Spinning in an open field, dancing, laughing in the dark night to ACDC live. You struggle to record videos that will end up being too dark to see later but you’re feeling the beers you threw back a little earlier and could care less. You dance like no one is watching and bask in the glory of the fact that you are actually at Coachella, and this moment will last for the next three days, in a desert. Fast-forward to now—weather is reaching highs we hadn’t seen since summer ’15 and the highly anticipated festival line-ups start being announced. Festival season is upon us with more outdoor concerts than ever before. Toronto and it’s driving-distance towns collectively had a whopping 54 festivals last year some further away then others. This year more and more big artists grab headlines. It’s more than a social gathering. It’s a movement that will make history. So if you’re wanting to be a part of that history, you won’t want to miss these 10 festivals this summer.
Toronto Islands, Ontario
Long Weekend Mondays. May 24
With five dates this year, Electric Island is one of the best home-grown festivals of the season. Taking place at Hanlon’s Point on the Toronto Islands, it’s literally a hop, skip, and a five-minute ferry ride from the downtown core. Things get pretty wild into the night but it’s all in good fun. Everyone is just there for an epic dance party. Ferries come often enough but if convenience is more important that penny pinching, a water taxi is your best bet, taking people for ten dollars a head. Kick off the festival season in the city this summer with this killer line-up, Seth Troxler, Lee Burridge and Pan Pot are just a few of the amazing DJ’s that will be in attendance. For more information on pricing and available please check out their website.
June 9, 10, 11, 12
If you’re planning on doing a big name festival that’s worth a road trip, (an eight-hour road trip that is) then Bonnaroo is the festival for you. It’s in its 14th year and once you go you will be able to see why. Located in the windy city, it is one of those bucket list events that have made cultural history and summer 16’ will be no different. Headliners include Pearl Jam, Toronto’s very own Zed’s Dead, and a personal favourite Flosstradamus. Remember, this is only a small fraction of the acts, there truly is something for everyone at this festival and the scenery isn’t too shabby either. For more information on pricing and available please visit their website.
June 11, 12
A prominent U.K. festival made its way to the big smoke last year and it fell in love (duh). With it’s multiple stages you will have a great time bouncing around to various big name artists. Located at Woodbine Park if you went last year, it’ll be even better this year. Over 15 000 people attended, and this year you won’t want to be scrolling through your Instagram green with envy. Go! For more information on pricing and available please visit their website.
June 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
North by North East (NXNE) is the sister of the awesome SXSW they have in Austin and it’s right here at home! With Toronto artist’s killing it in 2015, more attention is being brought to Canadian artists with the help of The Weeknd, Drake, and the Beiber. This year, we’re definitely ready. Five days of 4am last call and concerts at almost every dive in town. You will fall in love with the city all over again. As a Toronto native, I have to admit that NXNE week is my favourite time of year. For more information on pricing and available please visit their website.
July 2, 3
Digital Dreams was cancelled last year due to weather concerns (insert sad face here) but that’s just the name of the game during festival season. This year it’s back and I’m sure they’re going to make up for it by making it better than ever. Close to home, the festival is at Ontario Place and it’s one of those big ones whose electric vibes ring into the night, (literally you could probably hear the beats from your backyard). Be a part of this electric energy, it’ll come right home with you. For more information on pricing and available please visit their website.
July 22, 23, 24
The most anticipated festival of the season, Wayhome is here and everyone knows it. Gaining momentum in their star-studded line-up, Wayhome is popping up everywhere. Take it as a sign from the festival gods, get your crew together and buy your tickets now, because they definitely won’t last. For more information on pricing and available please visit their website.
July 29, 30, 31
Radiohead is playing at Osheaga this year. That’s all I am going to say. Okay fine, I will say more. Then maybe a weekend in your favourite Canadian city (other than Toronto), Montreal. Yep, now I have definitely got you. For more information on pricing and available please visit their website.
August 1, 2
Like its Digital Dreams counter-part, Veld had all sorts of problems last year due to bad weather, not just light drizzle either. As Canadians the cold doesn’t bother us, but these thunder and lightning storms made it unattendable due to safety reasons. Which was really a shame because Veld is a great festival, in a great location. This year it’ll be back and with a vengeance, fighting for recognition amongst some pretty hefty competition. But, I have no doubt whatsoever that Veld will hold it’s own. For more information on pricing and available please visit their website.
Boots n’ Hearts
August 4, 5, 6, 7
Yeehaw! Boots n’ Hearts might be a country music festival, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a country music fan to enjoy it. It is by far the most “Woodstock” of the festivals I am speaking of. Go, camp out, listen to guitar by the fire and drink some beer. As an added bonus a love affair with a country girl or guy is never (ever) a bad thing. For more information on pricing and available please visit their website.
August 18, 19, 20, 21
Once again we have a very, country music festival. Havelock is historical for this festival, a very western feel to it. A true Canadian authentic experience. Headliners include Terri Clalrk, Scotty McCreery, Asleep at the Wheel, plus many many more! For more information on pricing and available please visit their website.
Photo by Bryan Reid courtesy of WayHome
Wendy is our resident Danforth expert and a copyeditor for the On the Danforth summer issue. She loves the smell of the airport, vodka martinis, and a good dance party. Follow her crazy life on Instagram.