2017 is the year of the party in Canada! The sesquicentennial celebrations are already in full swing and as the weather gets warmer, the parties are set to heat up. What is a good party without some great music? This summer is stacked with loads of options for music festivals from coast to coast.
Here are five different genres of music in five different places that will provide amazing road trips between the May long weekend and Labour Day (Canada’s unofficial summer bookends).
Pouzza Fest – Montreal, Quebec May 19 to 21
Pouzza Fest is a punk rock music festival set to take place in downtown Montreal, Quebec over the long Victoria Day or May “Two Four” weekend. Over 150 bands will perform in different venues all within walking distance from each other.
If you think Pouzza is a clever French word for punk, you are wrong. It takes its name from the blending of poutine and pizza, creating the word Pouzza. I’m not a big punk rock fan, but those who are will recognize this year’s headliners: The Flatliners, The Slackers or The Real McKenzies.
Tall Tree Festival – Port Renfrew, BC June 23 to 26
Tall Tree Music Festival is a celebration of community spirit, the environment, and artistic creativity and tall trees. They don’t say it on the website, but come on, it’s in the name and there are some pretty tall trees in Port Renfrew. In its 8th year, the festival showcases world-class musical and artistic talent and continues to have a positive impact by building sustainable and positive relationships. As one of the western-most points of Southern Vancouver Island, the scenic Port Renfrew site is situated on the beautiful property known as Brown’s Mountain. The festival takes place in one of the most picturesque settings in Canada.
Dauphin’s Country Fest – Dauphin, MB June 29 to July 2
Dauphin’s Country Fest maintains its status as Canada’s longest running country music festival. This not-for-profit music festival is different in that it was built by the community for the community. The success of the festival belongs to all of the volunteers who dedicate their time and energy, year after year, to putting on this first class event. Just so you understand, this isn’t your county bake sale type festival – it’s a big deal. Proving my point, this year’s lineup includes Keith Urban and Luke Bryan, two singers even I recognize, and I am not a country fan. Yee haw!
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival – Vancouver, BC July 14 to 16
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is a Canadian cultural institution – another unique community-based celebration with an internationally renowned reputation for presenting the finest traditional and contemporary folk and roots music artists from around the world. Now in its 40th year, it continues to be one of the province’s most beloved, enjoyed, and respected events. Ironically, a former classmate of mine, Jim Bryson (ironic the name I know) is a headliner! He will be joining others, including The Barenaked Ladies and Rhiannon Giddens.
Ottawa’s Blues Fest – July 6 – 16 Ottawa, ON
Over the years, Blues Fest has grown to become the landmark event of the Ottawa summer and one of the top ten music festivals in the world, according to Billboard Magazine. In the world of mega-festivals and a multitude of fledgling festivals, the RBC Blues Fest has maintained its stature as an incredibly popular music event by sticking to its diverse roots. This holds true in 2017 with one of the key headliners being rapper 50 Cent!
Exploring, celebrating and exhibiting your Canadian pride are all travel packing essentials this summer. Chime in and let me know the summer festivals on your list.