Canada’s Summer Music Festival Scene offers plenty of choice from coast to coast with hundreds of venues featuring local and international artists. Check out our comprehensive guide to the most popular events taking place this summer.
1. Festival International De Jazz | Montreal, Quebec | June 29 – July 9 |
Photo By: Montreal Jazz Festival
The 37th edition of the largest Jazz festival in the world boasts over 450 free outdoor performances on 10 stages. Montreal’s downtown core hosts 2.5 million visitors for 10 days with dancing in the streets where cars are off-limits. Discover the new stage, Le Balcon, where the audience surrounds an acoustic piano. This year’s lineup includes Melody Gardot, Lauryn Hill, Gregory Porter, Noel Gallagher, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis and Taj Mahal.
2. Festival D’été De Québec | Quebec City, Quebec | July 7-17 |
Photo By: Festival D’été De Québec
International stars abound at Canada’s largest non-profit outdoor musical event where 1 million visitors celebrate 11 days of music in the heart of historic Old Quebec City. From jazz to hip-hop, rock and folk there’s something for everyone. Sting & Peter Gabriel, The Lumineers, Selena Gomez, Sheryl Crow, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Yael Naim are part of the incredible program this year.
3. Ottawa Blues Fest | Ottawa, Ontario | July 7 - 17 |
Photo By: Ottawa Festivals
Thousands of fans celebrate Canada’s not just blues festival at the LeBreton Flats Park in downtown Ottawa. The 12-day event includes international stars John Fogerty, Joe Jackson, Billy Idol, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Duran Duran, The Lumineers and Bryan Ferry
4. Winnipeg Folk Festival| Winnipeg, Manitoba | July 7 - 10 |
Photo By: Accesswinnipeg.com
The Bird’s Hill Provincial Park venue boasts plenty of room to dance in its large prairie field. Well established since 1974, this year’s festival features Ryan Adams, Loudon Wainright II, Sam Roberts Band and many others
5. Cavendish Beach Music Festival| Cavendish, Prince Edward Island | July 8 - 10 |
Photo By: Cavendish Beach Music Festival
The biggest outdoor festival in Atlantic Canada entertains more than 70,000 visitors each year with well known and up and coming names in country music. Blake Shelton, The Band Perry, Dean Brody and Kenny Chesney are part of this year’s lineup.
6. Mariposa Folk Festival | Orillia, Ontario | July 8-10 |
Photo By: Mariposa Folk Festival
Since 1961, this ‘all things folk’ festival has weathered many storms but is still going strong with a lineup of emerging and established folk artists. There is folk dancing, crafts for kids and handmade folk art for sale. See Rita Coolidge, The Milk Carton Kids, The Good Family and others
7. Halifax Jazz Festival | Halifax, Nova Scotia | July 12-17 |
Photo By: Halifax Jazz Festival
The oldest festival in Atlantic Canada attracts 55,000 visitors and includes educational workshops for both amateur and established artists. Artists perform at the waterfront’s Main Stage, the picturesque Hydrostone Park and Halifax Public Gardens, including Lauryn Hill, Metric, City and Colour, Oliver Jones, Julia Holter and more.
8. Pemberton Music Festival | Pemberton, British Columbia. | July 15-17|
Photo By: Pemberton Music Festival
Majestic Mt. Currie is the gorgeous backdrop to this festival of music and comedy. There are plenty of big name musicians that will draw the crowds like Pearl Jam, J. Cole and Snoop Dogg plus comedians Cheech and Chong, Maria Bamford and others.
9. Vancouver Folk Music Festival | Vancouver, British Columbia | July 15-17 |
Photo By: Vancouver Folk Festival
Traditional and contemporary folk and roots music artists gather at family friendly Jericho Beach Park with 7 lovely beachfront stages. The 39th edition features international and Canadian musicians Martin Carthy, Oysterband, Birds of Chicago, The New Pornographers, Bruce Cockburn and the Wainwright Sisters.
10. Folk On The Rocks| Yellowknife, Northwest Territories | July 15-17 |
Photo By: Ticketfly
Since 1980 this festival has been bringing together a culturally diverse lineup of Canadian artists collaborating in the “biggest artistic jam in the North”. Juno nominated musicians Joel Plaskett, the Barr Brothers and Maz headline this year’s show.
11. Calgary Folk Fest | Calgary, Alberta | July 21-24 |
Photo By: Calgary Folk Music Festival
A 4-day family-friendly celebration of music from diverse cultural traditions at Prince’s Island Park includes spoken word programming and a Folk Boot Camp for budding artists. Canadian legends Whitehorse and Ian Tyson will join the New Pornographers, the Braids, the Sadies and others.
