Canada is home to some of the most vibrant, artistic, and eccentric cities in the world. It’s no wonder we hold some of the best music festivals that showcase both local talent and international favorites. Luckily for us, you don’t have to travel very far to experience great music, great people and carefree days in the sun. Here’s my personal countdown of some of the best music festivals in the country.
- Festival D’été de Québec: 2017 is a special year for the festival D’été because this year marks the festival’s 50th anniversary! Beloved to all who have attended, this festival is one to remember. Weekend passes retail for an average of $100CAD, and with a lineup of over 100 artists, the passes really do give you bang for your buck. Located in the heart of Old Quebec, this historic city welcomes foreigners with open arms. It’s estimated that an approximate 100,000 passes are sold every year, making this one of the biggest festivals in Canada. The festival is for all ages, accessible to all, and have food and beverages available on site. Hotels and accommodations practically neighbor the festival grounds, so it’s easy to find a place to stay within a ten-minute walk from the festival. Festival alumni include Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Billy Joel and Lady Gaga among hundreds of other musicians and bands, so there’s sure to be one of your favorites! Check out this year’s lineup here!
- Toronto Urban Roots Festival: The Toronto Urban Roots Festival, abbreviated as TURF, is a festival dedicated to all music within the alternative rock/folk genres. The festival is located in historic Fort York, and truly celebrates the essence of Toronto as a whole. All of the festival’s food vendors are locally sourced and amidst the fields, you will find a ton of fun games/challenges from booths like indie88 and Blundstone to try out in-between sets. This festival is for all ages, is accessible to all, and rocks on through rain or shine. This is the perfect festival for anyone who isn’t really into mosh-pits and raves, as the crowds are always respectful and courteous- in that true Canadian fashion. Passes retailed for $185CAD in 2016, which is a pretty good price point to see all of your favorite artists at once! Festival alumni include The Sheepdogs, The Barenaked Ladies, James Bay, Modern Baseball, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros & Pixies. The 2017 TURF lineup should be announced sometime around August!
- RBC Bluesfest: Contrary to the name, this festival is not solely dedicated to the blues. Located in Ottawa, this festival is one of the most popular for accumulating the best acts for all music tastes. This is a great festival for all ages, with classic rock alumni like John Fogerty, Duran Duran, B.B. King, Rush & The Tragically Hip, mixed with more modern pop acts like Fun, The Lumineers, City and Colour, and The Head and The Heart. This festival is accessible to all, with food vendors on site and 4-day passes retail for $149CAD. Check out the lineup for this year’s Bluesfest here!
- Pemberton Music Festival: Located in Pemberton, British Columbia, this festival is truly about having the most epic weekend of the summer. One cool thing about this festival is that you have the option of camping out on site, so you really get the full experience of a weekend away in the mountains. Food vendors are available on site and in recent years the festival has also included vegan/vegetarian vendors! This is an all ages festival and is accessible to all. Passes retail for $369CAD, however, they also have a ‘first in line’ pass that retails for only $299CAD if you buy your passes early enough. Another unique feature of this festival is that they also include stand-up comedy acts in their lineup, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy! Festival alumni include Kendrick Lamar, The Black Keys, Hozier, The Decemberists and Pearl Jam. The 2017 Pemberton lineup should be announced very soon!
- Osheaga: Osheaga is the summer’s biggest event for natives and foreigners to Montreal. This festival has put off shows by some of the biggest acts of all time and is known for being the party festival of the country. Popular among twentysomethings, this festival gathers some of the best acts in modern music. With alumni including Florence + The Machine, Lana Del Rey, Radiohead, The National and Coldplay, it’s no wonder that Osheaga is known across the country. Food vendors are available on site and they include gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options to choose from. Art murals, designed by national and local artists, decorate the surroundings of the festival grounds and there are a ton of cool attractions/ activities to check out in between sets! Passes retail for $320 CAD, but there are single day passes available to purchase for only $120 CAD. There are countless accommodation options in Montreal, so finding a place to stay won’t be too difficult. Osheaga is for all ages and is accessible to all (they even have spots sectioned off at certain stages for those with reduced mobility!). Osheaga’s 2017 lineup will be one to remember, check it out here!
So, what festival will you be attending this summer?