Your Guide to Canada’s Hottest Festivals This August
It may be August, but the summer is only getting started for music lovers. The last month of the season is set to kick off some of the best festivals in the country. Dozens of incredible musical events will be hosted coast to coast, bringing a variety of homebred artists and international musicians to stages all over Canada. It doesn’t matter which genre is your favourite, there’s something for everyone. If you find yourself at a loss for what to do this August, check out the following festivals and see which one calls to you.
Perhaps no other major city in the country knows how to throw a party like Montreal. Known unofficially as the “City of Festivals”, it plays host to a huge list of outdoor events all year round. Most notably is their Just for Laughs Festival, but they also close down the streets for a variety of music-based festivals. For those who like to head bang, consider the 8th annual HEAVY MONTREAL. Set to take place at Parc Jean-Drapeau as well as several venues across the city over the August 6th weekend, festival-goers can expect to see the world’s most popular heavy metal bands. The line-up includes throw backs to the greats, such as MötleyCrüe, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, and Slayer, while keeping it fresh with current bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Children of Bodom, Deftones, and System of a Down. Tickets, which include general admission and gold passes, are still available on the festival’s website.
It may not be considered a major city by any standards, but Bowmanville manages to keep up with the likes of Montreal and Toronto with its annual Boots and Hearts Festival. Country music lovers will know it’s the biggest festival of its kind in the entire country. Last year it drew 40,000 people and it will only grow larger in 2016. The rural fields of Ontario’s Green Belt are a perfect setting for this three-day camping and music event, starting on August 4th. Headliners include Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Chase Rice, and Dierks Bentley, but concert goers can expect Canadian musicians like Alan Doyle, Lindsay Ell, and Jason Blaine too. Tickets including a campsite for the entire event are notoriously quick to sell out, so check out the festival’s official website to see if any remain.
Not many festivals can share their space with a cattle ranch, which is exactly what sets Shambhala apart from many of the other electronic music festivals in the country. Set amongst the 500-acres of Salmo River Ranch in Southeastern BC, Shambhala concert goers will dance, party, and camp in a basin nestled in the Kootenay Rockies. As one of the largest and longest running electronic music events in the Canada (2016 marks its 19th year) it has garnered a lot of attention. With that attention comes an impressive lineup, including Alunageorge, Felix da Housecat, Questlove, and Marshmello.
Canada’s a big country, with 9, 306 kilometres spanning coast to coast. Chances are you aren’t located anywhere near Montreal, Bowmanville, or Salmo. But don’t worry. These are only examples of some of the festivals happening in August — it isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. There’s probably something a lot closer than you think. Google is a great resource, as is a reputable music store in your city. They aren’t just a source for the best music instruments; they can also help you learn more about special events happening in your area. A Canadian music store is an excellent place to unearth some of the lesser known festivals and events you may not immediately find after a cursory Internet search. And it never hurts to see the newest additions to their inventory, in case you want to emulate some of the headliners of your favourite festival.
Make the most of the dog days of summer, even if you can’t go to HEAVY MONTREAL, Boots and Hearts, or Shambhala. Check out what’s happening in your area this summer, and snag the last of the tickets for the top festivals you think you might be able to make the season.