Artists and DJs are often contacting us for information about Canadian music conferences and festivals.
If you’ve decided you’re going to make a career out of music, music conferences are a great way to network and learn. Knowledge-sharing workshops, expert info panels and the opportunity to showcase your work make annual conferences like Canadian Music Week invaluable for people looking to grow in the scene. Plus, any opportunity to network with peers is an opportunity to spread your brand further and to find new people to build with.
We’ll do our best to provide the most complete and up-to-date listing of music conferences and festivals below.
Bass Coast Festival
Where: Merritt, BC | When: Summer
Bass Coast Festival is an independent international exhibition of electronic music and art. Founded in 2009 by Andrea Graham and Liz Thomson, the artist owned and operated event is a distinguished platform for Canadian artists and a destination for innovative international talent.
The natural beauty of British Columbia is a quintessential element of the Bass Coast experience. Their festival site, located outside the city of Merritt, in the picturesque Nicola Valley, invites attendees to be present with nature.
“Bass Coast is as much about the people as it is about the music. It’s a place where like minded folks can express themselves side by side.” – Groundwerk Vancouver
Bass Coast prides itself in being an inclusive gathering that brings together people from diverse backgrounds and inspires them to participate to the fullest.
Boots and Hearts Music Festival
Where: Oro-Medonte, ON | When: Summer
From the creators of WayHome, and the Country Festival of the Year at this year’s Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards, comes the annual 4-day Boots and Hearts Music Festival.
“From first-timers to regulars, people have travelled to Oro-Medonte from all over for one of the biggest country music festivals in North America.” – Barrie Today
Since its inception in 2012, Boots and Hearts has quickly grown to become Canada’s largest country music festival and is considered the second largest music festival in North America behind only the CMA Music Festival. The festival offers an Emerging Artist Showcase, multiple stages, VIP offerings, with as many as 45,000+ festival-goers each day for the 4 days. Their line-ups have included acts like Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Eric Church, Tim McGraw and more.
Where: Alternating | When: Summer
BreakOut West is an annual event that includes a 4-Day Conference, 3-Night Showcase Festival, and the Western Canadian Music Awards. BreakOut West is the primary event hosted by the Western Canadian Music Alliance.
“BreakOut West, which is slated for this fall, won’t only be a music festival, it will act as an incubator for artists wanting to break into the industry, say those behind it.” – Yukon News
The Western Canadian Music Alliance is an organization created by the Music Industry Associations (MIA’s) of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, The Northwest Territories, the Yukon Territory, and Nunavut, to promote and celebrate western Canadian music.
Every year the event is held in a different western Canadian city on a rotational basis. This year, the event will be held in Whitehorse, YT, from October 2 to 6, 2019. BreakOut West is comprised of a four-day music conference, a three-night multi-genre music festival, the Western Canadian Music Awards Reception and the Western Canadian Music Industry Awards Brunch.
Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival
Where: Burnaby, BC | When: Summer
The Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary at their highly anticipated 2019 event. Now in its second decade, the family-friendly event returned to Deer Lake Park on Saturday, August 10, 2019, and featured performances by Feist, Lord Huron, Dan Mangan, The War and Treaty, William Prince, Southern Avenue, and more.
“Mellow out in the sunshine with a cold beverage. Dance the evening away to high-energy tunes. Bring the whole family and enjoy all the kid-focused fun. Stock up on all kinds of foodie treats and eat yourself silly while you listen to the music.” – Burnaby Now
This nine-hour event showcases an eclectic variety of world-class music in the city’s most picturesque venue of Deer Lake Park. They strive to appeal to a wide spectrum of audiences and are committed to enriching the cultural and economic fabric of their region.
Calgary Folk Music Festival
Where: Calgary, AB | When: Summer
The Calgary Folk Festival is a genre-defying, continent-linking festival where fiercely independent, creative troubadours and master instrumentalists from Mauritania, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Ethiopia, the United States and Canada celebrate diverse traditions, deep roots and cool grooves.
“[…] the Calgary Folk Festival is also often a place for artists to come together, meet and collaborate with each other, often leading to big opportunities for them as their careers grow.” – Global News
They’re a non-profit charitable organization that produces music and cultural events all year: a summer festival, Calgary Folk Music Festival since 1980; a winter festival, Block Heater since 2016; educational programming, such as their annual Boot Camp; and concerts at their own venue, Festival Hall in Inglewood, as well as partner venues across Calgary.
