Being a music lover and enjoying world class musicians is easy in The 6ix. Throw in the word “fest” and you know you’re in for days and days packed full of the very best Toronto has to offer.
You say you love jazz, maybe pop, or rap, or Francophone zouk, or electronic, or French-Caribbean, perhaps Soca; Dying to see Wiz Khalifa, Drake and Snoop Dogg perform? Toronto has it all this summer and that’s just the music fest line-up and only for the month of July!
One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.
— Bob Marley
Here’s a listing of fests (what? where? when?) in The 6ix, all lined up and tied up with a bow for you to enjoy:
TD Downtown Toronto Jazz Fest, June 24 – July 3, Nathan Phillips Square, Various
Serving the Jazz Community Since 1987 the TD Toronto Jazz Festival is known as one of North America’s premier jazz festivals Join the more than 500,000 jazz aficianados over the 10 day event. This year you can choose from more than 400 performances with over 2000 musicians performing at approximately 50 locations around Toronto. The main stage of the festival is located at Nathan Phillips Square in the heart of downtown Toronto with an impressive 1,200 seat fully-licensed Mainstage Marquee and outdoor stage.
Digital Dreams Festival, July 2-3, Molson Amphitheatre
This electronic music festival, known as Canada’s biggest electronic music festival, is back at The Flats at Molson Amphitheatre for the Canada Day Weekend. This year’s festival is headlined by Above & Beyond, Armin Van Buuren, Axwell Ingrosso, Bassnectar, Borgore, Danny Tenaglia, Knife Party, Pendulum, and Umek. A full line up can be found here.
Beaches Jazz Fest, July 2–24, Woodbine Park, Various
The Beaches Jazz Fest is one of the biggest free jazz festivals in Canada. Initially centred in the Beaches neighbourhood it has since expanded to several east end venues. The festival has also expanded to become a festival of festivals with separate stages and venues for jazz, salsa, big band and acapella bands as well as a street festival and side events. The Canada Day weekend kicks of the fest but it runs straight through the month of July.
Here’s a quick run down of what’s what, but be sure to check out their site for a complete line up of artists:
- Beach Salsa Festival – July 2 – 3, 2016, Woodbine Park
- Sounds of Leslieville and Riverside – July 8, 9 & 10, Jimmie Simpson Park
- TD Mainstage — July 15 – 17, Woodbine Park
- Beach Village Kew Gardens Series — July 15 – 17, Kew Gardens –
- Sing! Acappela Stage — July 15 – 20, Woodbine Park
- Taste of Jazz — July 19 – 20, Woodbine Park
- OLG Mainstage — July 22 – 24 , Woodbine Park
- Big Band Stage — July 22 – 24, Woodbine Park
- Streetfest – July 21 – 23, Queen Street East, between Woodbine and Beech Avenues
Toronto Caribbean Carnival, July 5-21 (Various)
Toronto Caribbean Carnival is an exciting three-week cultural explosion of Caribbean music and cuisine. Currently in it’s 48th year, the Carnival is a huge draw for the city of Toronto and it’s tourism industry and culminates in The Grand Parade famous for it’s revelers and elaborate floats on July 30 starting at 10 a.m.
Afrofest, July 9-10 (Woodbine Park)
Afrofest is the largest free African Music Festival in North America. The festival by organized by Music Africa promotes African music in Toronto and showcases the best in African music, art, crafts, culture and food.
The Main Stage features established local, national and international award winning artists. There are five staging areas: the Main Stage, Youth Stage and Drum Stage. A Children’s Village, and a Marketplace round out the offerings.
Festival Kompa Zouk, July 14 – August 1, Various Venues
Ontario (FKZO), is an arts and culture organization, presenting its annual summer festival, Festival Kompa Zouk Toronto, Ontario’s largest gathering of local, national and international French-Caribbean performers. The festival celebrates French-Caribbean culture through music, dance, cuisine and visual arts. and many others Previous years have included performances by artists such as Tabou Combo, Djakout#1, Stevy Mahy, Alan Cave, Emeline Michel, T-Vice , J-Perry, Carimi, Zenglen, Gabel and KASSAV’, who contributed to the growing popularity of the festival.
Island Soul, July 29 – Aug 1, Harbourfront
Island Soul explores Caribbean culture through music and other artistic presentations. This year’s theme is revivalism in the Caribbean. Prepare to enjoy dance, music, visual arts, film, cuisine and family activities. And best of all, it’s free.
Ritmo y Color, July 15 – 17, Harboufront
This free celebration of Mexican culture. This year organizers promise to “showcase the best theatre, music and dance from the land that combines Indigenous, European and African culture into something wholly unique.”
VELD Music Festival, July 30-31, Downsview Park
The fifth annual VELD Music Festival, an electronic music festival, includes over 30 artists including The Chainsmokers, Deadmaus, Dvbbs, Steve Aoki and many more. Prepare for VELD!
OVO Fest, August 3-4, Molson Amphitheatre
The seventh annual OVO Fest is hosted by OVO Sound, a Canadian record label founded by rapper Drake and music producer Noah “40” Shebib. The festival is held in Toronto and has welcomed performances from such talents as Jay Z, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and comedian Kevin Hart. Expect a star studded lineup as Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa have already signed on to appear. Also on the agenda is the third annual OVO Bounce basketball tournament. Did I mention Drake is involved?