Some of my most cherished experiences happened at summer music festivals—from scanning the schedules and planning the road trips to meeting new friends and, of course, identifying new musicians and artists. Here at Musicworks, we’re discovering more must-see festivals and events every day, and are inspired by the organizations dedicated to bringing artists and listeners together.
Take a closer look at ten exciting music festivals taking place across Canada this summer!
—Jessie Rivést, Manager

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Toronto Summer Music
July 13–August 5 in Toronto, Ontario
Toronto Summer Music 2017 will explore the music of Canada and feature the very best of Canada’s many world-renowned classical performers in Jonathan Crow’s inaugural summer as Artistic Director! Don’t miss a special one-week residency featuring James Ehnes, a tribute to beloved Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti, cherished leading ensembles such as the St. Lawrence and Rolston String Quartets, our own National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and festive TSM traditions A Night at the Opera and the Last Night of the Festival, eh! Join us July 13 to August 5 at Koerner Hall, Walter Hall, and Heliconian Hall.

Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville
May 18–21 in Victoriaville, Quebec
The 33rd Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville will be held May 18 to 21, 2017, and present Bill Coleman and Gordon Monahan’s “Dollhouse,” Colin Stetson’s “Sorrow,” Linda Sharrock, Senyawa, Terry Riley, Tim Brady Grand Ensemble, Nate Wooley’s “Seven Storey Mountain V,” The Nels Cline Four, Anthony Braxton Solo, René Lussier Quintette and many more. Join us for four days of concerts, sound art installations in public spaces, films, and visual arts!

21C Music Festival
May 24–28 at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, Ontario
Hear fresh new sounds and ideas from today’s most innovative musicians. Nine concerts. Five days. More than twenty-one premieres! 21C marks Canada 150 with the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra conducted by Johannes Debus, Cecilia String Quartet, Angèle Dubeau, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Brian Current, Unsuk Chin, and many more. Tickets  and Festival passes are on sale now. Presented by The Royal Conservatory of Music.

TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival
June 22–July 2 in Vancouver, British Columbia
Presented by the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, the 32nd annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival features 1,800 local and international musicians across 300 performances in 35 top-tier venues. Headliners include Brazilian singer-songwriter Seu Jorge, world-fusion powerhouse Thievery Corporation, Syrian sensation Omar Souleyman, and pop-reggae superstar Ziggy Marley among many others. Highlights include a free outdoor Canada Day celebration on Granville Island, and two action-packed weekends of free, outdoor live music presented downtown.
As always, Coastal Jazz presents a comprehensive snapshot of Vancouver’s jazz and creative music scene. This year Frankie’s Jazz Club returns as Festival’s indoor epicentre for local jazz luminaries!

May 27–June 4 in Moncton, New Brunswick
RE:FLUX explores new frontiers in sound through experimentation and invites spectators to explore the space between musical conventions in order to find new sensorial possibilities. The festival offers an experience that transcends all expectations by reinventing music as we’ve come to know it, seeking its purpose without ever finding it. In this 12th edition, RE:FLUX is offering a plethora of activities including many musical and sound performances, art exhibits and installations, artist talks, workshops, a film screening, radio performances and a DJ after party. RE:FLUX is also proud to host Amanda Dawn Christie as artist-in-residence.

Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival (Ottawa Chamberfest)
July 22–August 4 in Ottawa, Ontario
In a summer where Ottawa will be humming with activity, Ottawa Chamberfest is an exciting showcase of what chamber music is, was, and is will be, curated to appeal to both the long-time fan and newcomer. Experience a two-week celebration of 500 years of music.
Founded in 1994, the Ottawa Chamber Music Society brings together the boldest names in ensemble and solo performance for musical celebration in the nation’s capital, culminating in the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival. The world’s largest festival of its kind, Ottawa Chamberfest is a 2017 Festivals and Events (FEO) Ontario “Top 100” Festival and winner of seven consecutive Lieutenant-Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 40th Anniversary
July 13–16, Jericho Beach Park, British Columbia
Vancouver Folk Music Festival runs July 13—16, presenting a roster of global folk and roots music from 20 different countries on seven summer beachfront stages. Over 60 acts are slated to perform, including Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, Grammy-winning folk songstress Shawn Colvin, Rhiannon Giddens from the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Kathleen Edwards,  Barenaked Ladies, Scotland's RURA, women's music icon, Ferron, Sidestepper from Colombia, Egypt's Ramy Essam, Haiti's Chouk Bwa Libète, Ontario bluegrassers The Slocan Ramblers, soulful singer Cold Specks, and many more! The festival also features the Little Folks Village, Artisan Market, Folk Bazaar, Community Village, Francophone Tent and an international Food Area offering a stunning array of delicious options. Children 12 and under are free.

Westben Arts Festival Theatre
Concerts at the Barn 2017 Season in Campbellford, Ontario
Westben offers up a multi-genre festival program in its 18th season, capturing performances of classical, jazz, folk, Broadway, fiddle and fun! On the classical front, audiences will be treated to Canadian greats, including pianists Angela Hewitt and Jan Lisiecki, the Canadian Brass, the Rolston Quartet (winners of the 2016 Banff String Quartet Competition), and international tenor legend Michael Schade. Jazzers will be thrilled to hear two-time JUNO winner Emilie-Claire Barlow while folk fans will jump at the opportunity to hear 2017 JUNO Songwriter of the Year nominee Donovan Woods! Keeping up the laughter, The Arrogant Worms will appear. After starting the Westben Concerts at The Barn in 2000, Westben founders Donna Bennett and Brian Finley have been appointed to the Order of Canada.

Riverfest Elora
August 18–20, Bissell Park, Elora, Ontario
Elora’s “little festival that could” has, over the last nine years, become one of Canada’s premier boutique festivals, offering top-tier headliners, up-and-coming indie bands, artisans, food trucks and craft brews, all within a majestically natural setting along the banks of the grand river. 2017 will mark the 3rd year of Riverfest Elora’s continued partnership with Dine Alone Records, which will be presenting the Dine Alone Records’ Wax On Wheels Stage. Stay tuned to the website for the full after-party schedule to be posted in the coming weeks!

OBEY Convention X
May 25–28 in Halifax, Nova Scotia
For the past ten years, the OBEY Convention Music & Arts Society has been presenting contemporary, underground music and art in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia. Beginning as a weekend of DIY shows organized by a few close friends, it has since blossomed into Atlantic Canada’s foremost presenter of the avant-garde and sonorous. Incorporating artists across genres and disciplines, OBEY’s tightly curated spring festival is like no other in the country. Audiences see the best in electronica, avant-jazz, punk, hip-hop, modern composition, noise, ambient, visual art, spoken word and beyond. Tickets and passes are on sale now!