The summer festival concert season kicks off Friday in Burlington, Ontario when The Sound Of Summer event attracts a number of classic Canadian bands who will also play June 13-16 downtown Burlington, primarily at the city’s Waterfront location.
Acts performing include The Spoons, The Kings, The Grapes Of Wrath and Honeymoon Suite on Friday, Down With Webster (June 13th), Big Wreck (June 14th), Lights (Jun 15th) and Platinum Blonde, April Wine and 54:40 (June 16th) along with a full schedule of supporting acts.
Saturday June 8th at Old Fort York, Arts & Craft will celebrate its 10th anniversary with their Field Trip festival which features almost the label’s entire roster. Featured artists include Bloc Party, Broke Social Scene, Feist, Cold Specks and The Darcys.
“Field trip was built around the themes of discovery and community,” noted Jeffrey Remedios, co-founder and president of the Arts & Craft label. “In addition to world class music performers, the festival will incorporate local art, gourmet food and unique elements of Toronto’s proud culture. Field Trip is a celebration, not just of Arts & Craft’s 10-year anniversary and our artists – but of Toronto, of community and of our collaborative spirit.”
Throughout the country, big cities and small communities, major festivals and small music gatherings, Canada will host almost one hundred music festivals including pop-rock, jazz, blues, country music and even electronic arts events.
One major festival is the Rock The Park festival in London Ontario’s Harris Park, July 25th –July 27th which features Styx, Toto, Platinum Blonde, Journey, Whitesnake, The Tragically Hip, Grand Funk Railroad, Coney Hatch, The Trews, Saga and Helix.
Another major event is the Mattawa Voyageur Days Festival in Mattawa Quebec June 13th-15th which features Blue Rodeo, Streetheart, Night Ranger, Nick Gilder & Sweeney Todd, Great White and Dennis DeYoung.
Country Music fans can take in the Craven Country Jamboree (July 11-14), Country In The Woods at Parry Sound ON. (July 26th-28th) the Big Valley Jamboree (August 1st-4th at Camrose AB or the Boots & Hearts in Bowmanville ON. August 2nd-4th) and there’s a number of special festival dates at Toronto’s Molson Ampitheatre including Drake’s OVO Festival August 4th-5th.
But amidst all the major events are small festivals launched to create some activity in depressed regions of the country. Ron Stolar is a 53-year old resident of Spanish Ontario, a small town located almost equidistant from Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie on the North shore of Lake Huron.
A miner by trade, Stolar experienced firsthand, what happens when the mining industry shuts down. The closing of the uranium industry in Elliot Lake, where he worked at Denison Mine, literally obliterated the town, sending its miners north to Kirkland Lake or Timmins, some as far west as Saskatchewan and a few luckier miners found employment closer to home in Sudbury.
Doubling as a volunteer chairman of Spanish’s recreational committee, Stolar created a number of activities to involve the few remaining residents and in this light, in the summer of 2010, decided it would be great if he could stage a rock music festival in Spanish to pull some of the former residents back to the community.
Now in its fourth year, `Come Rock N Roar’ will stage this year’s event August 16th and 17th with a lineup that features Loverboy, Streetheart, Nick Gilder & Sweeney Todd, Lee Aaron, Coney Hatch and David Wilcox.
“There is no hotel accommodation, just camping space and we purposely limit the attendance to just 3,500 people,” explained Stolar. “We want to keep the numbers low. The more people, the less service we can offer. People like the fact they have enough portal-potties and they don’t have to wait in line 30 minutes for a beer. There is a real community atmosphere about this event.
Stolar admits there was some initial skepticism from booking agents about pulling off the festival. “Bernie Aubin at Classic Rock in Vancouver was a great believer in the festival and he came through for us in booking the talent. Matter of fact, The Stampeders and Honeymoon Suite, who headlined the first festival, were so complimentary about the event, Spolar reports he hasn’t had any problems booking future talent.
The event also allows for local involvement with five local bands chosen, via a battle of the bands, to also perform on Saturday. The winning band gets a $1,000 and opens for the headliners on Saturday and the other four bands receive $500 and get to play on the Saturday in order of their finish in the contest, fifth band goes on first, etc.
“We’ve succeeded in bringing people back to Spanish for the festival and we’ve also attracted some foreign tourists. One couple from Norway were just driving down the highway when they saw our signs, decided to drop by and caught Nazareth playing – who are of course big in Europe. They couldn’t believe that band was playing in the wilds of Northern Ontario”
Probably the biggest name locally is Neil Young & Crazy Horse who will be the main attraction at Daniel Lanois’ Greenbelt Harvest Picnic set for August 31st at the Christie Lake Conservation Area at Dundas Ontario. Also on the bill is Emmylou Harris, Lanois himself plus other support artists.
“As I look at this year’s lineup for the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic, I can say that my dream has come true,” explained Lanois. “I am surrounded by artists who I have long admired and many of whom I have made records with.”
