Five wildly diverse musical stages and a plethora of acts stretching all the way up Yonge from Dundas to Lawrence give the two-day Celebrate Toronto fest enough free entertainment to overwhelm anyone. Here's a basic summary of the vibe of each location and some tips on acts worth checking out. For the full schedule, details and further information, check out www.city.toronto.on.ca/special_events/streetfest.
Dundas (Dundas and Yonge)
Vibe : Rootsy Canuck melting pot of everything from traditional bluegrass and Cajun zydeco to alt-country troubadours and back-porch cabaret.
The Silver Hearts, Saturday (July 10), 5 pm Sprawling 10-plus-member Peterborough roots orchestra with a penchant for sousaphones, theremin and Tom Waits's Rain Dogs.
Jenny Whiteley, Saturday (July 10), 6:30 pm Founding Crazy Stringer, Heartbreak Hill sweetheart and scion of a Canadian roots dynasty fuses old-timey country with bluegrassy banjo stompers and wistful folkie ballads.
Atomic 7, Sunday (July 11), 4 pm Former Shadowy Man shows off his flair for Duane Eddy guitar acrobatics in evocative instrumentals that run the gamut from breezy surf rockers to noirish soundtracks for fake spy flicks.
Bloor (Bloor and Yonge)
Vibe : Neo-soul, urban fusion, yupscale acid jazz and radio-friendly hiphop, with nods to Afro-Caribbean culture.
Butta Babees & Motion, Saturday (July 10), 2 pm Rising Montreal hiphop trio Butta Babees team up with local spoken-word poet and gritty femcee Wendy "Motion" Brathwaite for a bi-city throwdown.
In Essence, Saturday (July 10), 10 pm Canada's Juno-winning answer to Boyz II Men, complete with cheesy a cappella nu-soul harmonies, matching outfits and snazzy choreography.
Eternia featuring the Playground, Sunday (July 11), 1 pm Rye High student and guerrilla MC Eternia was nominated for best indie urban artist at last year's Canadian Independent Music Awards.
St. Clair (St. Clair and Yonge)
Vibe : Classical ensembles, wine-bar jazz, big-band outfits and tasteful world music ensembles geared to the more mature crowd north of Bloor.
Swing Rosie, Saturday (July 10), 3 pm (at the Street Symphony stage) Rex Hotel faves, this three-woman combo features jazz chanteuses cooing snappy harmonies inspired by oldie sister acts like the Andrews Sisters.
Emily Weedon, Saturday (July 10), 4 pm (at the Jazz Café stage) Sweet singer/songwriter inspired by old-school music hall acts combines pop vocal melodies reminiscent of Kate Bush and Emmylou Harris with sophisticated jazz-inspired arrangements.
Daniela Nardi Trio, Saturday (July 10), 5:30 pm, and Sunday (July 11), 7 pm (at the Jazz Café stage) Genre-jumping vocalist merges jazz, soul, adult contemporary and pop influences into a smooth cappuccino blend.
Eglinton (Eglinton and Yonge)
Vibe : Reliable indie-ish singer/songwriters, melodic alt-popsters and on-the-edge alterna-rockers. Just left of mainstream, but not too edgy - has to draw Yonge and Eligible 30-somethings, Leaside soccer moms and the pierced North Toronto high school set.
Melissa McClelland, Saturday (July 10), 1 pm Sweet-voiced guitar grrrl cranks out hooky pop tunes that delve into the darker side of Burlingtonian suburbia and beyond.
Jason Plumb and the Willing, Sunday (July 11), 4 pm Ex-Walton Plumb brings his Prairie roots to gorgeously sun-drenched alt-country rock.
Danny Michel, Sunday (July 11), 5:30 pm T.O. talent spins his gift for storytelling into sweet indie folk, synthy pop and ragged rock tunes.
Lawrence (Lawrence and Yonge)
Vibe : Balloons, circus performers and ice cream sundaes turn the buttoned-down family enclave into a kinder, gentler Teletubby midway.
Michael Trautman, Saturday and Sunday (July 10 and 11), 1, 3 and 5 pm Gentle jester from Portland, Maine, brings nu-vaudevillian kids' comedy, magic, slapstick and tall tale telling.
Mystic Drums World Sounds, Saturday and Sunday (July 10 and 11), 12:30, 3:30 and 6:30 pm Baby hippies-in-training can connect with the heartbeat of Mother Earth through Lorne Lampert's participatory percussion session.
Toronto Pop Idols, Saturday and Sunday (July 10 and 11), 6 pm A scaled-down Star Search for the elementary school set. A Canadian Idol top-30 finalist joins judges to decide which aspiring Mouseketeer will win recording time at a pro studio. Sorting out the Celebrate Toronto fest By SARAH LISS