Events, Guide

17 Must-See Music Festivals in Canada

Photo via @visualbass Instagram

Festival season is almost upon us, which means that sooner or later your friends will be trying to convince you to get tickets for at least one. If you, like us, are burnt out from attending too many during your university years (RIP Pemberton, shoutout to Osheaga), then you’ll want the best bang for your buck.

Here are the notable music festivals to attend in Canada this summer.

Alberta

Big Valley Jamboree

The essential country music festival experience. Get your Jack Daniels belt buckle, buy some Wranglers and a cowboy hat, then try to find a 99 pack of Budweiser for this one.

When: August 1 to August 4
Top Acts: Toby Keith, Billy Ray Cyrus (and maybe Lil Nas X??)

Sled Island

Inner city festival that takes place in multiple venues. Smaller acts dominate, with an emphasize on spotlighting lesser-known artists from all over the world.

When: June 19 to June 23
Top Acts: JPEGMAFIA and Julien Baker

Chasing Summer

Mainstream EDM festival happening in downtown Calgary. Live your best PLUR life with facepaint, fanny packs, and maybe even some ‘kandi’.

When: August 3 and August 4
Top Acts: Above and Beyond and Alesso

Folk Music Fest in Calgary or Edmonton

Both festivals are celebrating 40 years, so they will be pulling out all the stops. The lineups might not be the same, but you can expect folk music.

When: Calgary, July 25-28 and Edmonton, August 8-11
Past Top Acts: Shakey Graves and Leon Bridges

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British Columbia

FVDED in the Park

A massive festival happening in Surrey that mixes EDM, rap and R&B acts primarily. Nice because of its proximity to the city, and the clubs in Van will be going off.

When: July 5 and 6
Top Acts: Khalid and ZEDD

Shambhala

Arguably the best festival in the country, Shambhala has unintentionally also become one of the most prestigious, using a lottery to select those who can buy tickets. Only go if you’re ready to get extremely weird in the forest, or watch people get extremely weird in the forest.

When: August 9-12
Top Acts: Bonobo and FKJ

Bass Coast

A lesser-known EDM festival that’s still far from civilization and very fun. Easier to get into, and they have some heavyweights performing this year.

When: July 12-15
Top Acts: Nightmares on Wax (seriously good) and Claude VonStroke

Breakout Fest

Hip hop forward festival that continues to grow year over year. We love Atlanta rappers, and two of the newest names in the game will be performing this year.

When: June 15-16
Top Acts: Lil Baby and Gunna

Manitoba

Dauphin Country Fest

Somehow even more country than BVJ. Probably because it’s in the middle of nowhere. Fun fact- one of our staff got traded to Dauphin when he was playing hockey and literally refused to go.

When: June 27-30
Top Acts: Toby Keith and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Ontario

Veld Music Festival

Rap and EDM forward festival set in Downsview Park. Like FVDED, the festival will be transforming the city for the weekend.

When: August 3-4
Top Acts: Cardi B and Tiesto

Bluesfest

A massive festival that features a wide variety of musical acts over 10 days. Kinda weird that they’ve kept the Bluesfest name, but we’re not complaining.

When: July 4-14
Top Acts: America, Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Mustard, and First Aid Kit

NXNE

Another 10-day long block party that shuts down part of Yonge Street. Attractions include all-access passes to a variety of clubs, free public concerts, comedy shows, and even gaming tournaments.

When: June 7-16
Past Top Acts: Chvrches and The Black Keys

OVO Fest?

Maybe? Drake said it would be back this year but no updates??

When: TBD
Past Top Acts: Drake

Boots and Hearts

Can we get a big ol’ truck yeah for another country music festival? No? Alright, suit yourself. But catch us muddin’ and fishing by the river before this one.

When: August 8-11
Top Acts: Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert

Quebec

Osheaga

The biggest music festival in Canada. Not much needs to be said about Osheaga these days- they’ve solidified their place internationally.

When: August 2-4
Top Acts: Flume and Tame Impala, but so many more are playing

Quebec Summer Festival

Technically the Festival d’été du Québec, but whatever. Another solid inner-city festival, with a little more eclectic lineup. We’re stoked on it though.

When: July 4 -14
Top Acts: Mariah Carey and Blink-182

Montreal International Jazz Festival

Jazz forward but featuring some blues and maybe even a little indie rock. Like the folk fests, it’s perfect for those who want nonstop music but not all the insanity that comes with festivals.

When: June 27 to July 6
Top Acts: Norah Jones and Peter Frampton

And that’s our list! It’s not exhaustive, but these are definitely our top picks for this summer. Now get out there and live your best festival life.

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