spring music festivals toronto

The top 10 music festivals in Toronto for spring 2015

The top music festivals in Toronto for spring 2015 look fairly similar to last year, except as Electric Island, Field Trip, and CBC Fest all return, sworn enemies CMW and NXNE appear to be more or less ignoring each other. On the fringes of spring we have UK's positive-vibe Bestival's first appearance followed by staples like NXNE, the Jazz Fest, and Luminato.

Foundry, the multi-day electronic fest which is usually underway already, is moving to warmer, as-yet unannounced dates - you'll know when we know. June is definitely the time festival season picks up, but Queen St. Fest, dubbed Soundtrack Of The City this year, just wrapped up in small clubs on Queen West.

Here are my picks for the top 10 music festivals in Toronto this spring.

Bassweek (March 20-29)
The fifth annual Bassweek is on now, bringing five nights of drum'n'bass madness (and a sprinkling of other bass-related genres), with events at the Hoxton, the Phoenix, and Tota. The lineup is full of veterans and superstars of the genre, including Drumsound & Bassline Smith, DJ SS, Micki Finn, Metrik, Delta Heavy, and many more. $25+ for individual shows, $100 wristband. BB

CMW (May 1-10)
Canadian Music Week is back with The Jesus and Mary Chain, Joey Bada$$, Death Cab For Cutie, Alvvays, Billy Talent, Metz, and hundreds more playing in venues across the city. The main thing is the music industry conference, but there are film and comedy components, and the Indies Music Awards. $10 (individual shows) - $200 (VIP wristband).

Kpop Convention (May 2, Metro Toronto Convention Centre)
Kpop fans already have May 2nd burned into their calendars. The inaugural one day convention of all things Korean pop music will be headlined by boy band NU'EST, with panels, games and activities, dance workshops, merchandise vendors, fanclub booths, celebrity meet-and-greets, and more. $40 - $265.

Electric Island (May 18, July 1, Aug. 3, Sept. 7, Toronto Island)
Some might argue that the annual Electric Island events on Centre Island are more a series than a festival, but we respectfully disagree. The lineup hasn't been officially announced yet, but we can tell you it will include Sasha, Tuskegee (Seth Troxler and Martinez Brothers), Pan-Pot, Shiba San, Green Velvet, Tom Trago and more. $99 - $127. BB

CBCMusic.ca Festival (May 23, Echo Beach)
Fan of CBC Radio 3? Then you already know who's playing. From Patrick Watson and Bahamas to Coeur de Pirate and Fred Penner, it's a purely CanCon lineup, plus find a live edition of CBC Radio One's The Debaters, and host appearances. $45.50 - $54.75.

Field Trip (June 6-7, Fort York)
Arts & Crafts' family-friendly Field Trip to Fort York returns for year three. Alabama Shakes and My Morning Jacket top the bill, with Arkells, Father John Misty, The War On Drugs, Purity Ring, and more spread over two stages and two days. Food, local vendors, bouncy castles for the kids: there's something for everyone. $70 (single day) - $200 (VIP weekend).

Bestival (June 12, Toronto Islands)
After 12 years of positive vibes in the UK, the first overseas Bestival will land at Toronto Islands this spring. Florence + The Machine, Nas, Flume, Caribou, SBTRKT, and more will play while you play in the Bollywood Temple, Inflatable Church, and so much more. $99.50 - $299.50.

NXNE (June 17-21)
NXNE are back doin' what they do - bringing the Pitchfork blog roll to a wide (but decreased in 2015) range of Toronto stages from Yonge-Dundas Square to the Rivoli. It remains to be seen if this year's changes to the NXNE administration will lead to changes in the way they interact with the local scene, but at least there's no radius clause. AJ

Toronto Jazz Festival (June 18-20)
A lineup hasn't been announced for the 2015 Jazz Fest, but you can expect some big names (last year hosted Chaka Khan, Melissa Etheridge, and Earth, Wind and Fire), alongside enough acts to fill venues all over the city, both free and ticketed. 28 years in, the festival is Toronto's preeminent jazz festival.

Luminato (June 19-28)
Luminato's art fest likes to do things differently. You'll see names like David Byrne, Nelly Furtado, and St. Vincent performing at a concert involving "sophisticated acrobatic routines" at the ACC, or Apocalypsis: a show involving 1000 performers at Sony Centre. These are just two of the fancy events on Luminato's program - best be ready.

See also

The top 10 dance music festivals in Toronto for 2015

What did I miss? Leave the spring music festivals you most look forward to in the comments.

Writing by Matthew Forsythe

Contributions by Benjamin Boles, Aubrey Jax

Photo: Matthew Forsythe

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