The best of Canada’s music festivals

Everything from who to see to what to eat

Festival D’été De Québec is from July 6-16 in Québec and costs $95.
Festival D’été De Québec is from July 6-16 in Québec and costs $95.
Credit: 
Via Wikicommons

After an unforgiving winter, seasonal flooding and exams, our generation lives for this time of year: a chance to sleep in a field listening to music and eat barbeque for a whole weekend.

With the dawn of social media, the counterculture spirit of music festivals has evolved into the mainstream. Overpriced food, the great outdoors, and an infinite field of flower-crowns survived the free love morale of Woodstock.

What Canada’s music festivals lack in Coachella-like brand recognition, they make up for in unique Canadian artists and breathtaking settings. 

From sea to sea, here’s how to spend your grocery money on weekend passes and extortionately priced vegan burritos.

5. Field Trip (Toronto, ON.) 

June 3-4

Price: $80-$200

The Historic Fort York & Garrison Common comes alive with food, art, and music during the festival. While Field Trip prides itself on bringing Canadian talents such as Feist their major breakthrough, this festival also introduces indie music fans to international artists like Phoenix from France and James Vincent McMorrow from Ireland. While the music might bring you to the concert, you’ll stay for the food — ranging from fried Szechuan chicken sandwich to vegan tacos, there’s food-a-plenty for your post-festival appetite. With its relatively cheap price, Field Trip Festival is great for those who are new into the music festival scene.

4. Ottawa Jazz Festival (Ottawa, ON.) 

June 22 – July 2 

Price: $99-$327

Expand your musical horizon and try attending Ottawa’s Jazz Festival this summer. Spend ten days hearing the sweet sound of real musical instruments at a concert. The strength of brass, cheeky syncopated percussion, and silky melody are full of nostalgia for a distant time and place. Embrace improvisation by attending events in the diverse programming. From Igor Butman and Moscow Jazz Orchestra to Feist, there are a lot to help expand one’s (mostly Louis Armstrong) jazz repertoire.

3. WayHome (Oro-Medonte, ON.) 

July 28-30

Price: $89.99-$279.99

WayHome was first held in 2015, and won the Best New Festival at the Canadian Music Week Industry Awards. With its solidified reputation, fans will continue to come back for more.  Granted its 2017 lineup is not the best, but shows by Frank Ocean and Solange make it worth the trip. A special shoutout also goes to Mura Masa, Honne and Toronto R&B natives, Jahkoy and Daniel Caesar. Gaining some well-deserved attention, these are rising artists to watch. If you’re looking for a bohemian experience that is evocative of famous music festivals, this is the festival for you. 

2. Osheaga (Montréal, QC)

August 4-6

Price: $320-$1150

This three-day Festival is one of the most celebrated music and arts festivals in the country, with the attendance growing each year. Held in the centre of Montréal, this festival has it all, with six stages that vary in genre, there is always someone to see. With emerging artists playing 30 minute sets and headliners concluding each day with 90 minutes, both small and big names get to show Montreal what they are all about. The Weeknd, Muse, and Lorde headline this year’s show, but Osheaga is at its best when you discover emerging artists. Here are the must-see acts at Osheaga this year: Alabama Shakes, Solange, Father John Misty, Run the Jewels, Sampha, Daniel Caesar, Muna, Cage the Elephant, and BADBADNOTGOOD. 

1. Festival Dète De Quebec,  (Québec City, QC)

July 6-16

$95 until June 5. $105 as of June 6. 

Unknown to most English-speakers, this festival has one of the best lineups in the country, featuring headliners such as The Who, P!nk, the Backstreet Boys, Metallica, and Kendrick Lamar. On top of this stacked bunch, they have continued to support Canadian content, including Kingston rockers The Glorious Sons and Ottawa’s A Tribe Called Red. How can it get any better than this? The pass costs $95 and gives general admission to all eleven days.

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