Free NXNE events

10 free shows and events at NXNE 2015

As with life and smiles on the McDonald's menu, some the best things at Toronto's NXNE music festival are free. From big-stage, open-air rock shows to low-key art exhibits, female-friendly rap jams to Cancon acoustic sets, there's plenty to take in that won't shrink your wallet. No wristbands, credit cards or guest-list connections necessary.

These are my picks for the 10 free shows and events worth checking out at NXNE this year.

National Poster Retrospecticus, NXNE Hub (170 Spadina Ave.), June 17-20
Hand-printed posters featuring bands like METZ, Jack White, and Wilco will be on exhibit as this Austin-based travelling art show rolls north. The works of Aaron Draplin, Daniel Danger, and Toronto-based design studio Doublenaut will all be on display.

Sam Roberts, Tiny Record Shop, June 18
The Canadian singer-songwriter performs an all-acoustic set in an intimate setting on the east end of the city as part of Paper Bag Records' #PAPER100 celebrations. Tickets for this one will be snatched up fast and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Print & Comics Fair, The Garrison, June 18, 12-7 p.m.
More than 30 of Toronto's best print and comic artists display their work in this fair curated by Patrick Kyle. Scarf down free pizza --yes, free pizza-- while nodding to live tunes by Telephone Explosion and Panache Booking.

Creation Collision on Queen West, (Soho Street to Spadina Avenue) June 19-20
Toronto creatives Elicser, Tessar Lo, Paddy Leung, Ness Lee and Emily May Rose highlight live art installations in a public space. The show, curated by Hermann & Audrey for Lululemon and NXNE, is highlighted by a super-late Friday-night live art session that doesn't start until midnight.

NXNE Yoga, Yonge & Dundas Square, June 20, 9:30 a.m.
Get your downward dog on. Put on in part by Kind Healthy Snacks, a one-hour, outdoor yoga class will be led by instructor Salmaan Sayeed. Appropriate for stretchers of all levels, participants are invited to bring their own mats (some provided) and enjoy a free light snack, too.

Lia Ices / Summer Heart, The Gap, 375 Queen St W), June 20, 2-4 p.m.
A pair of ins-store performances by Lia Ices and Summer Heat should make returning those slacks for the proper size 100 per cent more enjoyable.

Record Fair, The Garrison, June 20, 12-7 p.m.
Presented by Sonic Boom & People Put Out Productions, this one-day vinyl hunt allows you to dig through crates from more than 17 record labels to unearth a new gem to add to your collection.

The New Pornographers, Yonge & Dundas Square, June 20
Vancouver indie-rock staple The New Pornographers will crank out their power-pop tunes as the evening's headliner at Yonge-Dundas Square. With local outfit Dilly Dally and California duo Best Coast warming up the crowd, it's sure to be rammed on Saturday night.

Shad, Yonge & Dundas Square, June 21
Canada's whip-smart, airtight q host ain't bad at rapping too. Just because the Polaris Prize shortlister is a safe, local replacement for the controversy-causing Action Bronson doesn't mean he won't bring intensity to the stage. Shad is set up by R&B/trap hit-maker Ty Dolla $ign and new-school underground MC Casey Veggies.

Good Enough Live Karaoke, Yonge & Dundas Square, June 21
Tired of being a passive observer? Get into the act yourself by signing up for Good Enough live karaoke, then hop onstage yourself with special accompaniment by the incredible (and incredibly fun) Choir! Choir! Choir! a cappella extravaganza.

What did I miss? Share your free NXNE finds in the comments.

Writing by Luke Fox.

Photo of Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE last year by Matt Forsythe.

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