10 Best Bets for Canadian Music Festivals

Green grass, blue skies, and big mountains — Live at Squamish. Photo credit: L@S Facebook page

Whether your passion is heavy metal, electronic, or country, Canada has got you covered this summer. Below we feature some of the “Best of the Fests” that the Great White North has to offer:

Live At Squamish
Squamish, British Columbia
August 21-22, 2011
Surrounded by mountains and forests, Live at Squamish is a two day camping festival that takes advantage of the stunning beauty of British Columbia. Multiple stages feature an eclectic lineup that includes Weezer, Metric, Girl Talk, and The John Butler Trio. Sounds fun — or as it’s described on their Facebook page: “Happy times in a big field with great music!”

MUTEK
Montreal, Quebec
June 1-5, 2011
The mission of MUTEK is to “create a sonic space that can support innovation in new electronic music and digital art.” What they’ve achieved in the last twelve years is one of the hottest electronic festivals in North America. Most of the venues are located in the Quartier des Spectacles district, easily reached by bike, subway, bus, and on foot.

It’s easy to get stoked with all the new bands at HPX. Photo Credit: HPX Facebook

Halifax Pop Explosion
Halifax, Nova Scotia
October 18-22, 2011
Since 1993, the non-profit HPX has been hooking up local talent with industry insiders along with introducing artists to Halifax audiences. The festival features 150 acts playing in 18 venues around the city.

Heavy MTL and Heavy T.O
Montreal and Toronto
July 23-24, 2011
The ultimate headbanger’s ball takes place at dual locations on the same weekend. It’s metal nirvana with a lineup that includes Anthrax, KISS, Godsmack, Disturbed, Slayer, and Rob Zombie. Better leave your hippie dress at home.

Pagoda Stage Enterance @ Shambhala. Photo Credit: Lefy – Mountain Eye

Shambhala Music Festival
Salmo, British Columbia
August 5-8, 2011
Taking place at the scenic Salmo River Ranch, Shambhala is a labor of love, free of corporate sponsorship, whose aim is to deliver an electronic festival for 10,000 of their closest friends. Their motto: “It’s all about the people on the dancefloor”.

North By Northeast (NXNE)
Toronto, Ontario
June 13-19, 2011
The heavyweight of Canadian festivals is the northern cousin of SXSW, and follows a similar strategy. Music, film, and art take place over a massive seven day stretch. With 650 bands and 50 panels scattered around the city, odds are you won’t find yourself bored.

The Big Valley Jamboree
Camrose, Alberta
July 28-31, 2011
The biggest names in country music swing tend to end up in Camrose on this 400 acre mini-village. If you need a break from the tunes, there’s a marketplace, a lumberjack show, slot machines, and even a rodeo.

O Canada! A couple of fans at Boonstock 2010. Photo credit: Boonstock Facebook and MT Kelly

Boonstock
Gibbons, Alberta
June 29-July 2, 2011
Boonstock calls itself “Canada’s biggest 4-day party”. We’ll back them up on that statement, as they happen to be one of the most popular Canadian festivals on this website. They also have the hottest street team in North America.

The Calgary Stampede
Calgary, Alberta
July 8-17, 2011
There is no event in the world like The Calgary Stampede. “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” is a combination music festival, rodeo, and exhibition that takes place over an astounding ten days. Huge headliners, cowboys, and plenty of beers make this event something you don’t just attend…you survive it.

Born during a sweaty, backstage, Bonnaroo downpour, the Chief Festival Junkie's mission in life is to dance, write, and travel to every great festival that this wide world has to offer. While his identity remains a mystery, you may have already met him, probably when he helped himself to your party favors.

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