2018 Guide to Canadian Music Festivals

Summer is waiting

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 locked in.

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CENTRAL CANADA
 

Canadian Music Week

When: May 7-13
Where: Toronto, ON

Canadian Music Week will return this year with seven days of music, including a lineup of 600 artists that will perform across 40 venues. Not limited to music, CMW also hosts a lineup of awards shows, film screenings, comedy events, and numerous networking opportunities for those in the music industry. Check out this year’s full lineup here.

Festival alumni: Alvvays, Wolf Parade, Death Cab for Cutie, Earl Sweatshirt, Charlotte Day Wilson, The Flatliners, Hollerado and More
 

Field Trip

When: June 2, 3
Where: Toronto, ON

Field Trip holds a special place in the heart of Toronto’s festival scene. If you’re looking for a laid back weekend filled with food, fashion, photography, art and music, this festival is for you. This year’s lineup holds a ton of promise and includes the likes of Metric, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Allan Rayman, Alvvays and more. Check out this year’s lineup here.

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Festival alumni: Alabama Shakes, Broken Social Scene, Feist, Father John Misty, Arkells, Portugal. The Man, Hannah Georgas and More
 

CBC Music Festival

When: May 26
Where: Toronto, ON

Every year the CBC Music Festival transforms Toronto’s Echo Beach into a one day music extravaganza, perfect for anyone who is looking to both discover new music and relive fan favourites from the past. This year’s festival will be bringing July Talk, Charlotte Day Wilson, Busty and the Bass and many more to the city. See this year’s full lineup here.

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Festival alumni: Serena Ryder, Bahamas, Ruth B, Walk Off The Earth, Tegan and Sara, Spoon and More
 

Montebello Rockfest

When: June 14-16
Where: Montebello, QC

Montebello Rockfest is the perfect festival for anyone looking to revive their punk self and celebrate the early millennium and late 90s of rock. This year’s festival lineup boasts Weezer, Jimmy Eat World, Lamb of God, All Time Low, The Used, Dropkick Murphys and many more. Click here for the full lineup.

Festival alumni: Sum 41, System of a Down, Rise Against, The Offspring, Blink-182, Weezer, Alice in Chains and More
 

NXNE

When: June 8-17
Where: Toronto, ON

NXNE will see a return to form this year. After switching their location to the Port Lands for 2017’s run, the Toronto festival will return to their previous street festival structure at Yonge and Dundas square. According to a press release, NXNE plans to “transform Yonge Street into a festival village throughout the weekend to host free concerts, NXNE talk sessions and comedy shows.” Click here for more details.

Festival alumni: Post Malone, Kaytranada, St. Vincent, The Flaming Lips, Passion Pit, The New Pornographers and More
 

Dreams Festival

When: June 23, 24
Where: Toronto, ON

The Bud Light Dreams Festival, formerly known as Digital Dreams, continues to come back regardless of horrible weather luck. This year’s lineup includes Armin Van Buuren, Kaskade, Galantis and many more EDM icons. 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.

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

Veld

When: August 4, 5
Where: Toronto, ON

This year Veld returns to Downsview Park to fill Toronto’s late summer EDM void. This year’s lineup includes some big names, such as headliners DJ Snake, Marshmello, Martin Garrix, and Migos.

Festival alumni: Major Lazer, Tiësto, Deadmau5, Kaskade, Future, Above & Beyond and More
 

Osheaga

When: August 3-5
Where: Montreal, QC

Osheaga is one of Canada’s most cherished music festivals. Every year this festival promises big things and big things they deliver. This year is no different — with a lineup that includes names like Tyler, the Creator, Odesza, Anderson .Paak, Post Malone and James Blake, things are looking up. Click here for the full lineup.

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Festival alumni: Lorde, The Weeknd, Jack White, The Cure, The Black Keys, Kendrick Lamar and More
 

Hillside

When: July 13-15
Where: Guelph, ON

Guelph’s Hillside Festival has been running for over 30 years and is still going strong. This humble Ontario festival is known for being environmentally woke and encourages guests to enjoy the festival while supporting sustainable living and keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum. This year’s lineup has yet to be announced. Click here for more info.

