concerts2011




Many of the most popular music festivals are located on scenic sites along the waterfront. Among them is Summerfolk, shown here in Owen Sound on the shores of Georgian Bay. You'll find that the majority of music festivals in Ontario are family-friendly, so you can plan your holidays around your favourite concert tours. (Photo courtesy Georgian Bay Folk Society/Summerfolk)


Get your dancing shoes on and grab the sunscreen:
Ontario's music festival season bigger and better than ever


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BY MYNEWWATERFRONTHOME.COM

Whether you love quiet jazz under the stars, indie rock with your fireworks or country classics under the sun, you can find what you’re looking for on the waterfront in Ontario.   Blues. Jazz. Country. Folk. Celtic. Indie rock. Symphony. Electronic dance music.  

Take your pick. Summer is music festival season in Ontario, so mark your calendars. There’s something for everyone. And several of the concerts are free of charge, which is one more reason to celebrate.  

Again this year, the most popular festivals are those that serve up music in a waterfront location. So we’re concentrating on these events, with a few non-waterfront events thrown in for good measure.  

Check out our list — we start with the “various dates” heading, followed by monthly concerts  — so you can plan your entire summer going from one concert to another!  

P.S.  If we’ve missed a music festival in your village, town or city featuring well-known recording artists, please let us know and we’ll add it to our list.   

  

VARIOUS DATES

IlluminaAqua
Welland
May 20-Sept. 2  

Location:
Merritt Park Amphitheatre, 115 King St., on the waterfront in Welland.  

About:
IlluminAqua is a unique blend of music, fire, and fountains all set on the waters of the Old Welland Canal. The monthly concerts take place on a floating stage surrounded by floating fire pods as concert-goers gather around a waterside stone-stepped amphitheatre. The outdoor festival features season packages, general admission seating, food vendors, wine and beer gardens.  

Performers:

Steven Page, Matt Andersen, Niagara Symphony with Elton Lammie, Molly Johnson, Ashley MacIsaac.


Little Lake Musicfest

Peterborough
June 25-Aug. 31  

Location:
Del Crary Park, off George Street on the banks of Little Lake in downtown Peterborough.  

About:
The festival, now entering its 25th season, is unique in that it offers free admission to all performances (you can help pay for the talent by purchasing raffle tickets). Bring a chair and enjoy music from local, regional and international performers! With its easily accessible location, you can arrive by car, bus, water taxi or boat.  

Performers:

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, Peterborough Pop Ensemble, Keith Burton’s Footloose Band, Steven Page, Local Talent Showcase, Tara Oram, Central Band of the CanadianForces, The Music in Me Variety Show, Serena Ryder, J.P. Cormier, Jason McCoy, Dave Carroll, Jim Witter, Kruger Brothers, Chilliwack, Freddy Vette & The Flames, Stephen Kabakos, Alyssa Reid, Faber Drive.      

   

JUNE

Waterfront Blues
Toronto
June 3-5  

Location:
Woodbine Park, Lake Shore Boulevard East in Toronto’s Beach district.  

About:
Formerly The Distillery Blues Festival, the event features a musical lineup of well-established acts and emerging talent. Best of all, it’s all free!  

Performers:

Scott McCord and the Bonafide Truth, Gary Kendall Band with guest Chuck Jackson, Harrison “Sweet Taste” Kennedy, Rick Taylor, Gina Sicilia, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Larry McCray, Curtis Salgado, Erin McCallum, Rick Fines & Suzie Vinnick, Johnny Rawls, Teeny Tucker.    



1000 Islands Jazz Festival
Brockville
June 10-18  

Location:
The Main Stage concerts are at the Brockville Arts Centre downtown, while the heritage series concerts are at various nearby intimate venues including Tait’s Bakery, the Green Door Bed & Breakfast and Fulford Place mansion.  

About:
Staged in intimate venues, the 1000 Islands Jazz Festival, named the Best Small Jazz Festival in Canada, is now in its 11th year.  

Performers:

Alex Cuba, Emilie-Claire Barlow, The Nylons and more.



Sound of Music Festival
Burlington
June 16-19  

Location:
Waterfront at Downtown Burlington (formerly Spencer Smith Park), on Lake Ontario in downtown Burlington.  

