Eric Alper: 15 Canadian Music Festivals You Must See Before You Die
Eric Alper, music industry expert
Published Tuesday, May 27, 2014 2:24AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:35PM EDT
Follow Eric Alper on Twitter: @ThatEricAlper
...because life is too short not to have a staycation in this glorious country.
- June 6 – 15
- A lengthy festival with a pay-per-show attitude, and lots of free ones to boot. Can’t argue with that.
- Featuring: Roots, TV on the Radio, Hidden Cameras, Tanya Tagaq, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Saidah Baba Talibah, Ziggy Marley
- Price: $20 to $212
- Site: http://www.luminatofestival.com
- June 7 - 8
- One of Canada's most-loved record label Arts & Crafts hosts their annual music festival for a second year.
- Featuring: Broken Social Scene, Interpol, Kills, Constantines, Chvrches, Lord Huron, Austra, A Tribe Called Red and pssst…I hear Andy Kim, the label’s newest signing will be performing with BSS.
- Price: $75 to $125
- Site: http://www.fieldtriplife.com
- June 20 - 29
- What? Is this a Toronto-only list? Nope, but stay with me here. You don’t have to be LGBTTIQQ2SA to enjoy what is likely the biggest party on the planet – at least for 10 days. Not only do they have great music, but it incorporates activism, education, and the history and culture, too, featuring a diverse lineup – not in terms of sexuality, but where else can you see Carly Rae Jepsen on the same bill as Melissa Etheridge?
- Featuring: Tegan and Sara, Melissa Etheridge, Deborah Cox, Carly Rae Jepsen
- Price: Free
- Site: www.worldpridetoronto.com
SASKTEL SASKATCHEWAN JAZZ FESTIVAL
- June 20 - 29
- For ten days each summer, the city of Saskatoon bursts into song as the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival plays host to hundreds of world class artists. Over 85,000 hungry music fans devour the sounds of jazz, blues, funk, pop, and world music each year, with a program that spans as many genres as it does continents.
- Featuring: Ms. Lauryn Hill, Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite Jill Barber, Downchild Blues Band, Tegan and Sara (who they’re offering a chance to meet them, too)
- Price: $17 ++, depending on the show
- Site: http://saskjazz.com
FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DE JAZZ DE MONTREAL
- June 26-July 6
- The granddaddy of them all, the one that started the whole festival scene, to a certain extent, in Canada.
- Featuring: Beck, St. Vincent, Elvis Costello, Diana Ross, Deltron 3030, Bobby McFerrin
- Price : Ranges, and they even have travel packages available. If you’ve never been before, go. Now.
- Site: http://www.montrealjazzfest.com/
RBC ROYAL BANK OTTAWA BLUESFEST
- July 3 - 13
- Ottawa! What’s going on? Seriously. You’re spoiling us all. First this…and then the Ottawa Folk Festival lineup…Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself. Yes, I know, Lady Gaga isn’t blues. Lady Antebellum aren’t blues, either. But this is one solid reason why the in-demand artists are booked – in order for the smaller, local acts to play to large crowds. And are you going to tell Lady Gaga she’s not something except awesome?
- Featuring: Lady Antebellum, Killers, Blake Shelton, Queens of the Stone Age, Snoop Lion, Lady Gaga
- Price: $129 - $249
- Site: http://ottawabluesfest.ca
FESTIVAL D'ETE QUEBEC
- July 3 - 13
- Quebec City
- One of Quebec's largest festivals and for $72 dollars?? That’s like $1 for every #1 hit these performers have had! 33 cents a chorus, and we’ll kick in the verses for free. Deal of the century.
- Featuring: Billy Joel, Lady Gaga, Killers, Bryan Adams, Soundgarden, Journey, Steve Miller Band
- Price: $72
- Site: http://www.infofestival.com
- July 4 - 6
- Cavendish Beach, P.E.I.
- Cavendish is the largest seasonal resort area in Prince Edward Island with an average daily population in the months of July and August of approximately 7,500 residents. But this swells to over 70,000 people all wearing cowboy hats. You’d be hard pressed not to want to.
- Featuring: Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Dean Brody
- Price: $29.50 - $375
- Site: http://cavendishbeachmusic.com
BIG MUSIC FEST
- July 11 - 13
- Kitchener / Waterloo, Ont.
- Last year, the festival was held in Owen Sound, Ont.. This year, it moves west. This festival is big, loud, and most-important of all, a sense of fun. Everywhere you go, kids (and adults) just wanna rock.
- Featuring: Bryan Adams, Styx, Collective Soul, Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, Aerosmith, Kim Mitchell
- Price: $69.50 to $121.50
- Site: http://bigmusicfest.com
- July 25 - 27
- Guelph, Ont.
- Consistently one of Canada’s top music festivals, and one that the organizers should be commended for running it extremely professional. Sometimes you forget that with the music, you want a place to watch music that’s family-friendly, safe, clean and secure. Welcome to Hillside.
- Featuring: Tegan and Sara, Kevin Drew, Royal Canoe, Hollerado's Pup, Kim Churchill, Basia Bulat,
- Price: $66.67/$135
- Site: http://www.hillsidefestival.ca
BOOTS AND HEARTS COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL
- July 31 - August 3
- Bowmanville, Ont.
- Country music’s hottest festival, Boots and Hearts is back for another year and this year lineup features some big names in country music
- Featuring: Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Hunter Hayes, Lee Brice
- Price: $269
- Site: http://bootsandhearts.com
- August 1 - 3
- This is the big one. Their lineup announcement almost broke Twitter, and with good reason – this year’s lineup is astounding. Again.
- Featuring: Outkast, Jack White, Skrillex, Lorde, Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave, Haim and every other band that’s massively cool
- Price: $250 - $550
- Site: http://www.osheaga.com
EDMONTON FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL
- August 7 - 10
- It is not easy to walk softly and leave no footprints when you host 20,000 people per day for four days in a city park with no paved pathways and roads! But since the early 1990s, The Edmonton Folk Music Festival has worked hard to minimize our impact on Gallagher Park in downtown Edmonton and the Cloverdale community. Preservation of the park, in concert with the City of Edmonton and Cloverdale community has always been a Festival commitment. Oh, there’s some of the best music you’ve ever heard, too.
- Featuring: TBA
- Site: http://www.edmontonfolkfest.org
SQUAMISH VALLEY MUSIC FESTIVAL
- August 8 - 10
- Squamish Valley, B.C.
- A multi-day festival built in the same spirit of the great European festivals. Surrounded by forests and mountains in the clean fresh air, there’s multiple stages with the best, eclectic mix of music.
- Featuring: Eminem, Bruno Mars, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Broken Bells, Foster the People, Nas, The Roots
- Price:$149 - $799
- Site: http://squamishfestival.com
OTTAWA FOLK FESTIVAL
- September 10 - 14
- Ottawa's premiere folk festival, in the great capital city. Where else are you going to see Lorde and The Wiggles together? Maybe not together, you know, but that would be COOL!
- Featuring: Lorde, The National, Foster The People, Neutral Milk Hotel, Gaslight Anthem, Serena Ryder, The Wiggles (!!!)
- Site: http://ottawafolk.com