Summer might be over, but music festivals aren't
The Horseshoe, September 26-December 31
With venues closing all over Toronto, now seems like a good time to celebrate one of the longest running ones in the city. The bar is going big, with a lot of acts that are probably too big for the stage, many spanning the venue’s history, many for multiple nights. Highlights include three nights from Billy Bragg, two from the Constantines, Hollerado, the Tea Party, DOA, the Pursuit of Happiness and much more.
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Daniels Spectrum, Saturday, September 30
A brand new festival with a lineup and staff composed entirely of women, genderqueer and trans people, Venus Fest is a welcome alternative to the dude-heavy lineups all over the city. And the bill for the inaugural festival is totally stacked. Newly minted Polaris Prize winner Lido Pimienta will play, alongside festival founder Queen of Swords (aka Aerin Fogel), Weaves, Phèdre, DIANA, Ice Cream, The Highest Order, Madame Gandhi, Grouper and more. And don’t miss the after party at the brand new venue Less Bar, featuring DJ Hunx (of Dilly Dally), Videomancy and POSI VIBEZ.
918 Bathurst and Tranzac, October 11-15
The Music Gallery has been displaced from its home at the Church of St. George the Martyr, but this year’s new music festival fits its signature programming, all centred around a big concept. This year it’s Resistance, which stretches to include Chino Amobi, who runs the decolonial dance label NON, a joint production with Indigenous music platform RPM, a curatorial collaboration between LAL and Babely Shades headlined by Yamantaka // Sonic Titan side project Avrha and much more.
Various venues, October 12-15
One of the city’s longest running DIY festivals, this hardcore institution shows what you can do with good curation, an anti-discriminatory ethos and an adventurous but trustworthy booking policy. You only have to be curious about punk and you’ll find a ton to enjoy at this festival featuring Marbled Eye, L.O.T.I.O.N., Incendiary, Booji Boys and about a thousand more.
Lee’s Palace and the Cave, October 27
For six years now, Death 2 T.O. has been the indie, garage and punk scene’s best Halloween party, taking over the mantle from the old Fucked Up Fest. Bands dress up as other bands and play whole sets as them, letting fans (also in costume) headbang to Marilyn Manson or dance to Bowie, without $200 tickets or a time machine. This year, alas, is the final edition as Dan Burke and Elliott Jones cut out before it gets too stale. Expect all-star combos of local bands like Fake Palms, HSY, Dilly Dally and Vallens teaming up to take on Billy Idol, Sonic Youth, The Beatles, Shania Twain and more.
Head here for 10 must-see concerts of the Fall season.
This story is part of NOW’s Fall Music Preview.
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