed by your parents (that I’m aware of), but there are a couple of things you need to know about this one-day adventure in the heart of downtown Toronto. Field Trip is the inaugural ball for record company Arts & Crafts, and will serve double duty as the grounds for A&C’s 10th birthday party. Featuring a perfect lineup of Arts & Crafts artists like Gold & Youth and Timber Timbre, Field Trip will also reunite Broken Social Scene (one night only) and Leslie Feist as co-headliners (wouldn’t have it any other way). The evening is sponsored in part by NXNE—another epic Toronto based music experience—and Toronto Underground Market, so you know that the show will run smoothly and your brown bag lunch won’t be sad you left it at home. In true Arts & Crafts style, June 8th will be a family affair with kiddies welcome and love and laughs encouraged. See ya on the bus!
Where do I even begin? With 1,000 artists playing 300 shows in 11 days across the heart of Québec City, the Festival d’été de Québec is one of Canada’s largest musical gatherings. Featuring international artists like The Black Keys, Bad Religion, Stevie Wonder ,and Wiz Khalifa, plus national treasures like Coeur de Pirate, Zeds Dead, and Carly Rae Jepsen (please, you’d pick up if she called you), you can rest assured that the price of your ticket includes a lifetime guarantee that there will always be something for everyone. And if that’s not enough for you (you have some seriously high expectations) there are always incredible street performances happening around the city, captivating crowds with the charm that Québec is known for. Mais oui!!
On the second weekend of every July, folk music from the heart pours out of Birds Hill Park. The Winnipeg Folk Festival is a source of pride in Manitoba and has become an eminent festival stop for international folk acts like Gregory Alan Isakov and Iron and Wine. And as one of the bigger festivals in the country, WFF has a unique, massive lineup in store for it’s 40th anniversary including Aidan Knight, A Tribe Called Red, and Whitehorse. If that weren’t convincing enough, the Winnipeg Folk Festival runs a number of educational and outreach programs to engage their community year round. Initiatives like their Music Mentor Program engage youth in the musical arts, and their Folk Music Camp educates campers through the exploration of the genre. Ticket prices range by Advanced or Gate sales, but are actually quite reasonable considering the breadth and scope of activities and performances. Did I mention they have a Donor Forest? Winnipeg, I’m yours.
Looking to strike gold this summer (I’m sorry Yukon, I had to)? Head up to Dawson City for an authentic Northern musical experience under the midnight sun. The festival, in its 35th year, is hosting a number of diverse Canadian acts this summer, like electro/hip-hop artist Cadence Weapon, country-tinged rock band The Beauties, and French pop artist Fanny Bloom. At the time of publication, additional acts are still to be announced. The Dawson City Music Festival Association also presents a year-round concert series around the area, as well as various fundraising and community outreach events. The DCMF captures the essence of Klondike country in an intimate, grassroots sort of way; the six festival venues are situated within walking distance of one another, and travel by river is listed as a common way to get to the festivities. With “Fun” and “Local, municipal, and national pride” listed as mandated festival values, I am definitely on the lookout for some portage buddies and a canoe.
Let’s start this off by saying that anything on an island (or a pseudo-island at that) is going to be amazing. Hillside Festival is no exception. For 30 years, the annual music fest has lived all things “peace and love,” and has created a cultural experience unlike any other. With a strong emphasis on community, environmentalism, and creativity, Hillside is the music festival for all those eclectic hearts. This year’s lineup features five stages and a wide array of musical talents like Reuben and the Dark, Said the Whale, and Wintersleep, and also showcases spoken word artists like Shane Koyczan, drum, and dance artists, workshops, an artisan market, and a food bazaar (oh my!). Camping options are available, as are brick & mortar accommodations in the city of Guelph itself. I’ll bring my daisy-chain-crown and meet you in the drumming circle.
Once upon a time, as a way to gather their friends together that wasn’t a wedding, Sappy Records organized the very first SappyFest back in 2004. Now a small but mighty independent music festival, SappyFest closes out the summer with it’s 8th installment. If you want an intimate, moving music experience, take a plane, train or automobile out east; you’ll find yourself in Sackville, NB, a town conveniently located in the centre of the Canadian Maritime provinces. Featuring a full spectrum of artists like Doldrums, Jon Mckiel ,and Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire), you can tell this lineup has been masterfully curated with a lot of love and care. Home to many festival goers hearts, SappyFest is also home to an open air market and a zine fair that encourages the creative types with a yearly showcase. It’s grass-roots at it’s finest and it’s something to see.