About:

The popular festival features four days of free music, with everything from jazz to rock to folk and blues, country, Latin, Celtic and children’s entertainment. The concerts are spread out over 10 performance areas along the picturesque waterfront and throughout downtown Burlington. Along with free music, there will be plenty of food vendors and a crafter’s marketplace featuring the works of local artisans.  

Performers:

Ariana Gillis, Barra MacNeils, Bedouin Soundclash, Chic Gamine, Crash Karma, DEVO, Emerson Drive, Gentlemen Husbands, Harlan Pepper, Hollerado, Jimmy Rankin, Ladies of the Canyon, Le Vent du Nord, Luke Doucet and the White Falcon, Lynn Miles, Men Without Hats, Michael Kaeshammer, Mighty Popo, Monkey Junk, Paper Lions, Sandman Viper Command, Shane Koyczan, Stereos, Sultans of String, The Balconies, The Creepshow, The Heartbroken, The Nylons, The Reason, The Respectables, The Sadies, The Salads, The Stanfields, Wooden Sky, These Kids Wear Crowns, Tokyo Police club, Yukon blonde.      


Mississauga Waterfront Festival
Port Credit
June 17-19  

Location:

Memorial Park, Lakeshore Road, where the Credit River meets Lake Ontario.  

About:
Voted one of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals seven years in a row, the festival is hailed for presenting the best in Canadian and international talent. There’s also a children’s stage and a Family Fun Village offering everything from stilt walkers and fire-eaters to water shows, family carnival, interactive sports activities, unique crafters and vendors and, of course, lots of food.    

Performers:
Spirit of the West, Steven Page, Bad Company’s Brian Howe, The Beatles Experience.


TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival
Ottawa
June 23-July 3  

Location:

Confederation Park, Elgin Street, on the banks of the Rideau Canal in downtown Ottawa.  

About:

This festival began in 1980 and continues strong in downtown Ottawa. Bring a chair and enjoy innovative music from around the world at Confederation Park and four indoor downtown venues. Also features a Youth Series.  

Performers:

Ana Moura, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, Briane Browne Trio, Caridad Cruz, Chet Doxas Quartet, Christine Fagan, Coeur de Pirate, Elise Letourneau & Capital Vox Jazz Choir, Craig Pedersen Quartet, Daniel Lanois, Darcy James, Elliott Brood, Elvis Costello & the Impostors, Francois Bourassa Quartet, Jacek Kochan Quartet, Jaffa Road, Jaga Jazzist, James Cotton, Jaron Freeman-Fox, Jayme Stone, Jill Barber, k.d. lang, Kelly Craig Sextet, Laila Biali Trio, Lee Fields, Los Gringos, Lucky Peterson, Marianne Trudel Septet, Mark McLean, Matt Andersen, Mike Essoudry, Ohbijou, Paco de Lucia, Pink Martini, Return to Forever IV, Robert Fontaine Quartet, Ruby Jean, SHAD, Shooglenifty, Soulive, Steve Groves and Daniel Ko, Back-Talk Organ Trio + 1, The Belle Brigade, Central Band of the Canadian Forces, PepTides, Youssou Ndour.  
      

JULY 

Canada Day in the Capital
Ottawa
July 1  

Location:
Parliament Hill lawns  

About:

Canada’s birthday celebrations feature live music from Canada’s top performers, birthday cake and fireworks. This year on July 1, come early to grab your spot to watch royal newlyweds Will and Kate, who will be in town on their first overseas trip as a married couple. Featured performers in 2010 included Alex Cuba, Amelia Curran, Barenaked Ladies, Hey Rosetta! Free admission.  

Performers:
To be announced.   
  

Red, White & Vinyl Festival
Toronto
July 1  

Location:
Woodbine Park, Lake Shore Boulevard East in Toronto’s Beach district.  

About:
Billed as Toronto’s largest fireworks display, the festival, presented by Vinyl 95.3 radio, also features live entertainment, a disco dance party, beer tent and family fun zone. Free admission.  

Performers:
Dan Hill, Brass Transit, Alannah Myles, Andy Kim, Lighthouse.        


