A rough guide to Toronto summer music festivals

So many festivals, so little summer.

The number of music fests on the Toronto (and area) concert calendar for the next four months is absurd. We lost count over here some time ago.

More about summer festivals:

So, yes, while the following breakdown is far from complete, it should give you a rough idea of what to expect from some of the bigger and better-known festivals on the horizon.

Plan your summer accordingly.


June 6-7, Fort York and Garrison Common, fieldtriplife.com

MUST-SEES: Alabama Shakes, My Morning Jacket, the War on Drugs, Father John Misty, Dan Mangan and Blacksmith, Arkells, Purity Ring

THE VIBE: Family-friendly downtown-hipstery indie-rockery presided over by the folks at beloved Toronto indie label Arts & Crafts. Bikes, beards, plaid, gourmet food-truck offerings. You know the score.

EXTRAS: Kids under 12 get in free and have access to a play area replete with glow-in-the-dark hula hoops, bouncy castles and the like. The food also tends to be excellent.

THE PRICE: $143.50 for a weekend pass, $235 for VIP access. $89.75 for a single-day ticket, $148.50 for VIP access.


June 12-13, Hanlan’s Point on Toronto Island, bestival.ca

MUST-SEES: Florence and the Machine, Nas, Caribou, Banks, SBTRKT, Jamie xx, Flume, Owen Pallett

THE VIBE: Hippie-dippy, artsy-fartsy indie/rave-y, inspired by the bent shenanigans of the original U.K. Bestival on the Isle of Wight.

EXTRAS: An inflatable church wherein you can marry a friend, a Bollywood-themed area, a dress-up area, a costume parade, general whimsy.

THE PRICE: $149.50 for a weekend pass, $77.77 for a single-day ticket. Plus service fees and ferry rides.


July 24-26, Burl’s Creek, Oro-Medonte, wayhome.com

MUST-SEES: Neil Young and Promise of the Real, Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith, St. Vincent, Run the Jewels, Hozier, Alt-J, Modest Mouse, Django Django, Courtney Barnett, Viet Cong, F—ed Up

THE VIBE: The celebrated Bonnaroo camp-out comes north from Manchester, Tenn., to a radically revamped outdoor event space in central Ontario. And spares no expense in the process.

EXTRAS: Camping, baby! Camping!

THE PRICE: Weekend passes — including tent camping and parking — currently available at the Tier 3 rate of $249.99, Tier 4 passes available at $289.99 when those sell out. Numerous upgrades available, including RV camping at $299.99, VIP access at $599.99 and a super-duper VIP “glamping for two” pass (with plush tent, memory-foam mattress and concierge!) at $2,499.99.


Aug. 1-2, Downsview Park, veldmusicfest.com

MUST-SEES: Deadmau5, Kaskade, Steve Aoki, A$AP Rocky, Hardwell, Above & Beyond, DVBBS, Carnage

THE VIBE: Corporate rave in a big field north of the city, this one a little more keyed toward the mainstream tastes of the recent North American “EDM” boom.

EXTRAS: Elaborate production. “Bros” aplenty. Hometown deadmau5 throwdown.

THE PRICE: Tiered ticketing starts at $154 and tops out at $244 for weekend passes. VIP access starts at $256 and tops out at $304.


Sept. 19-20, Downsview Park, riotfest.org/toronto/

MUST-SEES: Alexisonfire, Wu-Tang Clan, Rancid, Motorhead, Gwar, Tyler the Creator, Thurston Moore, Eagles of Death Metal, Coheed & Cambria

THE VIBE: A punk-spirited Warped Tour for grown-ups imported from Chicago.

EXTRAS: Indie marketplace selling cool duds, jewelry and objets d’art.

THE PRICE: $99.98 “early bird” tickets sold out. New price to come when next round of performers is announced on June 16.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a reply