First of all, we made it! Congratulations to all of my fellow Canadians who powered through the gruelling, ominous and potentially frightening state of the uninviting winter.Summer, a time when the whole world seems to melt away into a flurry of freckles and delight. A time when the days seems to be eternal, the worlds smells fresher and food tastes juicier. This is also a time when music festivals generously explode across the Country and the masses celebrate with great joy and debauchery.
I now present a list of some of the finest festivals of the summer in this celebratory Country…
Levitation-Vancouver-June 5 -7
Austin Pysch Fest and Timbre Concerts have joined forces to present the first ever Levitation Festival in Vancouver. Levitation, like Austin Pysch Fest offers the cream of the crop of shoegaze, experimental and psychedelic music. The Festival takes place in stunning Stanley Park placed conveniently in the centre of the city and encapsulates sheer natural beauty with ever-changing landscape and incredible acoustics. Black Mountain, Atlas Sound, Witch, The Black Angels, Black Lips, Tobacco and many more mind melting bands will heighten your senses and blow you away in the threshold of our fair city. Attending means you are not only going to have an amazing time, but you will also be a part of history and can tell your grandchildren you attended the first ever Levitation Festival Vancouver. (levitation-vancouver.com)
North by North East Toronto is when Toronto becomes one giant Sonic Boom. Brilliantly designed lineups that involve music and mixed media are arranged each year and entertain in the various charming Toronto bars, venues and Dundas Square. Liquor laws are extended until 3 am,workshops are offered in elaborate hotels and music spills out of every corner. As everything takes place in the city you can attempt to go about your activities during the day and take on this five day beast by night. This year will include: Atlas Sound, War Paint, Willow Smith, Hot Docs, live comedy, interactive art, and late night visual art resembling the lovely Nuit Blanche. (www.NXNE.com)
Winnipeg Folk Festival- Winnipeg,MB- July 9-12
I am potentially biased as Winnipeg is my hometown and this is the first music festival I ever attended which contains a series of sentimental and ludicrous memories. However, Winnipeg Folk Festival is an absolutely amazing experience and shan’t be overlooked (that’s right, shan’t!). The festival takes place after Winnipeg melts away and becomes a balmy, sticky, glowing masterpiece. The festival is held an hour outside of winnipeg at Bird’s Hill Provincial park. You may camp all weekend, buy daily passes;whatever floats your boat, no matter what you will have great time that is curated specifically to your very needs. Some of the best food, people and music on the planet is offered generously at this prairie paradise. Additionally, I couldn’t design a better lineup this year; Wilco, Kurt Vile, Bahamas, Shaky Graves, Jose Gonzales,Robyn Hitchcock and many more will be serenading our sweaty souls this brilliant weekend. (Winnipegfolkfestival.ca)
Hillside is celebrating it’s 32nd year and is consistently understood as one of the Country’s best festivals. Hillside takes place in the lovely Guelph Ontario which is a downsized more peaceful version of Toronto and is only about an hour away. Hillside always has a great lineup, caters but isn’t exclusive to families and finds the perfect balance of fun but not obnoxious. Very few furry boots will be spotted, very many banjos will. This year’s lineup includes: Badbadnotgood, Braids, Ryley Walker, The Bros. Landreth, Daniel Lanois, Alex Cuba, Doldrums, Fred Penner and many many more! (Hillsidefestival.com)
ArtsWells- Wells,BC-July 31-Aug 3
ArtsWells is the festival of all things art in the charming town of Wells, Bc. The festival is an elaborate arrangement of musicians, spoken word, theatre and visual art. A series of interactive and innovative workshops are offered varying strongly from clowning to songwriting. The festival invites the audience to collaborate, keeping you sharp and entertained. The people are kind, wholesome and absolutely inviting;nothing is pretentious and everything is real. Musicians this years include A Raven Called Crow, Corwin Fox, Hannah Epperson, Buckman Coe, Rolla Olak and The Tailor . Mixed Media such as spoken word duo 2 dope boys (who are truly two dope boys),Moth Orbit Theatre and visual artists Glenn Clark and Peter Corbett and just some of the many incredible artists that are a part of this year’s marvellous ArtsWells. (www.artswells.com)
Squamish Valley Music Festival- Squamish, BC- Aug 7-9
If you are going to do one of the cooperate, massive festival this summer I would recommend this one. First of all Squamish is absolutely beautiful and you can camp right in the thick of it, secondly because it’s only five years old it is still youthful and thirdly the lineup is diverse and excellent. The sustainability of the festival is on point, food is incredible and you are conveniently wedged between Vancouver and Whistler. This year’s lineup includes: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, SZA, Bahamas and Whitehorse. Additionally Drake, Sam Smith and Mumford and Sons are all performing and if you are like me, that is less exciting to you but it certainly is to some. (squamishfestival.com)
I would also highly recommend Osheaga, Dawson City Music Fest, International Jazz Festival and Rifllandia. Wherever you end up may it fulfill you greatly and only slightly dehydrate you.