Janelle Monáe plays Nathan Phillips Square June 22 as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival.
They've come a long way since their 1992 alt-rock hit, Creep, becoming one of the world's biggest, most influential bands despite their increasingly experimental sound. The UK act has brought acclaimed Canadian electronic pop musician Caribou along on this tour, so there should be lots of dancing even if they decide to focus on their sleepy newest material. Too bad it's the same weekend as NXNE, but who's complaining about too much good music? Radiohead play Downsview Park on June 16. ticketmaster.ca.
Toronto Jazz Festival
The increasingly eclectic (and decreasingly jazz-focused) festival has another great roster of acts this year. Highlights include futuristic soul singer Janelle Monáe, the moody indie rock of Destroyer, veteran R&B survivor Bettye LaVette, influential guitar wizard Bill Frisell (playing John Lennon songs), jazz/hip-hop fusionist Robert Glasper, jazz funk hero George Benson and far too many more to list. The fest runs June 22 to July 1 at various venues. torontojazz.com.
Dance music is back in a big way this summer, and this massive two-day festival is only one of many. However, with names like Richie Hawtin, Kaskade, Duck Sauce, Art Department, Afrojack, Major Lazer, Steve Lawler and dozens more, it's one of the biggest by far. The mega-event will also be an opportunity to see what it's like to party on the island formerly known as Ontario Place. June 30 and July 1 at the Flats at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. digitaldreamsfest.ca.
Beaches Jazz Fest
It might not have as many huge international names as its downtown big brother, but that's kind of the point of this east-end institution. Not only are the three mainstages free, but the sprawling StreetFest is an amazing excuse to shut down Queen East for a huge neighbourhood party. And compared to most big-ticket Canadian jazz fests, this one is still focused on jazz. July 20 to 29, various venues. beachesjazz.com.
The hugely popular alternative pop band is more suited than most to rock the big arenas, and you know most of the crowd will be singing along to every single word. If you're checking out either of Coldplay's two Toronto dates, make sure you get there early enough to catch opener Emeli Sandé, who made an impression earlier this year at her Canadian debut at the Drake. July 23 and 24 at the Air Canada Centre. ticketmaster.ca.