North of Northwest: Canadian Summer Festival Outlook
Sick of Sasquatch? Bored with Bumbershoot? Just want more more more? Here’s North of Northwest’s second annual guide to Canadian summer music festivals.
Dawson City Music Festival July 15-17, Dawson City, Yukon
I’ve never heard DCMF described as anything but an amazing experience, a weekend of performances, creativity, and collaboration in a place whose very name conjures visions of adventure. This year Dawson City has drawn in the talents of performers as diverse as Vancouver’s indie folk-rock geniuses Yukon Blonde and dance punks Shout Out Out Out Out, each of whom drive the crowd to musical ecstasy in their own way. Also included on the lineup are Amelia Curran, Rich Aucoin, and Shotgun Jimmie.
Weekend passes are $125 and are on sale now.
NXNE June 13-19, Toronto
Naturally, Canada’s answer to SXSW has a more populist spin. NXNE is hosted in the country’s largest population center, and in addition to showcases and panels hosts free outdoor concerts by major artists right downtown.This year’s roster features everyone from Devo to the Dodos, including SotS favorites Shad, Land of Talk, Braids, P.S. I Love You, The Pack AD, and Dirty Beaches.
Wristbands are on sale now. Early bird pricing (through April 25) gets you a standard pass for $50 or priority access for $150.
Osheaga July 29-31, Montreal
A festival lover’s festival, Osheaga draws in the big names and this summer has added a third day to accommodate more of them. Headliners include Eminem, Elvis Costello, The Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie, and Broken Social Scene. Unlike most big festivals, though, Osheaga takes place minutes from an urban setting, offering chances for hotel accommodation, extra-festival tourism, and late-night poutine in the city the dish calls home.
Three-day passes range from $217.50 – $369.50 and are available now.
Regina Folk Festival August 5-7, Regina, Saskatchewan
Regina Folk brings Dan Mangan, Coeur de pirate, Braids, Andrew Bird, and Library Voices to Saskatchewan to join headliners k.d. lang and Taj Mahal.
Early bird weekend passes are on sale for $89.
Sappyfest July 29-31, Sackville, New Brunswick
Few festivals have more indie cred than one founded in part by former Eric’s Trip member and current solo songwriter Julie Doiron. Conceived in 2006 by Doiron and some friends as “a more feasible way to get all our friends together than a wedding,” the now-beloved Sappyfest will run for the sixth time this year. Though no lineup has been announced yet, there are reasons to feel optimistic: last year’s performers included Diamond Rings, P.S. I Love You, Cousins, Daniel, Fred & Julie, Hollerado, and Holy Fuck.
If you want to take the gamble, early bird passes are available now for $60.
Sled Island Music & Arts Festival June 22-25, Calgary, Alberta
Calgary’s Sled Island has booked a near-infinite lists of bands, including Dandy Warhols, Minus The Bear, Of Montreal, The Sword, Cursive, Thee Oh Sees, Justin Townes Earle, Wild Flag, Dum Dum Girls, Jeff The Brotherhood, and Starfucker. Do you like music? Then you will find something you like here.
Festival wristbands are on sale now for $179, or $349 for VIP access.
Winnipeg Folk Festival July 6-10, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Prefer to visit Winnipeg when the temperatures are measured in positive numbers? You’re probably smarter than I. Spend a few days enjoying the weather just outside of town and taking in sets by Blind Pilot, Dan Mangan, Chuck Prophet, Jeff Tweedy, Imaginary Cities, and Tegan and Sara.
Tickets are on sale now; 5-day festival + camping passes are $229.
Winnipeg International Jazz Festival June 16-25, Winnipeg, Manitoba
As most folk festivals aren’t just about folk, Winnipeg Jazz is not just about jazz. The festival’s Club Series hosts a varied line-up of independent artists like Blonde Redhead, Shad, and Quintron & Miss Pussycat, and the (free!) opening weekend offers Les Jupes, Royal Canoe, The Lytics, and The Appleseed Cast on an outdoor downtown stage.
Tickets are sold separately for Club Series and larger Theatre Series concerts, but one $75 pass allows access to all Club Series shows all week.
Wolfe Island Music Festival August 5-6, Kingston, Ontario
This festival has only announced a few names, but they’re doozies: Stars, Great Lake Swimmers, Plants and Animals, The Wooden Sky, and Jenn Grant.
$60 Early Bird weekend passes available May 20th.
WYRD III May 20, Edmonton, Alberta May 21, Calgary, Alberta May 22, Vancouver, BC
Cultivated by music website Weird Canada, this traveling one-day festival features 19 underground Canadian bands (this [http://weirdcanada.com/2009/07/safe-language/] is not those [http://www.myspace.com/feralchildrenseattle] Feral Children) on two stages. SotS crush-band Dirty Beaches and paganesque fog-folk mystery man Wyrd Visions are on the bill along with Makeout Videotape, Red Mass, GOBBLE GOBBLE, The Famines, and a “Secret Surprise Guest” to be announced May 10.