Canadian Music Week 2020 (CMW)
Where: Toronto, ON | When: Spring | Coverage
Canadian Music Week is recognized as one of the premier entertainment events in North America focusing on the business of music.
“Over 170,000 fans were in attendance at CMW 2018, with over 2,100 delegates taking part in keynotes and panels with 550 conference speakers, over 650 artists showcased in over 50 venues at the Music Festival, and 300 music industry reporters present to spread the word across Canada and the Globe.” – CMW
The Canadian Music Week festival and conference spans 5 nights of performances, over 800 showcasing bands at more than 40 live music venues in downtown Toronto. All convention functions take place at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 123 Queen Street W. Toronto.
Canadian Music Week 2020 will take place from May 19 to May 23, 2020.
CBC Music Festival
Where: Toronto, ON | When: Spring | Coverage
The CBC Music Festival returned for its seventh year to take over RBC Echo Beach in Toronto on Saturday, May 25, 2019. The largest, all-Canadian music festival included headliner Alvvays along with Stars, Rhye, Cœur de pirate, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Charlotte Cardin, Exco Levi. Additional acts Peach Pit, Hubert Lenoir, The Courtneys, Emmanuel Jal and the 2019 CBC Searchlight winner Shopé also joined the event.
“Our all-Canadian lineup is guaranteed to entertain audiences — in person and via live-stream for those who can’t attend.” – CBC
Aside from the music, there are a number of other fun things you can do at the festival, from free make-up and hair transformations to photo opportunities and customizing you’re own t-shirts.
Cavendish Beach Music Festival
Where: Cavendish, PEI | When: Summer
What was once a cow pasture in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, is now the home of the largest multi-day outdoor music festival in Atlantic Canada – the Cavendish Beach Music Festival.
“If you like big names and big crowds, this festival is for you. It generally draws more than 20,000 country music fans a day, though police estimated 27,000 attended last year’s performance by Luke Bryan.” – CBC
More than 60,000 visitors annually flock to the festival for the biggest names in country music, camping, dining, the warmest waters north of the Carolina’s and to create memories that last a lifetime. Country festivals in Canada are becoming more and more popular, so come on down to the East Coast and join the fun!
The next Cavendish Beach Music Festival will take place from July 10 to 12, 2020.
Where: Ottawa, ON | When: Summer | Coverage
Located at Lansdowne Park, CityFolk is a multi-day celebration of music, dance, and community featuring an eclectic mix of musical performances on various stages. The BSOMA KidZone offers special children’s and family performances on Saturday and Sunday.
“A neo-soul star, a country-rock legend, a trio of 1990s alternative powerhouses and the frontman for Led Zeppelin are the headliners for the 2019 edition of CityFolk.” – CBC
Aberdeen Pavilion offers a wide variety of musical acts, artisan and craft vendors, and much more. Another CityFolk initiative, Marvest, is a free event as part of CityFolk offering over 70 performances throughout businesses in the Glebe BIA. They’re a family-friendly, community-focused, culturally diverse and committed to eco-friendly initiatives.
This year’s CityFolk takes place from September 12 to 15, 2019.
Dawson City Music Festival
Where: Dawson City, YT | When: Summer
The Dawson City Music Festival will remain “Canada’s tiny, perfect Festival” by consistently and collaboratively delivering high-quality, diverse musical experiences.
“The Dawson City Music Festival will be returning to the Yukon for its 41st annual event this year, and organizers have roped in a ton of Canadian talent for the 2019 fest.” – Exclaim!
By doing so, the Dawson City Music Festival Association will be recognized as a significant contributor to both the quality of life and the cultural economy in Dawson and Yukon; and the DCMF will be understood as a celebration of Dawson’s spirit, hospitality, volunteerism, and community life.
The Dawson City Music Festival Association celebrates and supports its local environment by presenting world-class grassroots musical programming in Dawson, including but not limited to the annual Dawson City Music Festival.
Where: Toronto, ON | When: Summer
Bud Light Dreams Music Festival is a 19+ boutique festival experience for a discerning electronic music fan, taking place at East Island – Ontario Place in downtown Toronto, on the shores of Lake Ontario.
“Taking place at RBC Echo Beach on the picturesque shores of Lake Ontario, Bud Light Dreams Music Festival will host some of the biggest names in house, tech-house, dubstep, bass and more across three stages from 29th to 30th June.”” – DJ Mag
A new luxury festival with a familiar feel, Dreams is a two day, three stage, outdoor, sensorial celebration of Toronto’s music and arts community.
