2017 Guide to Canadian Music Festivals

Plan your summer accordingly

From the west and east coasts to the prairies to central Canada and the territories, there’s a ton of ground to cover and no shortage of music festival fun. Plan it right, and you may have your whole summer booked by the end of April.

Here is our official guide to Canadian music festivals.
 
CENTRAL CANADA
 

Canadian Music Week

When: April 18-22
Where: Toronto, ON

A festival known for showcasing emerging artists and local talent, Canadian Music Week (CMW) will be heading into its 35th year with six days of live music and entertainment. CMW isn’t limited to music — the festival also hosts awards shows, film and comedy festivals, as well as conferences for anyone in the music business looking to network. Check out this year’s full lineup here.

Festival alumni: Alvvays, Death Cab for Cutie, Billy Talent, Lights, The Flatliners and More
 

CBC Music Festival

When: Saturday, May 27, 2017
Where: Toronto, ON

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This one day festival boasts an all-Canadian lineup that includes headliners Serena Ryder and Walk Off the Earth. The festival will be celebrating its fifth year running this year, and you can view this year’s full lineup here.

Festival alumni: Bahamas, The Strumbellas, Tegan and Sara, Spoon and More
 

Field Trip

When: June 3 & 4
Where: Toronto, ON

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Field Trip isn’t just a music festival. With tons of food, fashion, photography, art, and comedy to explore, the family-friendly festival is easily one of Toronto’s favourite summer weekends. Check out this year’s lineup here.

Festival alumni: Alabama Shakes, Father John Misty, Arkells, Half Moon Run, BadBadNotGood and More
 

NXNE

When: June 16-25
Where: Toronto, ON

This 10-day festival will take over Toronto June 16-25 with a killer lineup. The festival kicks off with Game Land and Club Land, followed by the three-day Port Lands festival headlined by Tyler, the Creator, Passion Pit, and Post Malone June 23 – 25. Additional Port Lands artists will be announced soon. Click here for more details.

Festival alumni: The National, St. Vincent, The Flaming Lips, Broken Social Scene, The New Pornographers and More
 

Montebello Rockfest

When: June 22-25
Where: Montebello, QC

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Also known as Amnesia Rockfest, the festival was created in 2005 by a 17-year-old that loved music. The festival hosts a lineup that falls over the map, from hip hop and alternative to punk and metal, reggae, and ska. Click here for this year’s lineup, which includes Wu-Tang Clan, Alexisonfire, and Queens of the Stone Age.

Festival alumni: System of a Down, Linkin Park, The Offspring, Blink-182, Weezer, Alice in Chains and More
 

Dreams Festival

When: July 7 & 8
Where: Toronto, ON

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Known for getting rained out, the EDM festival formerly known as Digital Dreams shows up every July in Toronto. This year sees DVBBS, Dillstradamus, and Steve Angello, and we can only hope that the weather holds up. Click here for the full lineup.

Festival alumni: The Chainsmokers, Flux Pavillion, Porter Robinson, Tiësto and More
 

Veld

When: August 5 & 6
Where: Toronto, ON

Another festival that channels Toronto’s EDM scene, Veld takes place at Downsview Park and will feature headliners Future, Major Lazer, and Tiësto. More artists are still being announced, but click here to view the current list.

Festival alumni: Deadmau5, Kaskade, Hardwell, Above & Beyond and More
 

Festival D’été de Quebec

When: July 6-16
Where: Quebec City, QC

Where else are you going to see the Backstreet Boys at the same stage as Wolf Parade? Located in downtown Quebec City, Le Festival d’été de Quebec hosts 11 days of music, featuring a lineup of independent artists alongside bigger-name artists to offer a diverse musical lineup. Click here for the full lineup and schedule.

Festival alumni: Foo Fighters, Keith Urban, Iron Maiden, The Black Keys, The Rolling Stones and More
 

Ottawa Bluesfest

When: July 6-16
Where: Ottawa, ON

The RBC Bluesfest aims to showcase local, regional, national, and international talent over an eleven-day event in the City of Ottawa. Not only featuring blues, this festival also features genres such as alternative, rock, jazz, funk, soul, rap, folk, and urban. Check out this year’s lineup here.

Festival alumni: Rush, The Tragically Hip, Run the Jewels, Chance the Rapper and More
 

WayHome

When: July 28-30
Where: Oro-Medonte, ON

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Heading into its third year, WayHome will be hosting headliners Flume, Imagine Dragons, and Frank Ocean. The Ontario festival boasts a lineup that covers a variety of genres, and includes camping options for those coming from out of town. This festival provides a great opportunity for Torontonians to head to a festival getaway without travelling far. See this year’s full lineup here.