12. Hillside | Guelph, Ontario | July 22 - 24 |
Photo By: Hillside
Billing itself as a festival of music and community along the shores of Guelph Lake Island, it takes pride in its many green initiatives, Artisan market and children’s area. This year’s performers are Buffy Sainte-Marie and the Sadies, The Milk Carton Kids, Fond of Tigers and many more.
13. Way Home Music & Arts | Oro-Medonte, Ontario | July 22 - 24 |
Photo By: Wayhome
A festival about music, food, art and film features an impressive lineup of modern indie rock including Arcade Fire, Patrick Watson, Bahamas, Ray Lamontagne, Major Lazer and others
14. Big Valley Jamboree | Camrose, Alberta | July 28 - 31 |
Photo By: Big Valley Jamboree
Canada’s country music event is jam-packed with activities including a parade, marketplace tradeshow and bull riding show. But the main attraction is the country singers from all over North America including Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton and Randy Houser.
15. Merritt Rockin’ River Musicfest | Merritt, British Columbia | July 28 – 31 |
Photo By: Merritt Rockin’ River Fest
Country music fans appreciate the acres of camp grounds with options for cars, tents, RVs and cabins where they can settle in for 4 days partying to their favourite artists.
This year features international super stars Sam Hunt, Dean Brody, John Michael Montgomery, Jojo Wilson and Madeline Merlo.
16. Osheaga Music and Arts Festival | Montreal, Quebec | July 29 - 31 |
Photo By: Osheaga Music and Arts Festival
This world-class festival at the picturesque Parc Jean-Drapeau, the site of Montreal’s Expo 67, is an all-ages event with children under 10 admitted for free. The 11th edition’s diverse program includes upcoming local talent and world-renowned musicians Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Half Moon Run, Lana Del Rey, Grimes, The Lumineers and Beirut.
17. George Street Festival | St. Johns, Newfoundland | July 28 - August 2 |
Photo by: George Street Live
The “biggest little street in North America” parties for 6 straight days leading into the annual Royal St. John’s Regatta Day civic holiday. Hey Rosetta! headlines this year’s festivities attracting tourists and residents alike to this iconic event.
18. Canmore Folk Music Festival | Canmore, Alberta | July 30- August 1 |
Photo By: Canmore Folk Music Festival
The longest running folk music festival in Alberta is located in the Rocky Mountains’ breathtaking Bow Valley. Catering to families, it boasts a kids’ area with clowns, puppets, a climbing wall and permanent playground. Featuring musicians Matt Andersen, The Milk Carton Kids and Basia Bulat
19. Boots & Hearts | Bomanville, Ontario | August 4-7 |
Photo By: Boots & Hearts
Offering an eclectic mix of country music styles for fans who enjoy tent or RV camping, this cashless festival uses an RFID wristband as the only form of payment on site. Headliners are Blake Shelton, Tim Mcgraw, Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt and others
20. Edmonton Folk Music Festival| Edmonton, Alberta | August 4-7 |
Photo By: Edmonton Folk Music Festival
Gallagher Park is the venue with Edmonton’s downtown skyline as the backdrop for this successful festival running since 1980. Over 2000 volunteers help keep ticket prices down. Last year’s performers included Brandi Carlile, Harry Manx and Richard Thompson
21. Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival | Fredericton, NB | September 13 - 18 |
Photo By: Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival
Hundreds of musicians appear in venues all over downtown Fredericton, offering an eclectic mix of blues, jazz and world beat. This year’s diverse lineup includes new talent along with more established artists, including Matt Andersen, Levon Helm and The Midnight Ramble Band, Robert Cray and Metric.
22. CityFolk | Ottawa, Ontario | September 14 - 18
Five days of music, dance and community at Lansdowne Park feature a variety of musical genres plus special performances for families and kids. A Craft Beer Fair, artisan and craft vendors along with world-class musicians round out the festival experience.
23. POP Montreal | Montreal, Quebec | September 21 - 25 |
Photo By: POP Montreal
Now in its 15th year, this cultural festival features over 400 artists offering a vibrant cross section of music, art and film to 50,000 participants. Iconic filmmaker John Waters, singer-songwriter Angel Olsen and composer Wally Badarou are on the list of performers.
In case you thought music festivals aren’t kid friendly, think again.
Why You Should Bring Your Kid to Grown-Up Music Festivals
By Joshua Ostroff, Senior Editor, Huffington Post Canada
Photo By: Family fun Halifax