East Coast Music Awards: Festival and Conference
Where: Halifax, NS | When: Spring | Coverage
The ECMA (East Coast Music Association) annually produces the ECMAs, one of the top music industry events in Canada, which includes Awards, a Festival, an Industry Conference and the International Export Buyers Program.
“We’re very excited to head back to St. John’s for the 32nd annual ECMAs. Known for its lively spirit, its deep roots in music and culture and its undeniable hospitality, we are very much looking forward to working with the host team in Newfoundland and Labrador to create an unforgettable week come 2020.” – Andy McLean, CEO of ECMA
From humble beginnings many years ago in a Halifax bar, the East Coast Music Awards: Festival and Conference has grown from a one-day $1,000 event to a five-day international gathering, with a budget exceeding $1.6 million. At the same time, it has become the premier event of its kind in Atlantic Canada, attracting millions of dollars in economic spin offs. It has become one of the top music industry events in Canada, on par with the JUNOS and the Canadian Country Music Awards.
St. John’s will host the next East Coast Music Awards: Festival and Conference from April 29 to May 3, 2020.
Edmonton Folk Music Festival
Where: Edmonton, AB | When: Summer
Beginning in 1980 with one staff and 300 volunteers, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival has grown and matured to become one of the leading folk festivals in the world. Now boasting a volunteer force of over 2000, the festival in a not-for-profit society dedicated to bringing in the best of folk music from around the world.
“Folk music fans of all ages attended the 2019 Edmonton Folk Music Festival on Saturday and Sunday August 10 and 11, 2019, where the fortieth anniversary of the festival concluded at Gallagher Park in Edmonton.” – Edmonton Journal
The quality of the music and the depth of the performer lineup is the single greatest ingredient in our success. Terry Wickham, producer, selects artists within a broad musical mandate. Their vision is to continue to improve as a world-class folk music festival. At the same time, they’re working hard to raise money through fund raising activities and through soliciting corporate sponsorships to keep ticket prices accessible for ordinary families.
The Evolve Festival
Where: Moncton, NB | When: Summer
The Evolve Festival is an annual 3-day summer celebration of music, culture, and social awareness. From its start in 2000 as a grassroots music and awareness festival featuring local bands, the festival has grown to showcase world-class performers from around the globe.
“Another summer and another great festival on the books. Thank you all for making it perfect. Have a great year. Keep in touch. And we’ll see you next summer to do it all over again.” – Evolve HQ
Evolve also plays host to workshops that inform spectators about social issues such as personal well-being and environmental awareness.
In 2010, Evolve was voted Best Festival in Canada by listeners of CBC Radio 3 Searchlight all over Canada. Exclaim! Magazine has referred to Evolve as “the summer’s marquee event in the Maritimes.”
Festival d’été de Québec
Where: Québec City, QC | When: Summer | Coverage
Festival d’été de Québec usually takes place in July in downtown Quebec City and has featured artists like the Rolling Stones, the Black Keys, Iron Maiden, Foo Fighters and even the Backstreet Boys.
The Toronto festival market might be shrinking rapidly, but Festival d’été de Québec (FEQ) just returned to Quebec City for its 52nd edition, running over 11 nights from July 4-14. – NOW
There’s a good chance you can catch one of your favourite acts over the course of the 11 day event. It normally starts on the first Thursday of July. Every year, the Festival d’été attracts over an average of 325 000 festival goers to Quebec City’s historic district for concerts by international superstars and top new talent. 250 shows, 10 venues and 11 days of music make the Festival d’été de Québec one of Canada’s biggest music festivals.
Where: Toronto, ON | When: Summer (Returning in 2020)
Field Trip took a short break but will be returning in 2020. Here’s a message from the festival organizers that was posted on their website:
Since its launch in 2013, we have proudly grown Field Trip Music & Arts Festival into a multi-disciplinary, cross-generational event unlike any other. Thanks to the timeless performances of each artist, our partners, supporters, and most of all, our fans, Field Trip has become the distinctive start of summertime in Downtown Toronto, and our favourite weekend of the year.
“While it doesn’t give a specific reason for the decision, the statement does say Field Trip has “the goal” of returning in 2020.” – NOW
While the festival has grown more meaningful with each passing edition, we have made the difficult decision to take some much-needed time off in 2019. Field Trip will go on hiatus with the goal of returning in 2020 with renewed vision and continued commitment to an unparalleled gathering of music, art, comedy, food & drink, and family.
