Best Fests: Canada Music Festivals

Canadian Music Week 2016

May 4-14. 2016


The largest music festival in Canada boasts 900 bands in over 60 venues for five nights of music. With a wristband running well under $100, CMF is your best bet of the year for the most music for the least amount of cash. Plan ahead — this is one of those festivals that you’ll need a schedule to see everything.


Festival Hub:

Photo Credit: Canadian Music Fest

North by Northeast (NXNE) 2016

June 15-19, 2016


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.


Festival Hub:

Photo Credit: NXNE

Amnesia Rockfest 2016

June 23-26, 2016


Started ten years ago by a seventeen year old kid who just wanted bring in a bunch of sick bands to his tiny town, Amnesia Rockfest has grown into one of the largest rock festivals in Canada. The tenth anniversary will feature a lineup curated by Tim Armstrong of Rancid and Fat Mike From NOFX. Camping on this festival is fully recommended and takes place along a river (you can even park your boat!)


Festival Hub:

Featured Artists: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Credit: Amnesia Rockfest

Center of Gravity 2016

July 8-10, 2016


Mixing a music festival and sports (and bikinis) is a winning combination for this festival in Kelowana, British Columbia. EDM and hip-hop artists play against a backdrop of beaches, volleyball, wakeboarding, and mountain biking professional atheletes.


Festival Hub:

Photo Credit: Center of Gravity

Ottawa Bluesfest 2016

July 7-17, 2016


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.


Festival Hub:

Featured Artists: , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Credit: Steve Gerecke

Quebec City Summer Festival 2016

July 7-17, 2016


For those of you seeking a music festival and a taste of old world charm, check out the mammoth Quebec City Summer Festival. Stretching for an astounding eleven days, historic Quebec City is overrun by an astounding 1.5 million fans. There’s plenty of other activities happening in Canada’s French-iest city. As they say on their website: “During the Festival, the whole city is celebrating!”


Festival Hub:

Featured Artists:

Photo Credit: Renaud Philippe

Pemberton Music Festival 2016

July 16-19, 2016


The new kid on the block (last year was their first), the now annual Pemberton Festival returns bringing that mega-festival vibe to western Canada. Reviews were strong for their debut year so we’re definitely stoked to see what they bring to the sequel.


Festival Hub:

Featured Artists: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Credit: Pemberton Music Festival

Osheaga 2016

July 29-31, 2016


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).


Festival Hub:

Featured Artists: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Credit: Vito Valentinetti for Music Festival Wizard

Heavy Montreal 2016

August 5-7, 2016


Like its more mainstream counterpart Osheaga, Heavy Montreal channels the vibe of the best open air European festivals but in metal form. Maybe it’s the sunshine, maybe it’s Canadians, but the crowd has to be one of the friendliest crowds we’ve ever partied with. Simply one of the best destinations in North America for fans of rock, punk, and metal.


Festival Hub:

Featured Artists: , , , ,

Photo Credit: Vito Valentinetti for Music Festival Wizard

Squamish Valley Music Festival 2016

August 5-7, 2016


Wide open spaces, mountains, and music all come together at the Squamish Valley Music Festival. The eclectic lineup that features everyone from well known headliners to local Canadian talent. Pack a tent and head north from Vancouver to one of the prettiest venues in Canada.


Festival Hub:

Photo Credit: Squamish Valley Music Festival

Shambhala Music Festival 2016

August 5-8, 2016


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.


Festival Hub:

Photo Credit: Chuck Manley for Music Festival Wizard

Pop Montreal 2016

September 21-25, 2016


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.


Festival Hub:

Photo Credit: Katie Mendez for Music Festival Wizard