Cisco Bluesfest
Ottawa
July 5-17  

Location:
LeBreton Flats, a large open area on the banks of the Ottawa River, on the edge of downtown, adjacent to the Canadian War Museum.  

About:
Bluesfest is one of Canada’s largest outdoor music festivals, attracting more than 350,000 fans in 2010 alone. Organizers are known for booking some of the world’s best performers — from blues to gospel to rock and everything in between — to its six stages, including past headliners Van Morrison and B.B. King. Along with great music, there’s food booths with fare from around the world, with beer and wine to wash it down. The festival also features an artisan village, an eclectic mix of the region’s most talented clothing, jewelry and craft vendors.  

Performers:
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Soundgarden, Bedouin Soundclash, Ben Harper, Infected Mushroom, Steve Miller Band, Cage the Elephant, The Black Keys, Dennis Coffey, The Tragically Hip, Justin Nozuka, Peter Frampton, A Perfect Circle, John Fogerty, Miguel, My Morning Jacket, Jennifer Hudson, Buddy Guy, Arkells, Billy Talent, Theory of a Deadman, The Tea Party, Tim Robbins, Blue Rodeo, Ganga Giri, Final Flash, Braids, Alex Cuba, Court Yard Hounds, Cheap Trick, Death Cab for Cutie, Girls with Guitars, John Primer, Jennifer Hudson and more.        


Rogers Bayfest
Sarnia
July 6-10, July 15-16  

Location:
Centennial Park, located on the waterfront off Front Street in downtown Sarnia  

About:
Event began in 1999 with a single performance and is now a two-weekend bash, with various genres of music — from country, to rock and pop to R&B and funk — for all ages. The festival is so big that organizers even had to buy themselves a giant stage — it’s 90 feet fully assembled. Camping is available beside the Sarnia Bay Marina, just a short walk to the festival site. According to organizers, Bayfest has done wonders for Sarnia and local communities, with more then 75,000 people from 12 of Canada’s provinces and territories, 27 states and great distances overseas in attendance in 2010 alone.  

Performers:
KISS, Marianas Trench, Tokyo Police Club, Steve Miller Band, The Trews, INXS, Theory of a Deadman, The Tea Party, The Tragically Hip, Joel Plaskett, Arkells, Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry, George Canyon, Dry County, Lady Antebellum, Rodney Atkins, Aaron Pritchett.      


Mariposa Folk Festival
Orillia
July 8-10  

Location:
Tudhope Park, off Atherley Road on the shores of Lake Couchiching.   About: Mariposa is renowned for its wide range of folk/roots artists and performances of every kind on its nine stages. There’s also a pub tent, an artisans’ village featuring unique handcrafted works including jewelry and musical instruments, children’s activity area, great food and interactive workshops. For those who like to sleep outdoors, there’s a camping area with free shuttle to and from the festival site.  

Performers:
Emmylou Harris, Peter Yarrow, Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band, Lunch at Allen’s, John McDermott, Ron Hynes, Garnet Rogers, Adonis Puentes, Bob Wiseman, Idlers, Elisapie Isaac, Yukon Blonde, The Beauties, Reid Jamieson, Yeshe, Daniel Champagne, Del Barber, Michael Pickett, Jim Bryson and the Weakerthans Band, David Celia, Wendell and Wheatley, Marie-Lynn Hammond, Irish Mythen, Jaron Freeman-Fox and the Opposite of Everything, Amelia Curran, David Myles, Richard Knechtel, Eh?! 


Cicada Fest
Port Dalhousie
July 8-10  

Location:
Henley Island, off Main Street, in Port Dalhousie (St. Catharines).  

About:
Niagara Region’s three-day festival serves up Texas-style music under a canopy of tall oak trees surrounded by the waters of Richardson's Creek and Martindale Pond on Henley Island. Touring performers from across Canada, the United States and Britain share two stages with some of the Niagara Region’s finest songwriters and performers. Past performers have included Julian Fauth, Ariana Gillis, The Dust Devils and C.R. Avery.  

Performers:

To be announced.            


Bluesfest International

Windsor
July 15-17  

Location:
Festival Plaza, on the banks of the Detroit River in downtown Windsor.  