We have been honoured by how Field Trip has been embraced by the city of Toronto and the arts community at large. Thanks to every single person that has put their heart into this festival – Field Trip belongs to you. We look forward to seeing you down the line, after a little bit of time to let the grass grow back.
Folk On The Rocks Music Festival
Where: Yellowknife, NT | When: Summer
Folk on the Rocks (FOTR) Annual Music Festival has come a long way since founder Rod Russell and his band of folkie go-getters re-booted a small outdoor gig on the shores of Frame Lake, and transported it over to Long Lake in the summer in 1980.
FOTR is one of Canada’s top summertime music and cultural festivals, drawing performers from the NWT, Nunavut and all across Canada for the North’s biggest party under the midnight sun.
“According to festival chair, Laura Foulds, this year saw more than 2,500 people throughout the weekend, which is on par with past years.” – TB News Watch
More than 24 hours of programming on five stages, including a children’s area and a beer garden, promises fun and enjoyment for all ages. Along with the music, crowds can savour international and traditional cuisine at the food fair, buy Northern creative works, and check out other non-profit groups and activities in the artisan tent.
Come delight in this musical offering and be a part of the magic as performers from all over Canada and the world create and collaborate in the biggest artistic jam in the North.
FVDED In The Park
Where: Surrey, BC | When: Summer
FVDED In The Park is an annual 2-day festival that takes place in July at Holland Park, Surrey, B.C. The all-ages event features world-class artists from a variety of genres, performing across two outdoor stages.
“What has become the largest outdoor music festival in Western Canada, in just a short time, FVDED in the Park returned to Holland Park to celebrate its fifth anniversary.” – DMNW
Where: Guelph, ON | When: Summer
Hillside offers year round events with a broad artistic vision that emphasizes diversity of culture, of musical heritage and style, of age, geography and influence. Their flagship event, the environmentally conscious Hillside festival takes place over 3 days in July and features acts from a variety of different genres.
“Aided by the serious skill of DJ Yung Kamaji, Contra and Eboshi were dripping with swag — a perfect hype-up session for the Snotty Nose Rez Kids, whose set directly followed Cartel Madras’s.” – Exclaim!
Hillside Inside is a winter festival of music and community, now in its eleventh year. It is the spirit of Hillside brought to you in the cold months of a Canadian winter. It is a fantastic way to get out of the house, meet some people and enjoy some fantastic music.
House of PainT Festival of Urban Arts and Culture
Where: Ottawa, ON | When: Summer | Coverage
The House of PainT Festival of Arts and Culture celebrates and elevates the culture that connects and nurtures the roots of the community. Each year the festival offers concerts, competitions, workshops and academic talks around the four pillars of hip-hop… DJing, MCing, graffiti art and dance.
“Three days of poets, rappers, MCs, DJs, graffiti and mural artists, street dancers, and more! House of PainT puts the spotlight on the many talented artists that make up the urban arts community.” – Ottawa Tourism
Hip-hop began as an expression of cultural defence and reclamation for marginalized communities. Continuing with this tradition, House of PainT is committed to supporting communities in fostering safe, respectful, anti-oppressive and empowering spaces.
More than 200 graffiti artists, urban dancers, hip-hop artists and DJs of all levels gather underneath Dunbar Bridge to celebrate and elevate hip-hop culture. While thousands flock to House of PainT’s breaking competitions, live concerts, artisan booths and outdoor food from local vendors, the festival is bringing the DMC DJ Competition (Turntablism) back to Ottawa every year.
Islands Folk Festival
Where: Duncan, BC | When: Summer
The Islands Folk Festival is a world-class event with a family feel, featuring folk, blues, country, jazz, bluegrass and much more. Future festival dates include July 24 to 26, 2020).
“We’ve just completed the Islands Folk Festival, which never fails to please with its easy ambience at wonderful Providence Farm, its galaxy of worldwide performers and its air of a backyard party with your best friends.” – Cowichan Valley Citizen
Music lovers from all over Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are invited to join this celebration of music, featuring all the best elements of a homegrown folk festival.
Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture
Where: Toronto, ON | When: Summer | Coverage
Founded in 2007, the award-winning Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture is one of Canada’s biggest celebrations of hip-hop culture and beyond – a multi-disciplinary, world-class festival with a positive social and economic impact.