Festival alumni: Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith, Neil Young, Alvvays, Run the Jewels, and more
 

Hillside

When: July 14-16
Where: Guelph, ON

Held at the Guelph Lake Conservation, Hillside is a staple in Guelph’s music culture and has been around for over 30 years. Hillside has a reputation for being one of Canada’s most environmentally conscious festivals, offering a variety of green initiatives, including the use of reusable dishes by its vendors, a ban on plastic water bottles, solar-powered stage, and a green roof on its main stage. Guests are also encouraged to ride their bikes to the festival. Although Hillside typically takes place later in July, this year the festival has announced a weekend change along with their 2017 lineup.

Festival alumni: Hey Rosetta!, Hollerado, Terra Lightfoot, The Strumbellas, July Talk and More
 

Osheaga

When: August 4-6
Where: Montreal, QC

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Osheaga Music and Arts festival is an indie music festival in Montreal that runs a series of exhibitions and concerts that lead up to the three day event. Offering a number of hotel rooms for accommodations, this festival is a Canadian favourite. Check out this year’s lineup, which includes headliners Lorde, Muse, and The Weeknd.

Festival alumni: Sonic Youth, Eminem, Jack White, The Cure, The Black Keys, Kendrick Lamar and More
 

Boots And Hearts

When: August 10-13
Where: Oro-Medonte, ON

Created by the same people that brought us WayHome, Boots and Hearts is a four-day country music festival also held in Oro-Medonte, Ont. Since beginning in 2012 and originally being run at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Boots and Hearts has grown into an established and loved Canadian country music festival. Click here for this year’s lineup.

Festival alumni: Brad Paisley, Eric Church, Carrie Underwood, Kid Rock, Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow and More
 

Riverfest Elora

When: August 18-20
Where: Elora, ON

What started off as a quaint celebration of local music became a popular Ontario music festival. Camp out in this weekend long celebration of music, arts, food and culture, with some of Canada’s most celebrated indie artists. Riverfest’s lineup will be announced on April 28, but tickets are on sale now and selling out fast. Buy yours here.

Festival alumni: Metric, Sam Roberts, The Wooden Sky, Tokyo Police Club and more
 

Camp Wavelength

When: August 18-20
Where: Toronto Island, Toronto, ON

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Founded by Toronto arts collective Wavelength Music and dedicated to nourishing local musical culture, Camp Wavelength is an intimate and unique festival located on Toronto Island. The lineup is planned to be announced in May, but tickets are currently on sale. With Camp Wavelength being the only Toronto music festival that offers camping, both lodging and camping packages are available. Not looking to camp? Buy a full weekend pass for only $54.99.

Festival alumni: Dirty Frigs, Wooden Sky, Doomsquad, Absolutely Free, Operators and More
 

POP Montreal

When: September 13-17
Where: Montreal, QC

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Delivering a five-day event, Pop Montreal is a heavy supporter of independent music, and the festival also includes symposiums, visual art exhibitions, fashion shows, film screenings, and after-parties. The lineup is still TBA, but submissions are currently open for the 2017 festival.

Festival alumni: Fast Romantics, Ivory Hours, Wolf Parade, Kings of Leon and More
 

Sound of Music Festival

When: June 10-18
Where: Burlington, ON

If you’re tight on cash this summer but still want to enjoy a few days of live music, the Sound of Music Festival is for you. The festival is completely free to attend, and takes place along the waterfront and runs into the city’s downtown core. Click here for this year’s lineup.

Festival alumni: Mother Mother, Mounties, Lighthouse, I Mother Earth, Soul Asylum and More
 

River & Sky Festival

When: July 20-23
Where: Field, ON

Located between Sudbury and North Bay, this northern Ontario festival boasts a strong indie lineup, including Metz, Hey Rosetta!, and Nap Eyes. Also a festival that takes pride in being environmentally aware, River & Sky is worth the trek.

Festival Alumni: The Sadies, Metz, Hey Rosetta!, Beach Fossils and More
 
 
WEST COAST
 

Pemberton

When: July 13-16
Where: Pemberton, BC

Located on the west coast, an escape to Pemberton Music Festival can easily turn into a longstanding vacation in BC. This festival is settled in a beautiful location with a breathtaking view of BC’s mountain ranges. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but you can be the first to know by signing up for their newsletter here.

Festival alumni: Kendrick Lamar, The Black Keys, Missy Elliott, Kid Cudi, Passion Pit and More
 

Shambhala

When: August 11-14
Where: Salmo, BC

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Shambhala has been running since 1998, and ever since it has blossomed into a widely loved Canadian festival. The ranch is quiet and out of the way, making for a peaceful spot to host a bright and fun festival with attractive displays and picturesque natural views. This year’s lineup has not been announced yet.

Festival alumni: Pretty Lights, Skrillex, Bassnectar, Grandtheft, Moby and More
 

Rifflandia

When: September 14-17
Where: Victoria, BC

Rifflandia Music Festival is a four-day multi-venue festival that began in 2008. This is an indie music festival books over 20 venues and continues to gain popularity each summer. Rifflandia has not announced their 2017 lineup yet, but tickets are available here.

