Tegan & Sara play Hillside
Happy Hillside! The music love-in on Guelph Lake Island turns the big 3-0 this year. Twin sister pop duo Tegan & Sara, local punks PUP, fuzz-pop band Alvvays, Guelph folkie Basia Bulat and Montreal indie pop duo Majical Cloudz are among those helping to celebrate. Break out the bug spray and tent; if ever there was a festival made for camping, this is it. July 25 to 27. $55-80, weekend pass $135. ticketbreak.com, hillsidefestival.ca.
River And Sky Music Festival
This three-day festival is a bit of a hike from downtown T.O., but for your time (roughly four and a half hours on the road), you're rewarded with the incredibly scenic northern Ontario setting of the Sturgeon River and some of the best music from across the country. Vancouver psych-rockers Pink Mountaintops, Welland classic country star Daniel Romano, Toronto psych-country outfit the Highest Order and Montreal experimental pop group the Besnard Lakes are highlights. July 18 to 20. 3636 Hwy 539, Field. Weekend pass $125. riverandsky.ca.
Wolfe Island Music Festival
When a weekend fest boasts two of Canada's finest emcees (Shad and k-os) performing in silhouette against the setting sun on Lake Ontario, 362 kilometres really isn't that far to travel. Well, we can't guarantee the sunset or the silhouette, but that's how we picture Wolfe Island Music Festival outside of Kingston. Electro-pop band Young Galaxy, inaptly named Toronto indie rockers Rural Alberta Advantage and Constantines-frontman-gone-solo Bry Webb help round out the stacked bill. August 8 and 9. $45-$125, weekend pass $100. wolfeislandmusicfestival.com.
The gargantuan Ottawa Bluesfest sprawls over two weeks and encompasses just about every genre on the planet. Sure, it might be a little directionless, but you can see some of the planet's most famous artists and some of the best ones, too. (Sometimes both!) Pop icon Lada Gaga, DJ/producer/remixer Ryan Hemsworth, rock icon Blondie, rapper/actor Childish Gambino, Tuareg guitar god Bombino, English prodigy Jake Bugg and electronic trip-hopper Bonobo share the same bill. See? July 3 to 13. $20-$150, festival passport and multiple ticket options at frontgatetickets.com. ottawabluesfest.ca.
Mudtown Music & Arts Festival
Of all the smaller out-of-town multi-day shindigs, Owen Sound's Mudtown Music & Arts Festival has the most impressively avant-cool lineup. It's hard (Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Odonis Odonis), it's indie (Bry Webb, Alana Gurr), it's experimental (Fresh Snow), it will satisfy your snobbiest music insider (Godspeed You! Black Emperor offshoot Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra). August 8 and 9. Single-day pass $45-55, weekend pass $75. mudtownfestival.com.