About:
Started in Windsor in 1995 as a big music street party on Ouellette Avenue, the city’s main street.  The party has since moved to the riverfront and has grown by adding London as a sister festival. Bring your lawnchairs down to the Detroit River. There’s plenty of food and spirits on tap to go with the blues, with local, regional and international performers on tap.    

Performers:

Scott Holt, Smokin’ Joe Kubek/Bnois King, Tim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery, Pasman Supersession, Ten Years Ago, Steven Page, Girls with Guitars, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Sweet Willie Tea, Alto Reed’s Motor City Allstars, Texas Scratch, Homemade Jamz’ Band, Rusty Wright Band, Measured Chaos.    


Stewart Park Festival
Perth
July 15-17  

Location:
Stewart Park, off Gore Street near the shores of the Tay River in downtown heritage Perth.  

About:
Funded through local businesses, the festival offers free outdoor concerts, with the music continuing in the afterhours in the restaurants and pubs of downtown Perth. Along with the music, the festival attracts the best food and artisan vendors in the area, with everything from photography to furniture and jewelry on offer. Donations at the gate are welcome.  

Performers:
Lynn Miles, Arrogant Worms, The Spades, Mighty Popo, Souljazz Orchestra, Suzie Vinnick and Rick Fines, Jadea Kelly, Jorge Miguel and more.      


Beaches International Jazz Festival

Toronto
July 15-24  

Location:
Woodbine Park (July 15-17), Lake Shore Boulevard East in Toronto’s Beach district.
Queen Street East (July 21-23) for two kilometres from Woodbine to Beech.
Kew Gardens (July 23-24), between Queen Street East and the boardwalk in the Beach district.  

About:

This is the 23rd annual event, so you know this festival is a winner. Multiple stages in three locations feature free concerts, including up-and-coming performers. The StreetFest portion of the festival showcases the finest in Big Band, Swing, Dixieland, Smooth, Post-Bop, Afro-Cuban, Fusion, Funk, R&B and Soul sounds that Toronto has to offer.   

Performers:
Jason Wilson, Carole Pope, Luis Mario Ochoa & Cimarron, Anne Lindsay, Braithwaite & Whiteley, Yoel Diaz Quartet, Raoul & the Big Time Big Band, Planet Earth, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Yiannis Kapoulas, Terry Gillespie, Kal David & the Real Deal featuring Laurie Bono, Andy Kim, Pavlo, Marc Jordan & Amy Sky, Duke Robillard Band, Piena Libre, Kiesza, Boxcar Boys, Rockit 88 Band, Lionel Young Band, Red Baraat and more.        


Kempenfest
Barrie
July 29-Aug. 1  

Location:

Kempenfelt Bay waterfront in downtown Barrie.  

About:
Kempenfest is billed as one of Canada’s largest outdoor arts and crafts shows, but there’s also plenty more happening on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay, including lots of live music. For 2011, a secondary stage has been added at Centennial Beach — the Main Stage is on the South Shore — featuring indie rock shows. It’s all free from noon to 4 p.m., with a $5 cover at night. You’ll also find antiques, arts and crafts, food, booze and a children’s village. Look for after-parties in downtown Barrie.  

Performers:

Sloan, Jim Cuddy, Brett Caswell and the Marquee Rose, Deric Ruttan, The Martels, Christopher Dallo, The Junction, Dave Thomson, Dinosaur Bones, Fox Jaws, Paso Mino, Cuff the Duke, Zeus and more.    

 

AUGUST

 
Manitoulin Country Fest V
Little Current, Manitoulin Island
Aug. 4-7  

Location:

Low Island Park, north side, with stage facing LaCloche Mountains.  

About:

Billed as one of the few all-Canadian festivals, this event was nominated in 2009 and 2010 for Festival of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards. Along with great music, the festival, also billed as a family event, features a beer garden, free kids’ activities, food and clothing vendors, free parking and shuttle bus service.

Performers:

The Wilsons, Tara Oram, Jason Blaine, Amanda Wilkinson, One More Girl, Dean Brody, Jason McCoy, Six West, Jamie Warren, Tom Jackson, Crystal Shawanda, George Canyon.      


