Whatever your taste in music, there’s a festival in Toronto this summer that’ll suit your fancy. Grab your comfiest shoes (trust us, you’ll need them for dancing) and save the dates – Summer 2016 is a summer you’ll never forget.
It’s that time of year again, when we have a music festival to look forward to almost every weekend in the city, until we’re all in need of a break in August. Yes, Toronto is an incredible live music city, and we are most definitely spoiled with choice when it comes to getting our music on amongst large crowds in the summer heat.
While you might not be able to make it out to all these festivals this summer, these are your options. Choose wisely.
Canadian Music Week (CMW)
May 2 – 8th
CMW takes over the city for the first week of May, and if you’re bummed about NXNE ending their tradition of venue hopping, you can still get your fix running from venue to venue showing off your wristband here. Expect a variety of mostly local up-and-coming bands, with a few headliners (like Eagles of Death Metal) that you will need a separate ticket to see.
CBC Music Festival
CBC’s annual one day festival returns to Echo Beach with a solid lineup of Canadian favourites including Polaris Prize winner Tanya Tagaq, Hey Rosetta!, Alvvays, The New Pornographers and Tokyo Police Club.
June 4 – 5th
The most family friendly festival of the bunch, Field Trip’s strength comes in creating a positive experience for kids and their parents. It’s a solid excuse to spend the weekend at Fort York, even if you’re only interested in seeing Robyn.
June 11 – 12th
After last year’s rained out, yet still incredible inaugural Bestival on the Toronto Islands, I can’t wait to see how it changes this year at Woodbine Park. I doubt any of us ever expected to hear The Cure play a park in the Beaches. If you’re interested in attending a festival for the experience as much as the music, this is the one to choose. The European organizers do things very differently from the typical Canadian run festival.
North by Northeast (NXNE)
June 13 – 19th
After many were questioning if Toronto’s longest running music festival would even return for 2016, we learned it will – but it will be changing yet again. As noted, it will no longer be about venue hopping to catch as many bands as possible. Instead they will be taking over the Port Lands for a more traditional location based fest instead.
July 2 – 3rd
If electronic music and getting your dance on is your thing, you’re probably already loyal to Digital Dreams. Spend the long weekend at Ontario Place sweating with strangers to Bassnecter, Tiga and many more.
WayHome Music & Arts
July 22 – 24th
While technically not located in Toronto, if you want the full camping festival experience with the strongest lineup to be found in Ontario this summer, WayHome is the one to save up for. The short trip to Burl’s Creek Event Grounds is worth it even if just to see LCD Soundsystem reunite. But also, Arcade Fire, The Killers, Haim, M83, Wolf Parade, Mac Demarco, Kurt Vile, Stars, Phosphorescent, Black Mountain, Bahamas and even our 90s fave, Third Eye Blind.
July 29 – August 1st
Drake’s October’s Very Own Festival returns for a 7th year at Molson Amphitheatre and the Air Canada Centre as Future, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa join the lineup for his Views From The 6 summer tour.
VELD Music Festival
July 30 – 31st
If you’re willing to endure the sweaty summer subway and bus slog necessary to get up to Downsview Park and back home, you might consider going to VELD this year to see Deadmau5, Flume and the Chainsmokers do their thing.
Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF)
September 14 – 19th
While this Fort York based festival’s lineup has yet to be announced, it’s worth placing your bets on as TURF has consistently brought the strongest lineup of any of the downtown Toronto festivals. Run by Collective Concerts, they have the pull to bring in music legends like the Pixies, Violent Femmes, Wilco and Neutral Milk Hotel. Also – they are by far the only festival worth paying for VIP tickets.
Did we miss any music festivals happening in Toronto this summer? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.