“After throwing a series of town hall meetings attended by artists and community organizers, co-founders Che Kothari and Ryan Paterson established Manifesto in 2007 as Toronto’s largest – and only – hip-hop festival, with an emphasis on showcasing local talent not readily supported by the scene.” – NOW Toronto
But they’re more than just a festival. Manifesto is a non-profit, youth-powered platform designed to put local artists on the map and unite, inspire and empower diverse communities of young people through arts and culture, year-round.
Their programs aim to cultivate multi-disciplinary artistic and professional development for young people and artists across mediums. Building careers, fostering community connections and fuelling civic pride – all while contributing to the vitality of the city they love.
Mission Folk Music Festival
Where: Mission, BC | When: Summer
The Mission Folk Music Festival was formed in 1988 by founding artistic director Francis Xavier Edwards and some musical friends who wanted more opportunities to play music for an audience. The first festival was a one-day event and featured Shari Ulrich, Cotton Street Band, John McLachlan and others (see Archives for complete list.) Since then, it has grown into one of the finest performing arts festivals in the country, showcasing emerging local and BC musicians and bringing both popular and rarely-heard world artists to the Fraser Valley, sometimes for their only North American performance.
“One of the Fraser Valley’s top cultural events is the Mission Folk Music Festival. Taking place July 26 to 28 at Fraser River Heritage Park in Mission.” – Vancouver Sun
Recent challenges such as rained-out shows and funding cuts along with the surprise retirement of the artistic director have resulted in a smaller than normal festival for 2016. However, strong community support has strengthened the resolve of the leadership team to work hard to present a smaller yet high-quality event in the current year, and build towards growing the festival in new and musically adventurous directions in the future.
Nanaimo Summertime Blues Festival
Where: Nanaimo, BC | When: Summer
The Nanaimo Blues Society (the Society) is a BC registered non-profit society that was founded in October 2004 and is led by a committed volunteer board with a passion for Blues music and a desire to add to the culture and vitality of Nanaimo.
“Summertime Blues artistic director Grant Payne said this year he’s put together ‘probably the strongest festival we’ve ever had in the history of the event.'” – Nanaimo News Bulletin
The Society’s aims are to: Establish, promote and maintain Summertime Blues! a world-class Blues Festival in downtown Nanaimo, BC drawing from the wealth of fine blues musicians in BC, across the country and around the world; develop and present other musical events that will provide enjoyment for the community, showcase Nanaimo and area musical talent, build understanding of and appreciation for the Blues and stimulate the local economy; develop ways to engage youth in music, and provide youth with opportunities for musical education and development; foster and encourage mentorship among musicians and create opportunities (workshops, jams etc) for education, networking and exchange of knowledge; and build lasting partnerships with Nanaimo area businesses and organizations in support of the Society’s objectives.
Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival
Where: St. John’s, NL | When: Summer
The Annual Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival is an incredible weekend of entertainment for the whole family. Spread out over three exciting days, the Festival is the coming together of community and culture. Our province is renowned for its contributions to the musical fabric of Canada and we do all we can to wave that flag high and proud.
“Some say it wouldn’t be the Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival without at least a sprinkling of rain. Friday night, festival-goers danced to music, peeping out from plastic ponchos, tents and umbrellas.” – The Telegram
Presented by The Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Arts Society with a host of volunteers, sponsors and partners, the Festival is a summertime tradition that has been shared by thousands.
Come and enjoy a weekend of celebrating Newfoundland & Labrador’s unique culture with great traditional music, interactive workshops, local art work and craft and plenty to eat, drink, see and do. This is a friendly festival that attracts people from all over the world, and it is heralded as one of the province’s premiere cultural events.
Where: Toronto, ON | When: Summer | Coverage
NXNE is a raging annual 10-day summer festival and conference every June in Toronto, featuring: music, gaming, comedy, interactive and more at this packed cultural explosion. The U.K. Guardian says “NXNE has crowned itself Toronto’s leading music event.” NXNE celebrates its 24th year in 2018 and takes over Toronto with showcases, panels, parties, installations, and more. NXNE includes a major free, three-day music festival in the centre of the city at Canada’s biggest street corner, Yonge and Dundas.
“Just hours after the NBA championship celebration spilled into Yonge-Dundas Square, NXNE turned it into Festival Village.” – NOW
NXNE also features comedy, food, art installations and more. NXNE Game Land kicks off NXNE and features will one of Canada’s largest eSports competitions live and on-line. We take over Toronto’s best live music clubs to present our must-see Club LandCurator Series. Top Canadian artists present their favourite emerging bands. Admission to all with one low price wristband. Bars and clubs across the city stay open extended hours, till 4 a.m. during NXNE. NXNE are partners with their friends in Austin, Texas at SXSW. NXNE was founded in 1995.
