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Top Canadian music festivals to let your hair down at

Get the low-down on all the top summer music festivals in Canada and lock in your tickets before they run out.

Are you looking to shake it in the Great White North this summer? Then look no further. We've got the inside scoop on all of the hottest festivals happening across Canada. From folk to indie to hip-hop, electronic and more: our top picks for music festivals boast world-renowned line-ups with a little something for everyone.

Join us for a little trip from the west to the east coast to explore the "best fests" Canada has to offer. But don't wait too long to snap up a pair of tickets as many of these shows sell out every year.


1. Bass Coast Electronic Music and Art Festival (12-15 July) - British Columbia

If you're into heavy beats and stomping your feet, but don't like the capitalist thrall of other festivals, then this is the place for you. Bass Coast markets itself as a "thoughtfully curated boutique music and arts festival".

This means people don't come for the headliners but there are loads of local favourites to discover – including Mat the Alien, Skiitour and Smalltown DJs. So what's the biggest draw then? It's probably the ambiance and the people.

This festival is founded and run by women, and they're all about promoting a safe and inclusive space that gives just about anyone a reason to let their freak flag fly.


2. Shambhala Music Festival (9-12 August) - British Columbia

Nestled away in the heart of the Salmo River ranch – a 500-acre working farm – this festival is all about going back to the basics. Bringing together over 15,000 people, along with a respectable number of chickens, pigs, cows and donkeys, Shambhala is a grassroots celebration of music, art and life (in all its many forms).

With six locally grown stages and an electric line-up that includes the likes of Silk City, Kaskade, Griz, Bonobo, Zeds Dead, Anti Up, Excision and Liquid Stranger, there's a little sumthin sumthin for everyone.

And hey, even if you're not keen on the music, you can always throw your lawn chair in the river and while away the long lazy afternoons in style.


Chasing Summer

Image: Instagram, Chasing Summer

3. Chasing Summer (3-4 August) - Alberta

If you have a sense of adventure and want to get down and dirty in Cowtown, then you should check out the one and only Chasing Summer. Holding the title of the biggest EDM festival in Western Canada, CS drops its hot and heavy beats "straight outta Calgary".

This year's line-up really goes above and beyond, with headliners like The Chainsmokers, Alesso and Steve Aoki. But beware, all the fun plays out right smack dab in the centre of the city, so you'll need to be ready for the urban onslaught.

Make sure to book your hotel early as it's a no-camping festival.


4. Edmonton Folk Fest (8-11 August) - Alberta

Looking for something a little bit more low key this summer? Be sure to check out the Edmonton Folk Fest. With around 60,000 tickets sold every year, this festival boasts real and raw performances with a "relaxing on a grassy knoll" kind of feel.

Held in the heart of downtown, and kicking off at the beginning of August, this year's line-up includes heavy hitters like Ani Difranco, Blue Rodeo and Hozier. But be sure to buy your tickets early. This festival is one of the longest-running in Canada and sells out every year.


Concert

Image: Instagram, Winnipeg Folk Festival

5. Winnipeg Folk Festival (11-14 July)

This local favourite is one of Winnipeg's most anticipated festivals, boasting a tried and true ensemble of indie, folk and rock moguls. Main acts hitting the stage this year include Jason Mraz, Hawksley Workman, Half Moon Run, Mt. Joy, Sam Lewis, The Sheepdogs and Death Cab for Cutie.

And between sets? There's a ton of food trucks on site selling mouth-watering treats like homemade milkshakes, whales tails, BBQ brisket, butter chicken and tofu burgers. You can also pick up local craft beer at kiosks around the venue. And if you want a memento, stock up on merchandise and artisan goods at the Hand-Made Village.

This is a camp-in festival, so there's plenty to do outside of concert hours. Check out the many fauna-themed art installations in the Prairie Outdoor Exhibition. Visit the big-top for carnival-inspired games, or find a new costume at the Wardrobe Revival. And in the morning? Rise and shine with some restorative yoga.


6. Ever After (7-9 June) - Ontario

Calling all adventure-seekers, bass droppers and metal heads. If you're near Toronto at the beginning of June, then you won't want to miss out on Ever After. This three-day urban music festival is held at Bingemans Conference Centre and promises all forms of sensory overload, with everything from carnival rides, good vibes and water slides.

With a line-up that includes international EDM artists like Excision, Kill The Noise, Yellow Claw and more, this festival is worth every penny. Check out the #EAMF 2019 line-up and get your general admission tickets or VIP passes for the weekend of a lifetime.


Concert

Image: Facebook, Sound of Music

7. Sound of Music (8-16 June) - Ontario

This little music festival has exploded in size since its modest beginnings in 1980 as a marching band parade. These days, it's held along the waterfront in Burlington Ontario and boasts free and ticketed concerts drawing crowds as big as 200,000 people.

