With summer passing by as quickly as it is, we can’t help but remind ourselves that there’s still plenty of fun to be had around the city. In fact, some of the most highly-anticipated outdoor festivals and food & drink events are still to come. And if you’re looking for free things to do around the city, even better, because all of these options are completely free to attend! So without further ado, here are 9 free concerts and festivals worth checking out in Vancouver this summer.


food and drink festivals vancouver
Photo via RIBFEST

BBQ lovers, take note. One of the largest BBQ events of the summer is slated for Rocky Point Park in Port Moody this July, and it’s definitely worth the trip. Delicious BBQ from 7 ‘ribbers,’ live music, and a park-wide beer garden? Sign us up!

When: Friday, July 21st to Sunday, July 23rd
Where: 2800 Murray Street

Honda Celebration of Light

Though technically not a food or music-related festival, the beloved Honda Celebration of Light draws thousands of local and international visitors every year, and this summer will be no exception.

This year’s competition will kick off with representation from Australia (Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics) on Saturday, July 22nd, followed by Mexico (Grupo Avacon) on Wednesday, July 26th and The Philippines (Blue Peacock Fireworks) on Saturday, July 29th.

When: July 22nd, July 26th, and July 29th
Where: English Bay

Powell Street Festival


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And to round out the street fests, we’ve got Powell Street Festival! It’s similar to Sakura Days, in that it’s Japanese-focused, but expect some incredible food vendors alongside the events and activities going down.

When: August 5th and 6th
Where: Powell Street

Vancouver Mural Festival

While there are some ticketed events, a good chunk of the Vancouver Mural Festival is free to attend. From mural tours to a pop-up party at Astro Alley, to the iconic Mount Pleasant Street Festival – there’s plenty to do and see without putting a dent in your wallet.

For one, this year’s Mount Pleasant Street Party will return from August 10th to 13th, with five exciting zones to check out at the iconic City Centre Artist Lodge and surrounding areas. Daily programming includes DJs, live music, food trucks, a beer garden, the City Centre Open Studios, and pop-up artisanal markets.

When: August 4th to August 13th
Where: Mount Pleasant

Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival


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Fans of blues likely need no reminding, but the Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival always brings the best local talent to the stage every summer. Great music, a couple of brews, and a sunny day on the lake? That’s a no-brainer. And the 2023 festival will take place on Saturday, August 12th – so mark your calendars, because this year, you get to enjoy a full day of free music.

When: Saturday, August 12th
Where: Deer Lake Park

Monstercat Compound


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Ready for another iconic block party, Vancouver? The independent record label Monstercat is back with its sixth annual instalment of Monstercat Compound, a free, all-ages block party celebrating the best artists on the label and beyond. The 19+ event features two stages of Electronic music, art installations, live art, apparel, food trucks, beer gardens, and gaming opportunities.

When: August 26th
Where: Railway Street

Car Free Day Vancouver 

Love street festivals and perusing food vendors? Read on! Much like the popular Car Free Day Surrey, Vancouver will soon be getting three of its own, with each community-wide festival taking place in a different neighbourhood. And visitors can expect to enjoy a ton of local eats, live entertainment, and cultural programming.

Below are the dates and locations for this year’s Car Free Days:

  • Commercial Drive (North Grandview Highway to 1st Avenue) – September 9th
  • Main Street (10th Avenue to King Edward Avenue) – September 16th
  • West End- Denman (Davie Street to Robson Street) – September 24th

Note that each festival will take place from noon until 7 pm.

When: September 9th, 16th, and 24th, 2023
Where: Commercial Drive, Main Street, West End

Fridays on Front

Now we come to Fridays on Front in New West, which just kicked off its first community-wide block party last week. Best of all? Each festival will have its own theme, from ‘Bollywood Bash’ to celebrating Pride! Each date will feature a different lineup of food and drink vendors, as well as libations from the fully-licensed Steel & Oak beer + Pacific Breeze Wine.

Each night market will take place from 5 to 9 pm.

When: July 14th and 21st; August 11th, 18th, and 25th
Where: Front Street Mews, New Westminster

Shipyards Live

Finally, we come to North Van’s recurring outdoor music fest and beer garden, which runs weekly on Friday nights at the Shipyards. Each week, Shipbuilders Square comes alive with the hustle and bustle of guests looking to enjoy live music and local brews at their beer garden.

As well, the market is bringing back live music and DJs – so consider your Friday night plans made!

When: Every Friday from May 12th to September 15th
Where: The Shipyards, North Vancouver

So there you have it, Vancouver. If you’re looking to enjoy some summer festivities without putting a dent in your wallet, you know where to look!