The glorious northern lands of poutine, maple syrup, and hockey, boasts a year-round roster of music festivals that are worth the trip. From the stunning landscapes of British Columbia to the hip downtown festivals of Toronto and Montreal, there’s a festival in Canada that suits your style. Check out our picks below and for even more inspiration, head over to our full Canada music festival calendar.
Osheaga started as a vision to bring a giant European style festival to Canada. It’s safe to say they've succeeded. Osheaga consistently brings a world-class lineup to the shores of Ile Sainte-Helene during the height of summer. It’s become so popular that organizers have added a second weekend of just metal (Heavy Montreal) and a third weekend of EDM (IleSoniq).
Featured Artists: Bon Iver, BROCKHAMPTON, Caribou, Charli XCX, Foo Fighters, Kendrick Lamar, Kraftwerk, Lewis Capaldi, LIZZO, Of Monsters and Men, Rex Orange County, Third Eye Blind, Tove Lo, Vampire Weekend
Photo Credit: Alexanne Brisson
Shambhala Music Festival 2020
At this point, Canada’s favorite DIY festival lives in a class by itself. Consistently chosen by fans as their favorite festival of the summer, this five day camping marathon features a wide array of music and art set admist the beautiful BC backcountry. It’s not a surprise that Shambhala is leading the way as a transformational festival.
Photo Credit: Chuck Manley
North by Northeast (NXNE) 2020
Canada’s answer to Austin’s SXSW follows a similar recipe – take hundreds of artists, mix with a huge industry conference, add comedy, art, and film to produce an epic sized showcase festival. Make sure to hit the free shows at Yonge-Dundas Square which have featured performances by St. Vincent, Sleigh Bells, The National, DEVO, and The Flaming Lips.
Photo Credit: NXNE
Sled Island 2020
This annual five day music and arts festival from Calgary brings in more than 300 artists, comedians, and filmmakers in more than 30 venues across the city. Each year, Sled Island selects a guest curator to help set the tone and direction of the current edition. Past curaters include Peaches, Andrew W.K., and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Photo Credit: Michael Tan
Dreams Festival 2020
Wake up! It’s time for the annual Dreams Festival on East Island in Toronto. The two-day EDM bash dances up a sandstorm on Echo Beach along with smaller stages tucked around the venue. Celebrate the Canada Day holiday weekend in style at this 19+ event.
Photo Credit: Dreams Festival
Bass Coast 2020
Don’t call it a rave. Bass Coast is a DIY indie electronic festival that thrives on the natural beauty of its British Columbia location and strong roster of local and international talent. This festival encourages artists to experiment and “share their hard work without fear of judgment”. The boutique event has cemented its reputation as a home for creatives with incredible art installments, panel discussions, and a thoughtful venue layout.
Photo Credit: Bass Coast
Winnipeg Folk Festival 2020
Back in 1974, the idea of setting up a folk festival in the urban prairie of Winnipeg may have seemed like a laughable idea, but more than 40 years of the Winnipeg folk festival have long since silenced the critics. With 60,000 annual visitors to the early July festival, the organization has grown large enough to bring concerts and events to the region all year long.
Canada’s capital city of Ottawa comes alive every June when the Escapade festival drops in downtown. The electronic festival mixes together trance, techno, and house for a full weekend of artists that have included Eric Prydz, Kaskade, Krewella, Above & Beyond, Avicii, Afrojack, Excision, and Calvin Harris.
Photo Credit: Escapade Festival
Ottawa Bluesfest 2020
Winning the title for “festival that sounds least like its name”, the Ottawa Bluesfest hits almost every genre even including a little bit of blues. Starting as a small fest over twenty years ago, they have grown exponentially to a ten-day mult-stage event that’s one of the highlights of the Canadian summer.
Photo Credit: Steve Gerecke
Future Forest 2020
Head deep in the forest of New Brunswick for the flashing lights and steady beats of Future Forest. The 200-acre site is eight kilometers from the nearest paved road, which means plenty of privacy for a full-blown weekend of electronic revelry.
Photo Credit: Future Forest
Chasing Summer 2020
The largest outdoor EDM event in Western Canada returns to Alberta for this two-day annual electronic fest in August. Take advantage of the last days of summer to party at the Max Bell Centre in Calgary and dance from sunrise to sundown with this jam-packed lineup.
Photo Credit: Chasing Summer
Big Valley Jamboree 2020
Started in 1993, The Big Valley Jamboree has become a country music institution in Camrose, Alberta. Settle in for three days of hard partying with 75,000 other country music festies -- and make sure to stay in the campgrounds where the real show is happening.
Boots and Hearts 2020
Country music heads north when Canadians turn out in droves for the Boots and Hearts Festival in Toronto. Taking place at the Burl's Creek Event Grounds, there’s plenty of room to camp in between the astonishing lineup of world-class country artists that visit the festival each year.
Photo Credit: Boots & Hearts Festival
MUTEK Montreal 2020
September 8-11, 2020
The Montreal-based MUTEK is dedicated to the promotion of electronic music and the digital arts with a focus on discovery, exclusive appearances, and artistic ingenuity. Their unique take on this festival genre has led to editions around the world with each year seeing MUTEK embark on creatively entertaining directions.
Photo Credit: MUTEK
Pop Montreal 2020
September 23-27, 2020
Wonderfully weird and beautifully under-appreciated, Pop Montreal is your best excuse to visit the city in the fall. Venues are scattered across the city from the largest clubs to unique venues (parks and cathedrals) to a single dude singing in the back of a vintage clothing store. And when you need a break from the crowds and music, it’s easy to slip into one of Montreal’s amazing restaurants or bars.
Photo Credit: Katie Mendez for Music Festival Wizard
Salmon Arm Roots & Blues 2020
Salmon Arm, BC
Get back to nature with this 25+ year old festival located on picturesque Shuswap Lake in British Columbia. The non-profit Roots & Blues Festival features a culturally diverse lineup, artist experiences, and daytime workshops.
Photo Credit: Salmon Arm Roots & Blues