Though summer in Toronto is great, it’s also prime time to get out of the city to check out music in a less urban environment
Casino Rama has a packed season of performers to entertain you when you run out of luck at the tables, including a gig by proto-punk heroes Blondie June 12 and 13. Hopefully, they realize no one wants to hear anything from their two reunion albums. Other blasts from the past include Crosby, Stills and Nash (July 20), the Beach Boys (July 9 and 10) and Stevie Nicks (June 18). $34.50-$150.00. 416-870-8000, www.casinorama.com.
Hayden plays the Mariposa Folk Festival (July 4-6) at Tudhope Park, Orillia.
The long-running Mariposa Folk Festival (July 4 to 6) isn’t quite as folky as it once was, but few are complaining after more than 40 years of constant reinvention. Highlights include roots festival mainstay Taj Mahal alongside younger artists like Hayden, Sarah Harmer and Joel Plaskett, at Tudhope Park, Orillia.$49-$94. www.mariposafolk.com.
Thrills at Hillside
It’s a testament to the growing popularity of the Hillside Festival (July 25 to 27) as a great midsummer getaway that weekend passes for the 25th annual outdoor music and healing gathering in Guelph are already sold out. It certainly wasn’t the announcement of Hawksley Workman’s appearance that caused the mad rush for tickets, but the otherwise solid lineup of performers. The Sadies, Born Ruffians, Cowboy Junkies and Plants & Animals should ensure that the grounds at Guelph Lake Conservation Area are well packed. Evening passes are still available for $40-$45. www.hillsidefestival.ca.
Hoedown in Havelock
If you’re any kind of country music fan, you may want to reroute your family camping trip east of Peterborough to the Havelock Country Jamboree (August 14 to 17). This year’s festival boasts appearances by Kris Kristofferson, Travis Tritt, Clint Black, Carlene Carter, Earl Scruggs and Family, Joe Diffie, Aaron Tippin, Johnny Reid, Connie Smith, Shane Yellowbird and many others you usually only get to see after blowing all your cash at the blackjack table in some casino. $100 per day, $200 weekend pass with camping (till June 15). 1-800-539-3353, www.havelockjamboree.com.
Mad for Meaford
Mary Margaret O’Hara plays the Electric Eclectics Festival August 3.
If you happen to be up around Georgian Bay this summer and think you’ve seen all Meaford has to offer in the way of apple orchards and scarecrows, there’s more to look forward to in August. Just outside town at the Funny Farm, the Electric Eclectics Festival (August 1 to 3) involves a surprising array of internationally respected experimental artists: Tony Conrad, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Alexander Hacke and Danielle De Picciotto, Dorit Chrysler, Loud Objects, Nadja, Trimpin, Knurl and many others. $15-$60. www.myspace.com/electriceclectics.