Where: Ottawa, ON | When: Summer | Coverage
Over the years, Bluesfest has grown to become the landmark event of the Ottawa summer and one of the top-ten music festivals in the world, according to Billboard Magazine.
“Starting in a small town in Ontario to becoming an internationally renown Producer/DJ, Murda Beatz was not the one to miss at this year’s Ottawa Bluesfest; with crowds still coming out in droves despite weather postponing some shows. – HipHopCanada
The ongoing love affair between the ‘fest and its fans continues to this day. The mandate of the Ottawa Bluesfest organization is to provide a world-class event that showcases local, regional, national and international musicians.
Osheaga Music and Arts Festival
Where: Montreal, QC | When: Summer | Coverage
The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival is a multi-day indie music festival in Montreal, Quebec, that is held annually at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène every summer. The festival takes place on six stages with various audience capacities.
“The internationally renowned Montreal festival’s original site has been overhauled, and will host a lineup headed by Childish Gambino, the Lumineers and the Chemical Brothers from Aug. 2 to 4.” – Montreal Gazette
Osheaga takes great pride in presenting various renowned and emerging artists who create a series of installations, enhancing the public experience year after year. The festival promises a ton of fun activities as you walk from stage to stage whether you’re looking for fun games or to kick back and unwind.
Every year Osheaga brings a variety of different food vendors to suit all tastes, located throughout the festival site, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
Where: Montreal, QC | When: Fall
POP Montreal International Music Festival is a non-profit community organization that supports independent art forms, showcasing emerging and celebrated artistic talents worldwide. Now entering its 18th year, POP Montreal’s main event is a five-day long festival of music and art, which takes place in early fall, presenting more than 450 bands.
“POP Montreal offers one of the most diverse, boundary-pushing lineups of any major Canadian music festival — and the 2019 festival is no exception.” – Exclaim!
Along with a great assortment of live musical acts POP Montreal features symposiums, visual art exhibitions, fashion shows, film screenings, and after-parties.
Where: Vancouver Island, BC | When: Summer (No festival in 2019; returning in 2020)
With the addition of BreakoutWest, Rifflandia grew to over 20 venues and 150 performances over four days and four nights. Headliners Modest Mouse, Mother Mother, Julian Casablancas and the Voidz, and Kiesza kept Royal Athletic Park buzzing all weekend, while the Capital Iron night stage made it’s debut with stunning visuals and premier DJs like Torro Torro, Neon Steve, and A Tribe Called Red. The weekend was capped off with The Western Canadian Music Awards being presented at the McPherson Theatre.
“One of the Capital Region’s most popular music festivals is taking a year off. Organizers of the annual Rifflandia Festival say they decided to give the event a break because of various market challenges.” – CTV News
In May 2019, it was cancelled that the 2019 festival had been cancelled, with plans to return in 2020. The 12th year of the Rifflandia Festival was scheduled for Sept. 12 to 16, 2019, but Atomique Productions, which runs the event, said it will now run from Sept. 17 to 20, 2020.
River & Sky Festival
Where: Field, ON | When: Summer
Since their inception in 2009, River & Sky has strived to support regional emerging artists from Northeastern Ontario, and to showcase their talents alongside amazing artists from across Canada and beyond.
“River & Sky Music/Camping Festival is a multi-day music festival rooted in the camping culture of Northeastern Ontario.” – Northeastern Ontario
Another amazing festival centered around the camping experience with great music and food. Along with that, they put a large focus on their sustainability program.
This year’s festival took place in July and it’s likely the 2020 event will as well.
Where: Bissell Park, Elora, ON, | When: Summer | Coverage
Camping, good food and music… what more could you ask for.
Riverfest Elora is the town of Elora, Ontario’s annual celebration of community and music.