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

Festival D’été de Quebec

When: July 5-15
Where: Quebec City, QC

Located in downtown Quebec City, Le Festival d’été de Quebec offers 11 days of music and always boasts an eclectic lineup that runs across all genres. This year’s headliners include Lorde, The Weeknd and Neil Young. Click here for the full lineup and schedule.

Festival alumni: The Backstreet Boys, Foo Fighters, Wolf Parade, Iron Maiden, The Black Keys, The Rolling Stones and More
 

 

Ottawa Bluesfest

When: July 5 -15
Where: Ottawa, ON

Need a break from the traditional indie festival lineup? Check out Ottawa’s Bluesfest. This festival runs for about 11 days and manages to hit a variety of genres, including blues, alternative, rock, jazz, soul, rap and more. Click here for this year’s festival info.

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

Boots and Hearts

When: August 9-12
Where: Oro-Medonte, ON

Boots and Hearts returns this year to satisfy Canada’s country music craving. This year Oro-Medonte will be introduced to headliners Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Thomas Rhett. Click here for this year’s lineup.

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

Riverfest Elora

When: Aug 17-19
Where: Elora, ON

Riverfest Elora has grown so much since its inception in 2009. The quaint Elora festival, which originally started out as a backyard party, returns every year to celebrate Canadian music and bring arising indie artists to the forefront. This year’s lineup includes Canada’s pop princess Carly Rae Jepsen, along with Flaming Lips and Blue Rodeo. Click here for the full lineup.

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

Camp Wavelength

When: Aug 18, 19
Where: Toronto, ON

Toronto’s summer camp festival will be switching things up this year. What was formerly a Toronto Island event has now become a downtown bash since switching to this year’s new location: Fort York Garrison Common. This year’s lineup includes Montreal’s SUUNS and Calgary avante-garde indie rockers Chad VanGaalen. See the full lineup here.

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

Sound of Music Festival

When: June 9-17
Where: Burlington, ON

Burlington’s Sound of Music Fest returns each year to provide a lineup of free shows to the good people of the GTA. This festival also falls on Father’s Day weekend, and given its dad-rock vibes, this is a pretty ideal event to take dad to. A few artists have been announced with many more to come. Click here for more info.

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

River & Sky Festival

When: July 19-22
Where: Fishers’ Paradise, ON

Last but not least is Ontario’s best-kept festival secret: River & Sky Fest. Located in a little nook called Fishers’ Paradise somewhere between Sudbury and North Bay, this northern Ontario festival comes with a solid opportunity for a mini summer roadtrip and campout (I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing). This year’s lineup has yet to be announced, but you can click here for more festival info.

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Festival Alumni: Nap Eyes, Basia Bulat, The Sadies, Metz, Hey Rosetta!, Beach Fossils and More
 

MARITIMES
 

Cavendish Beach

When: July 6-9
Where: Cavendish, PEI

Cavendish is returning to PEI this year with a lineup that covers most of your friends’ music interests. This year’s headliners include Luke Bryan and Shawn Mendes, and if that’s not enough variety for you I’m not sure what is. It’s also a pretty solid excuse to visit PEI if you haven’t already. Click here to view this year’s lineup.

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

Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival

When: Aug 3-5
Where: St John’s, NL

The Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival is a non-profit festival that is dedicated to paying homage to the east coast’s deep relationship with folk arts. They are currently still accepting submissions, so be sure to check it out here.

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

Evolve

When: July 6-9
Where: Moncton, NB

A road trip to New Brunswick for a music festival would make for a pretty solid weekend trip this summer. Evolve, “Canada’s greenest festival,” is returning this summer with a four-day celebration that is dedicated to promoting sustainable living while also enjoying some great music. Check it out here.

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

SappyFest

When: Aug 3-5
Where: Sackville, NB

Sackville’s annual indie music festival is back this year for their 13th season. This wholesome community-built festival will brighten you up for a weekend of fun and sunshine on the east coast. Click here for more info.