Yet the hottest concert ticket of the season belongs to the Salmon Festival at Grand Falls Newfoundland where on July 13th at the city’s Centennial Park, the festival will boast a one-day lineup featuring The Eagles, The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Matt Minglewood Band and Johnny Reid. If you wanted to purchase a VIP ticket for this event – forget it! The 2,500 preferred seating tickets at $220.50 are long gone. Yet you can purchase tickets at $154.75 on the day of the event – which is still quite a bargain by today’s prices. Wherever you are, get out and support one of the festivals in your local community.
FESTIVAL CONCERT SCHEDULE 2013
June 7th June 13th-16th Sound Of Music – Burlington ON.
June 8th Field Trip – Toronto ON.
June 10th-16th NXNE Festival – Toronto ON.
June 13th-15th Mattawa Voyageur Days – Mattawa On.
June 14th-15th Rockfest Quebec – Montebello PQ.
June 19th-22nd Sled Island Festival – Calgary AB.
June 22nd Big Music Fest – Belleville ON.
June 23rd Wasaga Beach Fest – Wasaga Beach ON.
June 27th-30th Boonstock – Gibbons AB.
June 27th – 30th Dauphin’s Country Fest – Dauphin MB.
June 28th-30th Big Red Music Festival – Charlottetown PEI
June 28th– July 7th Montreal Jazz Festival – Montreal PQ.
June 28th-30th Tall Tree Music Festival – Port Renfrew ON.
June 28th – July 1st Wiarton Willie Festival, Wiarton ON.
June 28th-July 1st It’s Your Festival – Hamilton ON.
June 29th-30th Digital Dreams – Toronto ON.
July 4th –July 7th Sunfest Canada – London ON.
July 4th -14th Quebec City Summer Festival – Quebec City PQ.
July 4th-7th Toronto Jazz Festival – Toronto ON.
July 5th – 14th Calgary Stampede – Calgary AB.
July 5th-7th Keloha Festival – Kelowna BC.
July 10th-14th Winnipeg Folk Festival – Winnipeg MB.
July 10th Rock Star Energy Mayhem Festival – Toronto ON.
July 11th-14th Craven Country Jamboree – Craven SK.
July 13th Salmon Festival – Grand Falls NFLD.
July 12th-14th Vancouver Island Music Festival – Vancouver Island BC.
July 15th Americanarama Festival – Toronto ON.
July 25th-29th Motion Notion – Golden BC.
July 25th-28th Calgary Folk Festival – Calgary AB.
July 25th-27th Rock The Park – London ON.
July 26th-28th Interstellar Rodeo – Edmonton AB.
July 26th-28th Country In the Woods – Parry Sound ON.
August 1st -4th Big Valley Jamboree – Camrose AB.
August 2nd-5th Canal Days – Port Colborne ON.
August 2nd-4th Osheaga Festival – Montreal PQ.
August 2nd-4th Centre Of Gravity – Kelowna BC.
August 2nd-5th Festival Of Friends – Ancaster ON.
August 2nd – 4th Boots & Hearts Festival – Bowmanville ON.
August 2nd-4th Sappyfest – Sackville NB.
August 3rd The Grove – Toronto ON.
August 4th-5th– OVO Festival – Toronto ON.
August 7th-12th Shambhala Music Festival – Salmo BC.
August 8th-11th Edmonton Folk Festival – Edmonton AB.
August 8th-11th Ottawa Jazz Festival – Ottawa On.
August 9th-11th Festival Of Friends – Hamilton On.
August 9th-10th Live At Squamish – Squamish BC
August 15th Alberta Flood Aid – Calgary ALTA
August 15th-18th Manitoba Electric Music Festival – Winnipeg MB.
August 16th-18th Salmon Arm Blues & Roots Festival – Salmon Arm BC.
August 16-19 Dundas Cactus Festival – Dundas ON.
August 16th-17th Come Rock N Roar – Spanish ON.
August 16th-18th WEMF-South Algonquin ON.
August 20th Rockstar Energy Uproar – Toronto ON
August 22nd-Greater Sudbury Summerfest – Sudbury ON.
August 23rd-24th Gentlemen Stopover – Simcoe ON.
August 24th-25th Riot Fest – Toronto ON.
August 31st Greenbelt Harvest Picnic – Dundas ON
September 7th Locke Street Festival – Hamilton ON.
September 10th-15th Harvest Jazz Blues Festival – Fredericton NB.
September 12th-15th Rifflandia Festival – Victoria BC.
September 25th-29th Pop Montreal – Montreal PQ.
September 29th Kitchener Blues Festival – Kitchener ON.
October 3rd – 6th Breakout West – Calgary AB.
October 16th-20th Indie Week Canada – Toronto ON.
October 22nd-26th Halifax Pop Explosion
Photography by: Charles Hope