“The Sheepdogs have been added to this year’s Riverfest Elora after the opening night headliner had to cancel due to a leg injury. Organizers said that after receiving news this week that Toronto singer Jessie Reyez was unable to perform, they called in a ‘huge favour.'” – Global News
Over the years, Riverfest Elora has brought an impressive array of musicians to the small town. Past artists include The Flaming Lips, Carly Rae Jepsen, MGMT, July Talk, Gogol Bordello, Chromeo, Metric, Blue Rodeo, Walk Off The Earth, Serena Rider, Sam Roberts Band, Wolf Parade, The Sheepdogs, Monster Truck, Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Bruce Cockburn, Hey Rosetta!, DJ Jazzy Jeff, The New Pornographers, Mother Mother, Shakey Graves, 54 40, Matthew Good, K.Flay, Bahamas, Hollerado, Operators, Sloan, Elliott Brood, Young Galaxy, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Tokyo Police Club, Ashley MacIsaac, Dan Mangan + Blacksmith, Yukon Blonde, Born Ruffians, Weaves, Rich Aucoin, Kardinal Offishall, Alan Doyle, Cuff the Duke, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Wintersleep, Shad, The Wooden Sky, Rawlins Cross, Kevin Breit, The Slackers, Prairie Oyster, Dala, Danny Michel, Odd Years, Lowlands, Alanna Gurr and many more.
The festival was founded by Elora artist Marilyn Koop in 2009. Koop passed away in 2012 and the festival continues in her memory. Look for the giant green “M” canvas on the grounds throughout the festival.
The Riverfront Jubilee
Where: New Glasgow, NS | When: Summer
The Jubilee has been host to East Coast Music Association, Music Nova Scotia and Juno Award winners and nominees. The distinctive setting and outdoor amphitheatre provides music lovers one of the most engaging and in your face music experiences of its kind.
“‘This festival is amazing. So much community spirit,’ said veteran Jubilee volunteer, Shaun Bond. Bond has been volunteering with the Riverfront Jubilee for 21 years, and can’t choose which year he’s liked best. ‘It’s really hard to pick one that’s been my favourite.'” – Truro News
It is an event with a flavour all its own, featuring rock and the best East Coast music. The event was built on a proud tradition of opening its stage for the region’s rising stars to perform alongside seasoned national and international acts, and turning music lovers onto the rich talent that flourishes here.
The Jubilee is a signature Nova Scotia music event and mainstay of the local tourism industry. This 3-time Music Nova Scotia (MNS) Event of the Year recipient, 2-time ECMA Event of the Year nominee, and winner of the TIANS Golden Hospitality Award (2013) continues to be one of the best entertainment values in Atlantic Canada.
Shambhala Music Festival
Where: Salmo River Ranch, BC | When: Summer | Coverage
The Shambhala Music Festival was born from a vision as grassroots as it gets. On a sunny Labour Day weekend back 1998, some 500 people gathered at the Salmo River Ranch for a party that showcased local art and music. Since those early, heady days, Shambhala grew with enthusiasm by word of mouth, quickly becoming a staple event for the West Coast underground electronic music scene. Today it attracts world renowned DJs and artists and some of the most eclectic, energetic fans in the universe. The festival is built on Shambhalove which shines bright to this day.
“What started as a small gathering of 500 people at Salmo River Ranch has since grown into one of the most renowned electronic festivals on the West Coast, attracting some of the worlds best DJs and electronic artists, as well as over 17,000 attendees each year.” – Daily Hive
By 2010, fueled by what festival goers call “Shambhalove,” 15,000 guests, artists and crew were coming to dance and be free in the wilds of interior British Columbia. Today, people come to enjoy the festival’s focus of providing amazing art, music and organic food supplied through the festival’s own venues; Night Owl (locally roasted coffee from Oso Negro), Farm Fresh (fresh, organic ingredients made into smoothies) and Blaze Burgers (meat produced from happy cows raised on the Salmo River Ranch). For 2017, their 20th anniversary – the journey continues to grow and evolve, with some new stage developments that are sure to blow minds.
Sled Island Music & Arts Festival
Where: Calgary, AB | When: Summer
Since 2007, Sled Island’s thoughtful, eclectic programming and independent spirit have fused to produce a one-of-a-kind festival experience.
“The 2019 edition of the Sled Island Music & Arts Festival has officially arrived and, with a combined 250 bands, artists, comedians and films on the lineup, attendees to this year’s festival have a lot to check out.” – CTV News
Each June, the five-day music and arts festival brings together a community of more than 250 bands, comedy, film and art as well as over 30,000 attendees in more than 35 venues, earning rave reviews from attendees, artists and media across the globe.
Song & Surf Music Festival
Where: Port Renfrew, BC | When: Winter | Coverage
Song & Surf Music Festival, one of B.C.’s premier winter music festivals, combines Canadian art, music, and culture with community alliance. Hosted throughout the picturesque town of Port Renfrew, the multi-venue festival is nestled between multiple venues, easy walking or biking distance from each other.
