A Big List of 25 Ontario Summer Music Festivals
If you’re a music fan, Ontario is your holy grail. The province is home to more summer music festivals than just about anywhere else, from small events featuring local bands to huge parties featuring the biggest bands in the world.
We’ve put together a chronological list of 25 festivals you can check out to scratch that itch for live music next summer.
June Music Festivals
Westfest: A Tribe Called Red, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Hexes and Ohs are just a few of the acts that have hit the stage at Westfest, a free, three-day music and arts festival in Ottawa that focuses on Canadian talent. Fresh acts will join that list at Westfest 2016, happening from June 3-5.
Field Trip: The National and Robyn are headlining Field Trip 2016, part of a roster that also features Santigold, Of Montreal and more. Held at Toronto’s historic Fort York, this year’s Field Trip is taking place from June 4-5.
Bestival: The Cure and Tame Impala are headlining this year’s Bestival, in Toronto’s Woodbine Park. The festival, known for its magical, eclectic stages, great costumes and party vibe, is taking place from June 11-12.
NXNE: Maybe you’ve heard of SXSW? Well, Toronto hosts its Canadian counterpart, NXNE, at a variety of venues throughout the city. This year’s NXNE will be held June 13-19, with Schoolboy Q headlining.
Ottawa Jazz Festival: Founded in 1980, the Ottawa Jazz Festival has grown into a celebrated event that features some of the biggest acts in the world of Jazz and beyond. This year’s event, taking place from June 22-July 3, will feature Brian Wilson and Sarah McLachlan.
TD Toronto Jazz Festival: With three decades of great events to its name, this premiere festival has imprinted itself on the city with the help of renowned stars like Miles Davis and Diana Krall. More than 2,000 musicians come together for 400 performances that truly move the entire city. This year’s event will be held from June 24-July 3.
Heineken Escapade: Diplo, Martin Garrix, Ben Gold, and many of the world’s biggest DJs visit Ottawa for the annual Escapade Music Festival. This annual electronic dance music (EDM) festival will be held at the Rideau Carleton Entertainment Centre from June 25-26, 2016.
WTFest: Canadian rock acts like Billy Talent and Monster Truck take center stage at WTFest Music and Arts Festival, a relatively new festival held in Brantford, Ontario. This year’s event will be held June 25-26.
July Music Festivals
Bud Light Digital Dreams: EDM giants gather in Toronto during the annual Digital Dreams Festival. This year’s event, to be held from, July 2-3, will feature huge stars Armin van Buuren and Above & Beyond.
RBC Bluesfest. Don’t let the name fool you; the RBC Bluesfest includes acts of all genres of music, from rappers Schoolboy Q and Future, to folk band City and Colour, to rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This two week event will take place from July 7-17 at Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats.
Northern Lights Festival Boréal: Spend a weekend in a park, on the shores of Sudbury’s Lake Ramsey, enjoying the likes of Bahamas, Digging Roots, and several other Canadian acts. The 2016 Northern Lights Festival Boréal will take place July 8-10.
Mariposa Folk Festival: Roots music is the theme of the Mariposa Music Festival, which has taken place in Orillia, a couple of hours north of Toronto, for the last 55 years. This longstanding event will take place from July 8-10.
Beaches International Jazz Festival: This is one of those festivals with a very self-explanatory name. At the Beaches International Jazz Festival, you’ll enjoy three weeks of jazz on the beach. How about that? This year’s event will be held July 2-24 at Toronto’s Woodbine Park.
Irie Music Festival: Two Ontario cities get to host the Irie Music Festival, which features reggae, calypso, salsa and ska acts. In 2016, you can dance to the beat on July 9 in Mississauga and July 30-31 in Toronto.
Rock The Park: Brad Paisley, Jake Owen, City and Colour, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are all going to be in London, Ontario this summer for Rock the Park. This four-night festival, happening from July 13-16, features two days of country and two days of rock.
WayHome: LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, The Killers and Major Lazer top an absolutely stocked lineup for the 2016 WayHome festival. Held in Oro-Medonte, Ontario, close to Barrie, you’re going to draw a line through July 22-24 on your calendar.
Mattawa Voyageur Days: If you enjoy good country and classic rock, the Mattawa Voyageur Days should be on your radar. Sam Roberts Band, Blue Rodeo, and Cheap Trick have all played the festival, which in 2016 will be held from July 22-24, 2016.
Hillside Summer Festival: Camping on Guelph Lake Island by itself is amazing, but the Hillside Summer Festival adds great Canadian bands, like Grimes and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy to the mix. This year’s festival will be held July 22-24.
Harbourfest: Kenora’s own Harbourfest, the largest three-day music festival in Northwestern Ontario, is celebrating 25 years in 2016, from July 29-31.
VELD Music Festival: Toronto’s Downsview Park will be flooded with big speakers and bigger EDM fans, when VELD Music Festival rolls into town on July 30-31.
August Music Festivals
Goderich Celtic Roots Festival: Reconnect with your Celtic side at the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival, from August 1-4. Whether you’re Irish, Scottish or Welsh, or you just enjoy the music, this annual celebration is a must.
OVO Fest: Drake’s love for Toronto led to the creation of OVO fest, an annual event during which the rapper recruits local acts and industry superstars for two days of performances. In 2016, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa have been announced as headliners for the festival, which is being held on July 29, 31 and August 1.
Boots & Hearts: Country music star Blake Shelton will join Dierks Bentley and Tim McGraw at Boots & Hearts, an annual country music festival in Oro-Medonte’s Burl’s Creek Event Grounds. This year’s event is taking place August 4-7.
Havelock Country Jamboree: Canada’s largest country music and camping festival calls Havelock, Ontario home. The Havelock Country Jamboree will be held from August 18-21 this year, and will feature Terri Clark, the Band Perry, and more.
Riverfest: Elora, Ontario’s Riverfest has come a long way in under a decade, growing into a who’s who of Canadian acts from Chromeo to the Sheepdogs. Held along the banks of the Grand River, this year’s event will be held from August 19-21.
For more on Ontario’s music and arts scene, check out the Ontario Travel website.