Festival alumni: Modest Mouse, Kiesza, Mother Mother, Tokyo Police Club, Joey Bada$$ and More
 

Vancouver Jazz Festival

When: June 23 – July 2
Where: Vancouver, BC

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The Vancouver Jazz Festival zooms in on Vancouver’s jazz music scene that grew in part to a local radio station in the 80s. The event draws in over 450,000 attendees each year, offering hundreds of performances include a variety of free shows. This year’s lineup has not been announced yet.

Festival alumni: Banda de los Muertos, Star Captains, Tomeka Reid and More
 

Bass Coast

When: July 7-10
Where: Merritt, BC

Bass Coast will be heading into its ninth year this summer. The artist-run electronic festival is nestled in BC’s beautiful Nicola Valley, while providing a space for a celebration of the arts and great music. Click here to see this year’s lineup.

Festival alumni: A Tribe Called Red, Addison Groove, Basic Soul Unit and More
 
 
MID-WEST
 

Sled Island

When: June 21-25
Where: Calgary, AB

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Celebrating its 11th year in action, this five-day music and arts festival brings in over 300 bands each year. Accommodations for Sled Island include special packages from surrounding Calgary hotels. Click here for the full lineup.

Festival alumni: Explosions in the Sky, Joel Plaskett, Mac Demarco, John K. Samson and More.
 

Calgary Folk Fest

When: July 27-30
Where: Calgary, AB

The Calgary Folk Music Festival is held at Prince’s Island Park and brings together independent artists from across the globe. This festival is over 30 years old and features 11 stages with over 52, 000 attendees every July.

Festival alumni: Neko Case, The Avett Brothers, Iron & Wine, Elvis Costello, Alabama Shakes and More
 

Edmonton Folk Fest

When: August 10-13
Where: Edmonton, AB

Established in 1980, The Edmonton Folk Music Festival is a four-day outdoor event that showcases performers in a variety of genres, including bluegrass, blues, gospel, and roots. With food vendors, six stages, and creative workshops, this festival is suitable for all ages and has become an iconic part of Edmonton’s culture. Click here for this year’s lineup.

Festival alumni: Van Morrison, Neko Case, The Avett Brothers, Cold Specks, Joni Mitchell and More.
 
 
PRAIRIES
 

Winnipeg Folk Fest

When: July 6-9
Where: Winnipeg, MB

This festival is the biggest outdoor festival in the Canadian prairies and aims to deliver friendly, all around good vibes to all who visit. Click here for this year’s lineup.

Festival alumni: Serena Ryder, City and Colour, Jesse Cook, Elliott Brood and More
 
 
MARITIMES
 

Cavendish Beach

When: July 7-9
Where: Cavendish, PEI

Cavendish Beach Music Festival is a multi-day outdoor event that attracts over 70,000 visitors annually. While attracting big country music acts, this three-day festival also offers camping, dining, and swimming. Click here to view this year’s lineup.

Festival alumni: Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley and More
 

Evolve

When: July 13-16
Where: Moncton, NB

Evolve has recently been called “Canada’s greenest festival.” The four-day festival
is dedicated to promoting sustainable living and environmental awareness through the use of renewable energy sources, recycled and biodegradable products, and efforts to limit solid waste as much as possible.

Festival alumni: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Trews, Hey Rosetta!, Pretty Lights, Keys N Krates and More
 

Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival

When: TBA
Where: St John’s, NL

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There is no shortage of folk festivals available here in Canada. This non-profit festival is dedicated to fostering an understanding of Newfoundland and Labrador’s deep-rooted history in folk arts. Call for submissions for this year’s festival has ended, all though the exact dates and lineup have yet to be announced.

Festival alumni: The Once, Amelia Curran, Swinging Belles, Jenn Grant and More
 

The Riverfront Jubilee

When: August 4-6
Where: New Glasgow, NS

This festival is also a non-profit event that is dedicated to showcasing local and Canadian music. The festival has become a staple in the east coast community. The lineup already includes Nova Scotia’s Matt Mays and Wintersleep. The rest of the lineup will be announced soon.

Festival alumni: The Glorious Sons, Arkells,Burton Cummings, The Meds and More
 
 
TERRITORIES
 

Folk on the Rocks

When: July 14-16
Where: Yellowknife, NT

This three-day festival is situated on the shores of Long Lake and has become a top cultural experience in Canada. Folk on the Rocks draws performers in from all over the world, and features six stages, a beer garden and traditional cuisine. This festival is run by a sturdy and determined team of over 400 volunteers. Click here for this year’s lineup.

Festival alumni: Said the Whale, Hey Ocean!, The Grapes of Wrath, Hayden and More
 

Dawson City

When: July 21-23
Where: Dawson City, YT

This humble music festival has grown from a minor weekend barbeque to a full-blown music festival located in Canada’s beautiful Yukon. Lineup announcements are rolling in every Friday of this month. Click here for more details.

Festival alumni: Blue Rodeo, The Constantines, Molly Sweeney, Born Ruffians and More

Feature photo courtesy of WayHome via Facebook.