The music has an eclectic feel, with headliners ranging from Bush and Bedouin Soundclash to Hawksley Workman and Tim Baker. If you're looking for a more homegrown vibe, you can also check out the smaller DJs during club nights or at the Grande Festival Parade. But no matter what you're into – you can be sure to find something that floats your boat at this one of a kind festival.


DJ playing musicImage: Instagram, escapademf

8. Escapade (22-23 June) - Ontario

If you're new to the electronic scene and want a straight path into the biggest and best that the industry has to offer, then this is the festival for you. Held at TD Place in the middle of Ottawa, Escapade has been hosting some of the top names in the business for over 10 years. Each year, around 25,000 fans converge on the city for 3 days of pure EDM bliss.

This year's artists include DJ Snake, Zeds Dead, Martin Garrix, Kayzo, Keys N Krates and many more. Make sure you grab your tickets early to beat the rush and guarantee your spot with this long-running and high-calibre musical entourage.


9. Dreams Festival (29-30 June) - Ontario

Dreams festival takes place on Echo Beach in Toronto, along the water with views of the city skyline. It's a mesmerising expedition into the world of EDM, with global talents like Zedd, REZZ, Louis the Child and Don Diablo taking the stage every night.

Marketed as a luxury experience with a familiar feel, this festival takes place on three outdoor stages over two days and is a sensorial celebration of all that Toronto's music and arts community has to offer.


10. Ottawa Bluesfest (4-14 July) - Ontario

This little doozy of a music festival will celebrate its 25th birthday with hundreds of world-class acts on the docket. Taking place in the LeBreton Flats along the Ottawa River, the festival will run across five stages over 10 action-packed days.

The star-studded line-up is chock full of local and international talent. Household names include alt-J, Alexisonfire, Chvrches, Jessie Reyez, Kygo, Logic, Shakey Graves, Backstreet Boys, Snoop Dogg, The Devil Makes Three, The Trews and many, many, many more.

You should be able to grab anything you need on site (including drinks, merch and food) but be careful what you pack in as some items aren't allowed. The venue closes at 11pm on the dot, but don't worry! You can track down a sweet after party (or two) in the downtown core.


11. Veld Music Festival (3-4 August) - Ontario

Set in an urban venue with a-good-kind-of-grimy feel, Veld is a Toronto-based mega festival that runs out of Downsview Park every August. It draws a daily crowd of about 30,000 and boasts a killer line-up of EDM super swaggers like Kygo, Cardi B, Skrillex and Tiësto.

The only downside is there are no ins and outs – kind of like a rollercoaster. You just need to strap in, close your eyes and prepare yourself for the ride of a lifetime. But don't take too long to buy your tickets. They're bound to sell out quickly this year.


two guys playing instrumentsImage: Instagram, festivaljazzmtl

12. Montreal Jazz Festival (27 June - 6 July)

Founded in 1979, the Montreal Jazz Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year by hosting more than 600 concerts (with over 3,000 performers) across 20 stages.

Held in the heart of downtown and kicking off at the end of June, this year's line-up is an eclectic mix of artists from around the world, including the likes of Cha Wa, Biréli Lagrène, Mario Légaré and much, much, much more.

This festival attracts more than 2.5 million concert-goers over 10 days, and is world renowned in the jazz community. Most shows are free but some can cost upwards of $40 per person. Ticketed performances include the Bahamas, alt-J, Norah Jones, Bryan Adams and other household names that are more than worth the price tag.


ConcertInstagram: quebec-cite.com

13. Festival d'été (4-14 July)

Established in 1908, the Festival d'été is an all-out 11-day musical extravaganza that takes place in downtown Quebec City annually. Its main stage is one of the biggest in North America and is found in the historic Plains of Abraham.

This year's headliners include Slipknot, Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, alt-J, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and a Kygo/Diplo mash-up that's bound to make your head spin There are also hundreds of smaller performances spread across a dozen venues in the city, hosting the likes of Bahamas, July Talk, April Wine, The Offspring and much more. The best part is tickets are dirt cheap!


14. Osheaga (2-4 August) - Quebec

This local favourite is one of Canada's biggest festivals, boasting a line-up of indie, rap and pop moguls. The festival is divided into six main stages: Mountain, River, Tree, Green, Valley and Zone Piknic Electronik – each boasting a different genre of music.

From heavy drum and bass to new age folk to hip-hop and electro swing, there's room for just about every hat in the ring. And if you're wondering who's on the docket this year? The big names include Flume, Griz, Tame Impala, City and Colour, Childish Gambino, Hozier and The Lumineers (to name a few).


Guy singingImage: Facebook, Cavendish Beach Music

15. Cavendish Music Festival (5-7 July) - Prince Edward Island

If you're looking for a festival with a more outback country feel, then Cavendish is probably just the ticket. The annual festival draws crowds of about 60,000 people from all over the Maritimes, other parts of Canada and the US. It's an outdoor venue, with a boot-stompin' rustic feel that fits in perfectly with the long list of country crooners it hosts every year.

This year's line-up doesn't disappoint with names like Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Hunter Hayes, Russell Dickerson and Shawn Austin on the roster.


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