12 summer music festivals in Toronto for 2013
The top summer music festivals in Toronto for 2013 should factor into your cottage plans — as in, be careful not to book away dates during the biggest events. Dock time can wait. With everything from punk to indie to electro and bluegrass, you're bound surely find a show worth going to whatever your taste. In addition to major festivals like NXNE and the much touted Field Trip, smaller gatherings like the Sound in Motion Festival ensure that a level of variety that's crucial.
Here are 12 summer music festivals in Toronto to have on your radar.
CBCMusic.ca Festival | May 25 | Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
If you're a big CBC Radio 3 fan, you might just be into this festival. For its inaugural edition, CBCMusic.ca will bring some big names in rock and indie to Toronto in just a couple weeks. Of Monsters and Men, Sam Roberts Band, Kathleen Edwards, Sloan, Aidan Knight, and more, will be playing Echo Beach at what's left of Ontario Place.
Waterfront Blues | May 31 - June 2 | Woodbine Park
What better time of year to stomp your feet and clap your hands? This summer, the FREE Waterfront Blues Festival is kicking off its ninth year in style at Woodbine Park. Featuring several Juno award winning and nominated artists such as Fathead, Paul Reddick, and Morgan Davis, as well as Multi Blues Music Award winner Deanna Bogart, this festival brings in the top talent from around the globe to satisfy your hunger for keys, horns, Gibsons, and soulful vocals.
Arts & Crafts Field Trip Festival | June 8 | Fort York & Garrison Common
An all-out, one day field trip featuring amazing music, local art, gourmet food (check out our post on the top eats at the fest), and swell people, the Arts & Crafts Field Trip Festival is bound to be one of this summer's hottest tickets. Celebrating Arts & Crafts's 10 year anniversary with a one-night reunion of Broken Social Scene as well as the likes of Feist, Timber Timbre, Bloc Party, and a ton of other fantastic bands, this festival has been hyped to all hell, but it might live up to it.
NXNE | June 10 - 16 | Various Venues
In its 19th year, NXNE is bringing over 800 artists to over 50 venues in Toronto this summer during its week-long film, music, comedy, art, and interactive festival. While musical headliners include The National, Big Boi, Social Distortion, and Millencolin, this year's local talent spotlights Toronto favourite DIANA, the roughshod stylings of CATL, and the genre-bending tunes of Absolutely Free, among many other both established and new artists.
Luminato | June 14 - 23 | various venues
In its seventh year of production, the Luminato festival focuses on creativity as its founding premise, celebrating film, art, music, dance, and many other artistic pursuits around the city. Some musical highlights include the curation of Joni Mitchell's "A Portrait in Song - A Birthday Happening Live at Massey Hall," k-os, and Sarah Harmer.
Toronto Jazz Festival | June 20-29 | Various Venues
The city's biggest jazz festival might not feature as much pop (read: non-jazz) artists this year, but with well over 1000 acts at approximately 40 locations across the city, the more traditional fan will find lots to like in 2013. Headlining acts include Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson and Mavis Staples.
Digital Dreams | June 29 - 30 | Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Get out your neon and join the party. With 25,000 attendees at their inaugural festival last year, Digital Dreams is back again this year to provide fans of Electronic Nation with blow-out performances by Porter Robinson, Richie Hawtin, and Tiesto, amongst others at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.
Toronto Urban Roots Festival | July 4 - 7 | Fort York & Garrison Common
While the Arts & Crafts Field Trip is giving it a pretty good run for its money, the Toronto Urban Roots festival is packing in the names in their lineup of artists for this year's festival. Matt Mays, the Cat Empire, Arkells, Camera Obscura, The Hold Steady, Flogging Molly, The Wooden Sky, and Yo La Tengo plus over twenty more bands will be playing the four-night, two full-day festival at Fort York and Garrison Common this July.
Rockstar Mayhem Festival | July 10 | Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
If your taste runs to the heavy and the metal, not to mention the punk, you'll want to grab your Doc Martens and make your way to the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre this July for Rockstar's Mayhem Festival. Featuring the likes of Rob Zombie, Mastodon, Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, and more, this is a fest not to be missed.
Sound in Motion | July 11-13, 2013 | Various Venues
Sound in Motion is an indie (that's independent) electronic music fest that will focus on art instead of neon. The fest will take place in both indoor and outdoor spaces around the city, and will include film, workshops, dance parties, a listening session and more. Artists scheduled include Audio Werner, Daniel Bell, Kode9, DeepChord, Pinch, Berk Offset, SlowPitch, Stefny Winter, Michel Plamondon, Basic Soul Unit, Jason Hodges, and Spyne.
Edgefest | July 31 | Downsview Park
Whether or not you're a fan of all the music The Edge plays, the Edgefest lineup for this summer is an indie crowdpleaser all-round. Folksy indie rock band The Lumineers are headlining the fest at Downsview Park, while other notable bands include Band of Horses, Mother Mother, and Capital Cities. If you like your guitar acoustic, your tunes fun, and your fans chill, you may have just found the right festival for you.
VELD | August 3 -4 | Downsview Park
With its second year, the VELD Music Festival brings some of the biggest names in electro and house music to Toronto. Held at Downsview Park, this two-day festival features Steve Aoki, deadmau5, Pretty Lights, and Steve Angello, who, you can bet, will be blasting the drums right out of your ears for the better part of two days. Only go if you can handle the beat.
Grove Music Fest | August 3 | Fork York Garrison Common
That's right, as if there weren't enough festivals to choose from already, the citizens of Niagara-on-the-Lake were so disdainful of the idea of a pop music festival in their backyard, Grove had to move to TO, and adjust its line up slightly. Some fans will lament the move, but we're always glad to have Girl Talk, Phoenix, Gaslight Anthem, Waaves, Hot Chip, Earl Sweatshirt, Young Empires and more in our hood.
What summer music festival do you plan to check out in 2013?
Lead photo by Stephanie Luong on Flickr