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Festival alumni: Basia Bulat, PUP, Constantines, Dilly Dally, Nap Eyes and More
 

 

Halifax Pop Explosion

When: Oct 17-20
Where: Halifax, NS

Not exactly a summer festival, but definitely a much-needed event for waving one last sun-kissed goodbye to summer. Send off your festival season with a last hurrah in Halifax with a lineup of pop acts. Click here for more info.

Festival alumni: Charlotte Day Wilson, Clairmont the Second, METZ, Weaves, Japandroids, and More
 

Riverfront Jubilee

When: Aug 3-5
Where: New Glasgow, NS

Nova Scotia is a musical haven in the summer. Riverfront Jubilee is also a non-profit music festival that prioritizes placing Canadian music on the forefront. Performers set to rock the shores of New Glasgow’s East River this year include July Talk, Matthew Good, and Reuben and the Dark. Click here for more info.

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

WEST COAST
 

Shambhala

When: August 10-13
Where: Salmo River Ranch, BC

This year Shambhala is celebrating the festival’s 21st run, which means a big lineup is ahead. A.Skillz, Adventure Club, Alix Perez and more will be turning Salmo River Ranch into a 21st birthday rager. Click here for more info.

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

Rifflandia

When: Sept 14-17
Where: Victoria, BC

This indie music festival books over 20 venues and continues to gain popularity each summer, with this year being no different. Considering this is an end-of-summer kind of festival it’s still a little early for the lineup to be revealed, but given the festival’s track record we’re definitely in for a treat. Click here for details.

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

Bass Coast

When: July 6-9
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
 

PRAIRIES
 

Sled Island

When: June 20-24
Where: Calgary, AB

Over 300 bands will be piling into Calgary come the city’s 12th annual Sled Island festival. Headliners include The Flaming Lips and Dirty Projectors, but this weekend isn’t just about the music. Sled Island has a huge film lineup for all you cinephiles out there. Click here for more info.

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

Calgary Folk Fest

When: July 26-29
Where: Calgary, AB

The Calgary Folk Music Festival aint quick to share the goods, but leaked 2018 performers include Alvvays and The Barr Brothers, so needless to say this year’s fest will offer a good time. Their full lineup is scheduled to drop on April 21, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, click here for more details.

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

Chasing Summer

When: Aug 4-5
Where: Calgary, AB

Calgary’s Chasing Summer is a 48 hour EDM explosion. With Martin Garrix, Dillon Francis, DJ Snake, and RL Grime on the lineup, there’s no doubt it will be a stellar time. Visit their website for more details.

Festival alumni: Tiesto, Infected Mushroom, The Chainsmokers, Zeds Dead, Marshmello and More
 

Winnipeg Folk Festival

When: July 5-8
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. This year’s main stage lineup includes Roger Roger, The Strumbellas, Bahamas, Sheryl Crow, A Tribe Called Red, and more. Click here for this year’s lineup.

Festival alumni: Feist, The Shins, Serena Ryder, City and Colour, Jesse Cook, Elliott Brood and More
 

Interstellar Rodeo

When: July 20-22
Where: Edmonton, AB

What exactly is an Interstellar Rodeo? Does it really matter when you have Courtney Barnett, Feist, July Talk, and A Tribe Called Red on the lineup? Checkout the full lineup here.

Festival alumni: Beck, Broken Social Scene, Father John Misty, Shakey Graves and More
 

TERRITORIES
 

Folk on the Rocks

When: July 20-22
Where: Yellowknife, NWT

Nestled on the shores of Long Lake, Folk on the Rocks should be on the bucket-list of every Canadian festival-goer. Drawing people from all over the world in all facets of life, from music and food to entertainment and art, this year’s run is expected to be a blast. Click here for the lineup.

Festival alumni: City and Colour, The Pack A.D., Said the Whale, Hey Ocean!, The Grapes of Wrath, Hayden and More
 

Dawson City

When: July 20-22
Where: Dawson City, YT

What started out as a community barbeque is now a renowned music festival held in Dawson City, Yukon. This year’s lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but you can stay up-to-date with news here.

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

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