There's a battle brewing for Afrobeat supremacy in Toronto this summer, with local appearances by Antibalas (at the the Opera House, June 29, $20-$25), Afrodizz (at Yonge-Dundas Square, June 22, free) and NOMO (El Mocambo, July 6, $10.50), but the two main contenders are both sons of the music's chief architect, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Although Femi Kuti , who headlines the Hi-Life Festival at the Docks July 1 ($35), has an established following for his forward-looking Afrobeat fusion, he'll have to step up his game now that his ambitious little brother Seun Kuti - Fela's youngest son - is fronting a revitalized version of his dad's mighty Egypt 80 ensemble, making their Toronto debut two days earlier at Harbourfront Centre June 29 ($25-$30). It'll be exciting to see how this all shakes down. www.myspace.com/seunkuti.
The always unpredictable Björk is back at V-fest September 8.
Bringing the summer concert festival season to a close in grand fashion is this year's model of V Fest , which boasts performances by Björk , the Killers , Interpol , Tokyo Police Club , Paolo Nutini and the reunited Smashing Pumpkins playing songs from their new Zeitgeist album (due out on Reprise/Warner July 10). However, the celebrity headliners may be upstaged by fast-rising Brit soul sensation Amy Winehouse . Hopefully, those in charge of putting the V Fest Toronto Island weekend together September 8 and 9 will learn from the foolish Coachella mistake of relegating Winehouse to the Gobi Tent (the event's smallest available stage), leaving hundreds of angry fans stuck outside trying to catch a glimpse of her performance. Considering that people were willing to drop $200 to see one of Winehouse's sold-out shows at the Mod Club, the V Fest pass seems like a bargain at $138. www.virginfestival.com
Look, Ma, I'm raving
Despite speculation that last year's three-day World Electronic Music Festival would be the last, Destiny are back at it again July 20 to 22 at an outdoor location to be announced. Details on the lineup of performers are still under wraps, but last year saw them widening their focus to include indie rock bands along with the DJ stages that have rocked the crowds for the last 12 years. For more info and to buy advance tickets ($75), check www.wemf.com or call Ticketmaster.
Colour me rad
Even if Cyndi Lauper 's inaugural 15-city True Colours tour didn't have a divine lineup, it'd be worth checking out. After all, the feminist pop pioneer and long-time queer ally assembled her travelling roadshow for the express purpose of raising funds for and awareness around the Human Rights Campaign (a buck per ticket goes to the group, which is the largest LGBTQ equal rights organization in the States). The fact that she's created a fantastic show, featuring both diva legends like Debbie Harry and indie heroes like soul-punk hellraisers the Gossip and local garage-pop posse the Cliks should be enough to make any girl with half a clue just wanna have fun down at the Molson Amphitheatre June 19 ($42.50-$95.50). www.truecolorstour.com
Any Canadian with the slightest inclination toward the independent music scene already knows the last half-decade or so marks an all-time high in national pride around the spectacular artists making noise in this country. And what better way to show your true patriot rock 'n' roll love than by taking in the sweet sounds of the annual outdoor Canada Day bash at Harbourfront Centre? Carrying on its tradition of celebrating the nation's birthday with the best indie artists carrying Canadian passports, this year's July 1 roster includes Aboriginal roots innovators Digging Roots and the one-two punch of loopy violin virtuoso Final Fantasy and Toronto post-rock faves Do Make Say Think , capped off with a once-in-a-lifetime collaborative set featuring the Do Makes' own Fantasy spin. Free. www.harbourfrontcentre.com.
Philly hiphop heavyweights the Roots deliver consistently killer live performances in any context, but only a fool would pass up the opportunity to nod along to the Illadelph beatmasters while chillin' on (and smoking) a wide expanse of grass. You'll get your chance to see the Roots rockin' al fresco when they hit Historic Fort York July 29 ($49.50). Do you want more?! Also in the Fort: African-American hardcore legends Bad Brains , righteous North Carolina rappers Little Brother , hacky-sack reggae-popsters Bedouin Soundclash and Broken Socialite Andrew Whiteman 's trippy Apostle of Hustle ensemble. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Yonge at heart
It's taken a few years for the folks trying to make Yonge-Dundas Square a hub for community culture to find their sea legs. But after a few wobbly rounds, they've managed to book a super-strong roster of fab free talent that just might transform the forbidding swath of concrete from WiFi-wired Hard Rock Café parking lot into fan-packed open-air concert destination. Some of the highlights, apart from the above-mentioned Afrodizz, are rising Steeltown jazz threat Diana Panton (July 11, 12:30 pm), local steelpan calypso fusionists Canefire (August 3, 8 pm), wicked-hot piano-pounding dance-floor groove siren Elizabeth Shepherd (August 8, 12:30 pm) and tons more. www.ydsquare.ca.