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Digital Dreams Music Festival 2014 | © Peter Kudlacz / Flickr
Digital Dreams Music Festival 2014 | © Peter Kudlacz / Flickr

Summer '16: Must-See Music Festivals In And Around Toronto

Picture of Stephanie Pereira
Updated: 6 December 2016
In addition to the many exciting concerts in store for Toronto this summer, the city is also blessed to be home to a variety of unique music festivals, which range from campsites to quench your Coachella envy, or venues in the heart of the city. From single weekends to weeklong celebrations, follow our guide for the top 10 music festivals hitting Toronto (and the GTA) this summer.


The NXNE (North by North East) festival and conference takes place June 13-19. NXNE has four ‘lands’ under its belt: Port Lands and Club Land, which takes place at nightclubs across the city, as well as Game Land (at Yonge and Dundas Square) and Future Land – a conference at Ryerson University. While the latter two look at the future of interactive music, gaming, and digital worlds, musical acts of Port Lands include Schoolboy Q, Toront0-native Daniel Caesar, Father John Misty, Ghostface Killah, Mother Mother, Dan Mangan, Shamir, and more. Tickets are amongst some of the most affordable for any festival around the city, with $79 early bird tickets to the Port Lands two-day shows still available.


The Hillside Festival is a non-profit festival, which aims to celebrate diversity in the arts. The 33rd annual festival takes place June 22-24 at the Guelph Lake Conservation Area – roughly an hour drive from the downtown core. Some of the many unique performers include Aijinai, Jennifer Castle, Caveboy, Choir! Choir! Choir!, Esmerine, and Holy Fuck. A truly diverse artistic affair, the festival also has spoken word performances, an Aboriginal Circle, an artisan market with dozens of vendors, and a food bazaar with many vegan, fair-trade, and gluten-free meal options. A weekend pass to the festival costs around $146 plus tax, excluding camping fees if you would like to stay in the Conservation Area.

TGIF! Only 11 more Fridays until we're out soaking up the sun on the island! 🌳🌻☀️🚲 #hillside2016

A photo posted by Hillside Festival (@hillsidefestival) on


For those who aren’t looking to step too far out of the city, Bestival is a two-day music-fest in Woodbine Park, taking place June 11th & 12th. The colourful festival boasts an indie performance list, with headliners like Tame Impala, Odesza, Jamie XX, Swim Deep, The Cure, Grimes, and Daughter. Though the original festival stems from the Isle of Wight, England Bestival (which in fact hosted the world’s largest bouncy castle this year), Toronto’s rendition of Bestival is sure to be just as much of a hit!

The city and the sound (📷 by @diphoe)

A photo posted by Bestival Toronto (@bestivaltoronto) on

Boots and Hearts

For the country music fans, Boots and Hearts is North America’s second largest music festival after the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. It takes place August 4-7 in Oro-Medonte at the Burls Creek Event Grounds – just 15 minutes north of Barrie. The space supports both RV and tent camping, with acres of beautiful landscapes. In addition to the comfort food sure to be expected (beer tents, anyone?), headliners of this year’s event include many big-name country stars like Blake Shelton, Sam Hunt, and Chase Rice.

Field Trip

Taking place this June 4th and 5th at the Fort York and Garrison Common (just south of the Gardiner), Field Trip is a music festival about more than just music: it features world-class food, art and design brought about by creative collaborations. You can expect to see musical acts like Santigold, Jazz Cartier, The National, Robyn, July Talk, and more. Tip for parents: children are free under the age of 12, and can spend the day at the TD Day Camp while you spend your time enjoying the music. Heads up, GA weekend passes go for $125.

#tbt #FieldTripTO

A photo posted by FIELD TRIP (@fieldtriplife) on

Digital Dreams

Canada‘s largest electronic music festival, Digital Dreams has justifiably earned its notoriety in the music scene. It takes place this July 2nd and 3rd at the Flats at Ontario Place. With a spectacular view of the city’s skyline, the event features international stars like Armin van Buuren, Borgore, and Above & Beyond. GA tickets (16+) are (surprisingly) still available, starting at $149.99 for two days.

TD Toronto Jazz Festival

The Toronto Jazz Fest has been named Canada’s largest music festival due to magnitude – there are over 1,200 performers in over 250 concerts spanning ten days. Running this June 24 to July 3rd, headliners include Sarah McLauchlan, Allen Stone, Grace Potter, The Toronto Mass Choir, Gregory Porter, and the Oliver Jones Trio to name a few. The heart of the Festival is now located at Nathan Phillips Square (right downtown) with a 1,200 seating stage. Bonus: many events are offered free to the public, so be sure to check it out.


Wayhome music and arts fest is a real fan favourite around here. Held at the Burl’s Creek Events grounds between Barrie and Orillia (also home to Boots ‘N Hearts) on July 22nd-24th, the acts of this festival cannot be put into one genre. The eclectic mix of artists includes Shad, Metric, Haim, and hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd. For those looking to stay overnight, the WayCamp package includes a fully loaded tent (yours to keep after the festival) on a 20×20 lot, though this doesn’t include ticket costs. However, tier three tickets are currently on sale for $249.99.

Find your WayHome, July 22-24. Ticket link in bio. #camping #community #WayHome

A photo posted by WayHome Music & Arts (@wayhome) on



Just like Digital Dreams, VELD Music Festival brings some of the biggest names in electronic dance music (EDM) to the city for a two-day long party. Taking place July 30th and 31st at Downsview Park (just a touch outside the city in North York), VELD will feature artists like The Chainsmokers, Deadmau5 (a partner of the event), Kygo, Flume, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, and Travis Scott – with more artists to be announced. If you haven’t picked yours up already, act fast, as tickets are only available until May 31st.


Luminato is Toronto’s very own interdisciplinary arts festival. The tenth annual event will be held on June 10-26, and for the first time in the event’s history, it will be at one central location: the Hearn Generating Station (in the core of Toronto‘s Port Lands). It truly has something for everyone: from the music buff to the art and theatre fans, and three custom-built dining spots. The ten-day event has commissioned thousands of art works in the past, and is known to have free events and even popular workshops with artists.