“Along with the music, the Song & Surf Music Festival also gives back to the community with donations made to area trail-building ventures, a youth music program and the Ancient Forest Alliance.” – Victoria News
Attendees may book accommodation throughout the town or stay at a variety of campsites with shuttle service transporting guests to and from the festival.
Sound of Music Festival
Where: Burlington, ON | When: Summer
Sound of Music has exploded in size since it’s modest beginnings in 1980 as a marching band parade. Operating as a not-for-profit corporation, the organization stages Canada’s Largest Free Music Festival every year in June.
“Get ready to jam out to some tunes again soon, because the Sound of Music Festival is returning to Burlington for another year of incredible music.” – In Halton
Due to the passion, love and commitment of hundreds of volunteers, a small staff, and a roster of generous sponsors and suppliers music takes over Burlington Downtown and Waterfront.
As the region’s largest music event, the Sound of Music Festival supports an eclectic combination of new and emerging artists, past favourites and some of today’s most popular performers.
TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival
Where: Vancouver, BC | When: Summer
The Vancouver International Jazz Festival is an annual summer event in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The festival grew out of a local jazz scene that centred on Vancouver Co-op Radio, a community radio station, in the early 1980s.
“The scope of music offered at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival is what you would expect at any well-curated, multi-day event of its type.” – Vancouver Sun
The the annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival is produced and presented by the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, who are also responsible for the Bright Moments series, and year-round concerts, as well as presenting local, national, and international artists five nights a week at Frankie’s Jazz Club.
The Society is also a significant part of Vancouver and BC’s economic engine and tourism industry, attracting over half a million people to the annual jazz festival and generating over $43 million in economic activity.
Veld Music Festival
Where: Toronto, ON | When: Summer
The 8th annual Veld Music Festival, presented by INK Entertainment, Canada’s leading lifestyle and entertainment company, took place on August 3rd and 4th at Downsview Park in Toronto.
“The 2019 Veld Music Festival, possibly the biggest annual EDM event in Canada, made its return to Ontario on Saturday, bringing in a varied crowd of young and old from across the province and the world.” – Global News
Spanning across two days with over 30 internationally acclaimed dance music and hip-hop acts, this year’s festival showcased some of the most revered names in the music industry. Stay tuned for Veld 2020!
Wavelength Summer Music & Arts Festival
Where: Toronto, ON | When: Summer
Wavelength Music is a curated concert series designed to champion creativity, co-operation and collaboration in the independent music and arts scenes.
“For two magical days, Wavelength Music will feature musical and artistic discovery and escape inside the walls of shipping containers at Stackt, Toronto’s newest space for creative placemaking.” – Daily Hive
Established in 2000, they are a non-profit arts organization that puts artists and the community first. A cornerstone of the Toronto music scene, Wavelength Music has championed literally thousands of emerging artists during its decade-plus run.
WayHome Music & Arts
Where: Toronto, ON | When: Summer (Currently Inactive)
WayHome wrapped up its third year in in July and announced shortly after that they’d be taking a ‘pause’ in 2018. But they assured fans, “This isn’t goodbye, just see you later.” As of Aug. 11, 2019, the same message is listed on the festival’s website. The festival has hosted acts like Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Run The Jewels, Flume and more.
Winnipeg Folk Festival
Where: Birds Hill Provincial Park, St. Clements, MB | When: Summer
It’s the moment you walk down the forested path and see Snowberry Stage. It’s dancing with your toes in the soft grass. It’s kicking back on your tarp with your hat tipped over your eyes, listening to the music while the sun warms your cheeks. It’s running into old friends and making new ones. It’s discussing the music, in-depth and openly. It’s taking the time to enjoy each other’s company and appreciate the things that are truly important in life.
“Folk Fest executive director Lynne Skromeda told 680 CJOB that from the heatwave that covered the weekend, to the all-star lineup of performers, to the sold-out campground, this year’s festival was a memorable one.” – Global News
The Winnipeg Folk Fest is the culmination of everything great about the local folk community. For four days every July, the community gathers at Birds Hill Park to celebrate and enjoy exceptional music with friends and family. You’re home at the Winnipeg Folk Fest.
The festival has a little something for everyone with a range of roots, indie-rock, electronic, country, Celtic, Americana and genres from around the globe. As is usually the case with the Winnipeg Folk Festival, many of the artists they add to their lineups are playing in Manitoba for the very first time.