Summer music festivals in Toronto are as plentiful as they are varied — not a bad combination. From jazz to reggae to indie rock, there's fest for pretty much all musical tastes (so long as you're not talking about the seapunk crowd). Although V-Fest is a thing of the past in Toronto, Ink's new Veld Music Fest sounds promising (if not quite the same scale of event), and that's to say nothing of the strong line-up at NXNE and the first New Traditions Festival, which is set to ensure that the Island continues to be a destination for summer music.
Here are 10 summer music festivals to check out in Toronto this year:
Waterfront Blues, June 1 - 3, 2012 This free three-day event is now in its eighth year and will be held at Woodbine Park on the Beach waterfront. There will be performances by Monkeyjunk (Juno award winner), Shakura S'aida (Maple Blues award winner), The Lionel Young band and more. After representing Ottawa in the International Blues Festival, Monkeyjunk competed against bands from all over the world and came in third.
NXNE, June 11 - June 17, 2012 The line-up just keeps getting better and better, which might explain why it is ranked as number two in Grant Lawrence's "Top Ten Canadian Music Festivals of 2012" list. This year's lineup features The Flaming Lips, Raekwon, Of Montreal, Plants and Animals, Oberhofer, Doldrums and more. With such a diverse lineup, there's should be something to satisfy most everyone's musical taste buds.
Open Roof Festival, June 21 - August 23, 2012 Hosted at the Amsterdam Brewery, this festival runs every Thursday. It has a combination of music, food, beer and a movie screening. Behind the movie screen that's propped up in the middle of the parking lot is a gorgeous view of the city skyline. This year's film screenings will include a Bob Marley Documentary, Hysteria, Beasts of the Southern Wild and more. Don't worry about finding bike parking because they will have a bike valet set up.
Toronto Jazz Festival, June 22 - July 1, 2012 The Jazz festival will be bringing in over 1500 artists at over 40 locations. In 2011, Aretha Franklin kickstarted the festival and this year the energetic Janelle Monae will be bringing the festival to life at the Toronto Star Stage at Nathan Phillips Square on June 22.
New Traditions: Island Music and Art Festival, June 30, 2012 Co-presented by Whippersnapper Gallery, Fedora Upside-Down and Artscape Gibraltar Point. The first annual New Traditions festival will have 12 hours of live music, outdoor art installations, a puppet slam and more. This year's musical acts include: Wilderness of Manitoba, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Olenka & The Autumn Lovers and more. Check out the website for the full lineup.
Digital Dreams, June 30 & July 1, 2012 This festival is catered to all of the Electronic Nation fans out there. The four stages will include performances by A-Trak, Duck Sauce, Afrojack, Kaskade, Major Lazer and more. Tickets range from $59.50 - $119.50.
Afrofest, July 7 & 8, 2012 Originally hosted at Queen's Park, this year it'll be relocating to Woodbine Park. It's a free weekend-long celebration that features delicious food, craft vendors, music, educational activities for children and more.
Veld Music Festival, August 4 & 5, 2012 This is yet another music festival that will induce excitement in the avid electronic or bro-step music listener. Hosted at Downsview Park, musical programming includes big names such as Steve Aoki, Avicii, Deadmau5 and Mord Fustang.
All Caps Island Festival, August 11 & 12, 2012 This two-day all-ages event brings together musical acts and artists from all parts of Canada. Patrons have the option of attending film screenings, art installations, enjoying some of the great food and/or taking a swim. Last year's lineup included Julie Doiron, The Wooden Sky, Rich Aucoin, to name a few. This festival not only highlights the talents of the artists but also the beauty of Gibraltar Point. Guests are invited to enjoy the sounds of a musical act at the supposedly haunted Gibraltar Point Lighthouse. Rumor has it that you can still hear the moaning of J.P. Rademuller, who was murdered in 1815.
OUTSIDE OF TORONTO
Hillside Festival, July 27 - 29, 2012 Although this festival is not situated in Toronto, it must be mentioned because of the weight of the lineup. Held at Guelph Lake conservation area, this festival's lineup may make the eager indie lover mentally drool. There will be musical performances by BADBADNOTGOOD, Bahamas, Arkells, Bombay Bicycle Club, Chad VanGaalen, The Jezabels and more. The weekend pass is sold out but grab those tickets immediately because this is a festival you can't miss.