Wolfe Island Music Festival
Marysville, Wolfe Island
Aug. 5-6  

Location:

Saturday’s main concert site, on the grounds of the Wolfe Island Community Centre, is about two blocks from the ferry docks in Marysville, with nearby bars hosting performers on the Friday.  

About:

Held near the community centre, the festival is known for its indie music acts and attracts about 1,500 visitors each year. The festival also features food, beer and a vendors’ village all day Saturday, when gates open at noon. Limited camping is available with pre-registration. Wolfe Island is a free 20-minute ferry ride from downtown Kingston.  

Performers:
Great Lake Swimmers, The Weather Station, Paul Langlois, Greg Ball, Sleuth Bears, Bader Lane Quartet, Rich Aucoin, Cheery Chapstick, Stars, Buck 65, plants and animals, P.S. I love you, Jenn Grant, The Wooden Sky, Forest City Lovers, Jennifer Castle, Evening Hymns, Wilderling.    


Goderich Celtic Roots Festival

Goderich
Aug. 5-7  

Location:

Lion’s Harbour Park, 168 West St., on the waterfront in Goderich.  

About:

The aim of the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival and Celtic College is to “foster the preservation and continuation of traditional Celtic art forms through exposure, participation and education.” But mostly, it’s a great party!  

Performers:

Paul McKenna Band, RUNA, Comas, Navan, The Kane Sisters and Edel Fox with Daithi Sproule, The Outside Track, Caladh Nua, Kim Robertson, Kieran Goss, Vishten, Shane Cook, Pierre Schryer Trio, Colette Cheverie, Frantically Atlantic, The Sideliners, HAWP, Vertige with Martine Billette, Solid Clarity, Alan Jabbour and Ken Perlman, Cassie and Maggie MacDonald.      


Capital Hoedown Country Music Festival

Ottawa
Aug. 11-13  

Location: LeBreton Flats, a large open area on the banks of the Ottawa River, on the edge of downtown, adjacent to the Canadian War Museum.  

About:

Now in its second year, the festival’s entertainment lineup will feature some of the biggest names in country music, with a major emphasis on Canadian content. In its first year, the festival attracted about 20,000 country music lovers over three days. Food and beverages are available on sprawling concert grounds that can accommodate 45,000.  

Performers:

Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Doc Walker, Sara Evans, Billy Currington, Easton Corbin, Tara Oram, Justin Moore, Jason Blaine, The Keats.      


Peak to Shore Music & Art Fest

Village at Blue, Collingwood, Thornbury
Aug. 12-14  

Location:

Outdoors in the Village at Blue, downtown Collingwood and the village of Thornbury.  

About:
The festival features 23 art events and 18 music acts across 15 venues in three communities. Best of all, it’s all free.  

Performers:
Sarah Harmer and more to be announced.


World Electronic Music Festival
Madawaska
Aug. 12-14  

Location:

Large grassy site surrounded by deep woods and overlooking Algonquin Park in Madawaska.  

About:
After a hiatus, the festival returns and promises to be bigger and better than ever, with better talent from even more electronic genres and a bigger emphasis on art and culture. Located outside the village of Madawaska on the edge of Algonquin Park. Plenty of space for dance stages and camping. Free shuttle goes through the village and to the beach. Must be 16 to attend the festival.  

Performers:

Rusko, Skrillex, Friction, ZedsDead, Diss, Czech, Lush, XI, Dynamite MC, Hydee, Rick Toxic and more.      


Havelock Country Jamboree

Havelock
Aug. 18-21  

Location:

Where Highway 7 and County Roads 48 and 46 meet in Havelock (about 45 minutes northeast of Peterborough). Yes, we know, the Havelock Country Jamboree is not on the waterfront, but Havelock is surrounded by lakes and rivers, and who can ignore one of Canada’s biggest country festivals?    

About:

Dubbed Canada’s largest live country music and camping festival, the jamboree celebrates its 22nd anniversary this year. The family-friendly festival features more than 25 entertainers performing on twin stages over a four-day period. Expect a mix of veteran and young up-and-coming artists from both Canada and the United States. If you’re in the mood to shop, there will be more than 150 vendors onsite during the event.  

