Best Fests: Canada Music Festivals

Canadian Music Fest 2015

May 1-10, 2015

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.

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Photo Credit: Canadian Music Fest

North by Northeast (NXNE) 2015

June 12-21, 2015

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.

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Photo Credit: NXNE

Amnesia Rockfest 2015

June 18-21, 2015

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!)

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Photo Credit: Amnesia Rockfest

Quebec City Summer Festival 2015

July 9-19, 2015

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!”

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Photo Credit: Renaud Philippe

Ottawa Bluesfest 2015

July 9-19, 2015

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.

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Photo Credit: Steve Gerecke

Pemberton 2015

July 16-19, 2015

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.

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Photo Credit: Pemberton Music Festival

Center of Gravity 2015

July 24-26, 2015

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.

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Photo Credit: Center of Gravity

Osheaga 2015

July 31- August 2, 2015

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).

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Photo Credit: Vito Valentinetti for Music Festival Junkies

Heavy Montreal 2015

August 7-9, 2015

Like its more mainstream counterpart Osheaga, Heavy Montreal channels the vibe of the best open air European metal festivals. Maybe it’s the sunshine, maybe it’s Canadians, but the crowd had to be one of the friendliest crowds we’ve ever partied with.

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Photo Credit: Vito Valentinetti for Music Festival Junkies

Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

August 7-9, 2015

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.

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Photo Credit: Squamish Valley Music Festival

Shambhala 2015

August 7-10, 2015

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.

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Photo Credit: Chuck Manley for Music Festival Junkies

Pop Montreal 2015

September 16-20, 2015

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.

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Photo Credit: Katie Mendez for Music Festival Junkies