Breaking down Canada’s diverse music festivals

There’s something for everyone in these six summer festivals

Pictures from various Canadian music festivals.
Photo illustration by Ally Mastantuono

There’s nothing like jumping around to your favourite song to push the exams you just wrote further into the rear-view mirror. What better way to do that than with thousands of like-minded people at a music festival?

This summer, Canada will become home to a diverse range of music festivals across the country. Here are six The Journal thinks are capable of pleasing any Queen’s student—and that goes for whether you’re a diehard Shawn Mendes fan or even a Bryan Adams groupie.


Stars and Thunder (Timmins, Ontario)

June 24 - July 1

Does your music taste mirror a middle-aged father more than a university student? If it does, you may want to hold on tight to your dad caps because this whirlwind festival will blow you away.

With performances by old-school musicians and bands like The Beach Boys, Bryan Adams and Our Lady Pace, you’ll find yourself getting a little bit of everything. Not only is there a strong lineup, but Stars and Thunder also ends with a massive Canada Day party.

Name a better way to celebrate our great nation—I’ll wait.


I Love The ’90’s (Oro-Medonte, Ontario)

August 18

No one can deny the 90s were a fun time for music. Venture over to this festival for a blast from the past and enjoy the decade’s hits that you’re sure to recognize—even if you were just a baby when they were on cassette players.

Experiencing its debut summer, this brand new musical throwback features performers like Coolio, Salt N’ Pepa and Vanilla Ice.

Who doesn’t love jamming out to Vanilla Ice hits like “Ice Ice Baby” or “Play That Funky Music”?


Osheaga (Montreal, Quebec)

August 3-5

Osheaga is renowned for its ability to draw major stars to its six-stage festival site each year in Montreal’s most millennial-friendly island, Parc Jean-Drapeau.

This year’s festival is a little different. It’s trading in today’s mainstream acts like 2017’s The Weekend and Lorde, for bands with established and devoted followings like Florence + The Machine and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Though its lineup is still huge enough that there’s something for everyone, Osheaga leans towards the rock and R&B acts this year, including highlights like The National, Arctic Monkeys, Khalid and Post Malone.


Boots & Hearts (Oro-Medonte, Ontario)

August 9-12

Boots & Hearts is one of the most well-known and widely attended music festivals in the country. You’ll probably run into a few classmates whose names you should know but don’t. The festival has high-quality country performers and it’s effortlessly fun, which lends credit to its recognized popularity.

Grab a bunch of friends and go rock out to massive names like Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett. Also, don’t forget to bring your coolest plaid and denim outfit.


Mariposa Folk Festival (Orillia, Ontario)

July 6-8

Despite not having the same mainstream appeal as pop or country, folk music gets the blood pumping and the body grooving just as well as any other genre. If you’re into authentic and traditional music, this is the festival for you.

With bands such as Walk Off The Earth and Bahamas, you can expect some classic tunes coupled with good vibes. Mariposa features a lot of up-and-coming musicians and bands, so consider this festival your one stop shop for great folk and rock music while discovering the next big thing.


RBC Blues Fest (Ottawa, Ontario)

July 5 to 15

Shawn Mendes, Jessie Reyez and Foo Fighters—enough said.

This 10-day festival in Canada’s capital city will host some of the biggest names in the music scene today. The massive lineup hosts a wide range of artists, from hip-hop royalty like Rae Sremmurd and Brockhampton to bonafide rock stars like Beck and the Dave Matthews Band.

Unlike many music festivals where camping is required, you can attend this event while staying in the comfort of an Airbnb or hotel in Ottawa. Think of it as a weeklong concert in a bustling city.

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