Performers:
Johnny Reid, Martina McBride, Billy Currington, Sawyer Brown, Pam Tillis, Joe Nichols, Tommy Hunter, Lorrie Morgan, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Del McCoury, Shenandoah, Mustang Sally, Deric Ruttan, Shooter Jennings, Confederate Railroad, Rhonda Vincent, Victoria Banks, Good Brothers, Ladies of the Canyon, Hey Romeo, Leah Durelle, Melanie Morgan, Toasted Western Swing Band, The Lincolnaires, Fathead.        


Summerfolk
Owen Sound
Aug. 19-21  

Location:
Kelso Beach Park, on the shores of Georgian Bay on the west side of the harbour.  

About:

Sponsored by the Georgian Bay Folk Society, the festival mixes traditional and emerging folk music, crafts, food and booze for a major party at Kelso Beach Park, which is transformed into a small village with a 4,000-seat main stage, five side stages, exhibit space featuring the works of 40 artisans, dozens of food booths and a licensed tent. There’s also a beach and a playground area, so bring the family. There’s free parking and camping is nearby.

Performers:

Old Man Luedecke, Mittenz, Ron Hynes, The Once, Mélisande, Gypsy Jive Band, JumbleJam, Joe Jencks, Todd Crowley, Lorne Elliot, Elixir, Reveillons, Vita Twirlin’ Diva, New Country Rehab, Orchid Ensemble, Lookup Theatre, Corin Raymond, The Chapmans, The Arrogant Worms, H’ Sao, The Little Stevies and more.           


Limestone City Blues Festival

Kingston
Aug. 25-28  

Location:
Confederation Park, located on Lake Ontario across the street from historic City Hall and Springer Market Square.  

About:

Downtown Kingston is alive with music during this popular event, featuring more than 50 shows in more than a dozen venues, including Confederation Park, where there will be three afternoons of concerts.  

Performers:

Walter Trout, Monkey Junk, Grady Champion, Trampled Under Foot, Jack de Keyzer and more. 

    

SEPTEMBER  

 
Shores of Erie International Wine Festival
Amherstburg
Sept. 8-11  

Location:

Fort Malden lawn, on the banks of the Detroit River in downtown Amherstburg.  

About:

Now in its 7th year, the festival features continuous live entertainment, more than 50 vendors serving up the best local food and wine, master chef cooking demonstrations and wine seminars and an interactive tasting bar. Very scenic location. Headliners sell out early. Past performers have included Serena Ryder, Steven Page, Bedouin Soundclash, and Pavlo with Rik Emmett and Oscar Lopez.  

Performers:

To be announced in June.        


Southside Shuffle
Port Credit
Sept. 9-11  

Location:
Memorial Park, Lakeshore Road, where the Credit River meets Lake Ontario.  

About:
The jazz and blues festival features world-class live performances all weekend long by Canadian and international performers. Great sightlines in Memorial Park gives everyone a clear view of the action onstage. You’ll find a licensed bar area and food vendors inside the mainstage area.  

Performers:
Blind Boys of Alabama, Motor City Women, Baby Love – Tribute to the Supremes, Mavis Staples, Big Bill Morganfield, Matt Andersen, Downchild, Johnny Max Bigger Band, Nalle and his Crazy Ivans, Jack de Keyzer, Loco Zydeco and more.        


All-Canadian Jazz Festival
Port Hope
Sept. 23-25  

Location:

Memorial Park, Queen Street in downtown Port Hope.  

About:

The small festival has earned popular and critical recognition as a showcase for the finest in Canadian jazz. There are no crowds to fight off, just a civilized day in the great outdoors listening to great music. With its location in a park near the Ganaraska River in the heart of downtown Port Hope, recognized as the best preserved heritage district in Ontario, quaint shops, restaurants and bars are just a short walk away from the music.  

Performers:

Downchild Blues Band, Ambassadors Dixie Band, Rémi Bolduc, Michelle Grégoire Quintet, The Lost Fingers, Dave Young, Sharon Riley and Faith Chorale, Planet Earth, Brownman Electryc Trio, Kellylee Evans, Galaxy Orchestra featuring Ross Wooldridge.

MyNewWaterfrontHome.com — May 2011