Summer's the season for massive music fests, but most multi-act extravaganzas blaze through parks and supersized venues leaving a trail of crowd-generated garbage and destruction in their wake.
For that reason alone, Guelph's annual Hillside Festival is nothing short of a miracle. Despite the fact that the consistently solid event keeps expanding at a remarkable rate, Hillside's organizers continue to keep the idea of minimizing their event's ecological footprint front and centre, creating a community-based phenomenon that relies on volunteer cleanup and dishwashing services (no seas of disposable plates and cups!), healthy veggie-friendly homemade food kiosks, tons of activist info and activities and even an environmentally friendly stage set-up (check the living roof on Hillside's mainstage).
Best of all, the musical roster is as diverse as it is great (and Canuck-centric): this year's version includes la fab Feist , Kingston sweetheart Sarah Harmer , the Sadies , prairie hiphop heavy Cadence Weapon , the Stills and tons more. July 28-30. Guelph Lake Island. $37-$90. www.hillside.on.ca.
Oui love jazz
Arguably the biggest ongoing cultural event of the summer in Montreal is the annual International Jazz Festival , now entering its 27th year. With beaucoup de musicians performing at a vast variety of venues - including free shows - it should be a no-brainer to find killer entertainment even if you think Dave Brubeck is the guy who founded Wendy's. The wide-ranging lineup spans everything from Paul Simon and Bonnie Raitt to John Zorn and Ravi Coltrane , from Martha Wainwright and Ani DiFranco to Amadou & Mariam and Elvis Costello . June 29-July 9, Spectrum, Theatre Maisonneuve de la Place des Arts, Metropolis and more. C'est magnifique! $20-$41. 1-888-515-0515, www.montrealjazzfest. com.
Shake, Rama 'n' roll
Gamblers in search of good odds would be hard pressed to find a better bet than Casino Rama 's summer lineup of retro and not-so-retro rockers. Even if you blow all your cash on video slots and blackjack, big-ticket performances by the likes of Sheryl Crow (July 4-5), sweet baby James Taylor (August 28-29) and back-from-the-dead chick rock powerhouses Heart (August 10) should be more than enough to ease the sting and justify a day trip to Rama. 5899 Rama Road, Rama. $20-$150. www.casinorama. com, 416-870-8000.