8 Unmissable Summer Festivals in Eastern Canada

Halifax Buskers Festival
Halifax Buskers Festival | © Halifax Buskers Festival

Eastern Canada, also referred to as Atlantic Canada, is known for its local charms, the natural beauty of its landscapes, and the friendliness of its people. There’s plenty to discover throughout the region, including a variety of lively festivals and events. Here are some of the summer festivals that you won’t want to miss while you’re in Eastern Canada.

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The Charlottetown Festival

June 7 – September 22, 2018

The Charlottetown Festival has been running for over 50 years, offering live theater productions, free outdoor performances, gallery exhibitions, dining, and shopping opportunities from June to September. The festival showcases some of the finest performers, composers, playwrights, designers, choreographers, and directors from the worlds of musical theater, comedy, and drama. In 2018, the Charlottetown Festival will feature the 54th season of Anne of Green Gables – The Musical, the rock-opera Jesus Christ Superstar, and two new festival musicals: Dutch Mason and Stories from the Red Dirt Road.

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

The Charlottetown Marina

Cavendish Beach Music Festival

July 6–9, 2018

Also based on idyllic Prince Edward Island, 2018’s Cavendish Beach Music Festival will take place from July 6th to the 9th. As the 10th anniversary of the festival, an extra day will be added in 2018. Headlining acts this year include superstars Shawn Mendes, Luke Bryan, Brett Eldredge, and Dallas Smith. Through the past 10 years, the festival has had over 500,000 attendees. Making this musical celebration special is the scenic beauty in the background—from the red sandy beaches and seaside cliffs to the warmest Atlantic waters north of the Carolinas.

Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Cavendish Beach Music Festival

TD Halifax Jazz Festival

July 10–15, 2018

Now celebrating its 32nd year, the 2018 TD Halifax Jazz Festival happens in mid-July. Formerly known as the Atlantic Jazz Festival, it is the oldest jazz festival and the largest summer festival that takes place in Atlantic Canada. The festivities attract up to 55,000 visitors annually. Headliners this year include Chaka Khan, Laila Biali, White Horse, and Alvvays.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Duncan Cove, part of the Halifax coastline

Halifax Busker Festival

August 1–6, 2018

For six days in early August, the Halifax Busker Festival enlivens Halifax’s historic downtown district. Crowds of merrymakers enjoy incredible shows from the world’s top street performance artists—showcasing acrobatics, music, visual arts, comedy, fire shows, and more. Stages lie along the Halifax Waterfront, and although there is no admission fee for the festival, make sure to tip the performers after enjoying their unique talents.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Buskers in Halifax


July 11–15, 2018

Seafest takes place every July in the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and it’s a unique celebration of life by the sea. Since 1979, locals and visitors alike have enjoyed the food, culture, and life of this coastal community. Some of the events include a lobster festival (it takes place during harvest season), the Seafest Pageant, a chowder cook-off, and a parade of lights. There are also children’s parades and art exhibitions.

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Cape Forchu Lighthouse in Yarmouth Harbour, Nova Scotia

Halifax Seaport Beerfest

August 10–11, 2018

The Halifax Seaport Beerfest marks the largest celebration of craft beer and cider in Atlantic Canada. Breweries representing over 110 producers gather together to sample and discuss over 300 products, with special pavilions for regions like British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Ireland, in addition to local beer and cider.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

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Festival Acadien

July 28 – August 4, 2018

Festival Acadien takes place in the Saint Mary’s Bay region of Nova Scotia, and it’s the oldest Acadian festival in the world. Thousands of locals and visitors partake in concerts (featuring Acadian, Cajun, and Bluegrass musicians) and art exhibitions that celebrate the roots of the unique history and culture that continues to shape this maritime region. There are activities for all ages, including a lumberjack competition, a parade, a bazaar, delicious food, and more!

Baie Saint-Marie, Nova Scotia, Canada

Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival

August 3–5, 2018

Billing itself as the second longest-running folk festival in Canada, the Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival features the diversity of Canadian and international folk arts. There are performances by some of the best and newest folk-singing talent, including Sarah Harmer, Matt Andersen, Sharon and Bram, and Kelly Russell and The Planks. Taking place in the city of St. John’s, the event is organized by the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society.

St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Newfoundland band Hey Rosetta! in concert
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