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5 May 2011

Now Hear This…Festivals 101: Your Guide to Canada’s Summer 2011 Best Of-Music Festivals

Now Hear This…Festivals 101: Your Guide to Canada’s Summer 2011 Best Of-Music Festivals

This Summer I’ll be taking a page from Pamela Des Barres and hitting the open road, journeying across Canada to take in some of the best festivals this country has to offer. It doesn’t matter where you live because frankly if we’ve learned anything from Planes, Trains & Automobiles it’s that mobility has nothing but hilarious consequences. A music festival can be the perfect punch in the gut to the lazy, hazy days of summer; you’ll need a few key things to ensure the ultimate in successful road trips first though. Keep good company, bring lots of snacks (a few roadie pops wouldn’t hurt, for the passengers of course) and arm yourself with an arsenal of awesome tunes to keep you alert during those long stretches of pavement. Before you know it, you’ll be basking in sunlight and breathing in fresh air, meeting loads of great people, listening to incredible live music outdoors and exposing yourself to artists you may never have stumbled upon otherwise.
I’ve taken you from East coast to West through to the end of the Summer and rounded up some of the very best Canada has to offer. Tickets are still available for all listed festivals below, however some like Osheaga will sell out more quickly than others.

Mutek Montreal June 1-5th

Highlights: Four Tet, Gold Panda, Plastikman

North by Northeast June 13-19th

Highlights: 3 nights at Dundas Square for free, featuring: Descendents, then Devo, then Pharcyde + Digable Planets. So good it hurts

Sled Island Festival June 22-25th

Highlights: Alberta Cross, Buzzcocks, Deer Tick, Jeff the Brotherhood, The Raveonettes, Of Montreal

Montreal Jazz Festival June 25th-July 4th

Highlights: Return to Forever IV, Paco de Lucia, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Average White Band, BootsyCollins, Robert Cray Band. Unlike the Ottawa and Toronto editions, Montreal also features Sade, Theophilus London, Jaga Jazzist, Leif Vollebekk, Esperanza Spalding, John Legend.

Ottawa Jazz Festival June 23rd-July 3rd

On top of most of the above highlighted artists the Ottawa version features Coeur De Pirate, Ohbijou and Shad.

Toronto Jazz Festival June 24-July 3rd

Once again, Toronto share the big jazz names the other two festivals have but this one features Aretha Franklin and Reggie Watts.

Tall Tree Music Festival June 25-27th

Full line-up: Aidan Knight, Current Swell, Espionage, Johnny Galactic, Jon and Roy, Listening Party, Mindil Beach Markets, Marris Otter, Quoia, The O’Darling, The Racoons, The Sunset, Velvet, Vince Vaccaro

Cisco Ottawa Blues Fest July 5th-17th (Yes, it’s like a month)

Highlights: Peter Frampton, Soundgarden, The Tragically Hip, The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket, M. Ward, The Roots, Karkwa, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and the list goes on, and on: CLICK HERE FOR FULL LINEUP

Quebec City Summer Festival July 7-17th

Running simultaneously with the Ottawa Blues Fest, expect an over lap in artist but in addition add Elton John, Metallica and Cut Copy.

Winnipeg Folk Festival July 6-10th

Highlights: Little Feat, Blue Rodeo, Jeff Tweedy, Dawes, Tegan & Sara, Mountain Man.

Edgefest 2011 July 9th

Highlights: Arkells, The Weakerthans, Tokyo Police Club, Michou, Hollerado, The Sheepdogs, Dinosaur Bones, Sandman Viper Command.
Line-up: CICK HERE

Vancouver Folk Festival July 15-17th

Highlights: Samantha Crain, Buck 65, Elliot Brood, James Townes Earle, Imaginary Cities, Joel Plaskett Emergency.

Heavy T.O and Heavy MTL both running June 23-24

It really just comes down to Rob Zombie (Toronto) vs. Kiss (Montreal).

Hillside Music Festival July 22-24

Highlights: The Dears, Dan Mangan, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Hollerado, Grimes, Hooded Fang, Gobble Gobble, Lost in the Trees, Shad, One Hundred Dollars, Braids, Charlotte Cornfield.

Osheaga July 29-31st

Highlights: The Tragically Hip, Elvis Costello, The Flaming Lips, Sam Roberts Band, Beirut, Manchester Orchestra, Death From Above 1979, Kid Cudi, Jamie XX Line-up: CLICK HERE

Halifax M Fest August 7th

Highlights: Broken Social Scene, Diamond Rings, Hey Rosetta!, Surfer Blood, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

Shambhala Music Festival August 5-8th

Highlights: Shrillex, Gobble Gobble, Zed’s Dead

Live At Squamish August 20-21st

Highlights: Metric, Weezer, Black Mountain, Major Lazer, Shad
Line-up: CICK HERE

So pack some clean undies kids and hit the roads this summer! I’ll have a road trip playlist for ya’ll undoubtedly to follow, but I strongly recommend bringing a copy of the Easy Rider Soundtrack. Happy Trails! x

Words by Kate Masewich

About the Author

Kate Masewich

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