By: Chantel Ouellet, Michaela Fuchs
It’s summer my dudes and do you know what that means? MUSIC FESTIVALS … and summer jobs. Typically, these two things don’t go together so well. Music festivals are expensive, and labouring away at your summer jobs can suck, so having to labour away even more just to afford one is awful. Then, when the time comes around to go to a music festival you have to request time off and are forced to simply watch as your bank account slowly but surely empties. This summer, however, is going to be different. We’ve compiled a list of what we at the newspaper believe to be the best festivals to attend. We also supplied our top secret tips and tricks to make it affordable. We implore you to get crafty with your methods of money saving—it will all be worth it in the end when you look back on summer sixteen with fondness for all the great memories you’ve created!
Photo Credits: Ivy Lovell
NORTH BY NORTHEAST (NXNE)
Date: June 13 to June 19
Location: Various locations in Toronto, ON
Synopsis: NXNE is a weeklong festival that takes place all over the city of Toronto. The festival is trying something new this year and offering up two different ways to experience the music. They have Club Land and Port Lands: Club Land is a combination of the various shows going on at different venues throughout the week, while Port Lands is a weekend festival held exclusively at the Port Lands in East Toronto. Port Lands looks to have a more classic festival vibe, while Club Land stays true to NXNE roots and becomes one with the city. This is the perfect low-commitment festival to kick off the festival season.
Notable Acts: Schoolboy Q, Father John Misty, Mother Mother, The Zolas, The Joy Formidable, and MSTRKRFT
Travel: TTC, Uber (fare split though, am I right?)
Accommodation: Sleep in your own bed, or a friend’s! We don’t judge.
Pro Tips: If you go on NXNE’s website and look through the acts there is an option to log in with Facebook. If you do that, you can read through and click the acts that interest you and it will generate a personalized schedule. This can help you plan what tickets best suit the artists you’d like to see.
Photo Credits: Rachael Doyle
Date: July 22 to July 24
Location: Oro-Medonte, near Barrie, ON
Synopsis: WayHome is a great camping festival experience—imagine a classier Woodstock. The festival caters to a multitude of music genres, making it a fantastic time to enjoy tunes that you love, while also getting to experience new ones. Wayhome creates a second home for us city folk and allows us to indulge in an amazing community surrounded by nature, music, and an overall great time!
Notable Acts: Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Metric, The Killers, Mac Demarco, M83, FKA twigs, and Haim
Travel: Try out the Bus Shuttle “Sharebus” (roundtrips to the festival from multiple locations), or you can take the GO Train/GO Bus—better yet, become buddies with fellow Wayhome participators and carpool!
Accommodation: There’s festival camping, or you can stay in a hotel in surrounding areas (Orillia or Barrie). The campsites accommodate up to six people, so reach out and share a site. This will cut down on cost and guarantee that every moment is a party.
Pro Tips: Pack your own food and alcohol—this will save you TONS of money that would have otherwise been spent at the venue (like me last year, where I spent $200 for food and drinks—no thanks). Put your money to better use and buy something from the merch stand; invest in your memories! Also make sure you bring a tarp or something that can create your own little “shade-cave” at your camping site—no one wants a sunstroke.
Photo retrieved from bestival.ca
Date: June 11 to June 12
Location: Woodbine Park, Toronto, ON
Synopsis: The dream of the ’60s is still alive as Bestival enters its second year on the Canadian music festival circuit. Bestival is known for its colorful, psychedelic, and artistic presence. It makes your craziest, most joyful trip a reality in its equal parts arts and music orientation. It is notable both for its artistic installations as well as its killer line up. So, order some body paint online, gather your most “far out” outfits, and hop on the 501 to catch the music festival of a lifetime.
Notable Acts: Grimes, Tame Impala, Odesza, The Cure, and Madeon
Travel: The best way to get to Toronto from around Ontario is probably using one of the many methods of GO transit. However, if you are coming from up north and can get to Barrie, there is an Ontario Northland Bus that runs to Yorkdale. It is a direct trip so it clocks in at exactly one hour, and with student ID it is roughly $10 one way. Once you get to Toronto, you can take the TTC to the park. Specifically, you will want to jump on the 501 Queen West streetcar. It will drop you off right out front of Woodbine, where the festival takes place.
Accommodation: This is being held in Toronto, so we would recommend you text up some friends you may have lost contact with from high school who moved to the city and ask to crash on their couch. Hey, invite them to the concert while you’re at it! The more the merrier. If that doesn’t work out you can always Airbnb, find a cheap (read: sketchy) hotel, or stay at a student hostel. This is Toronto—there is always some place you can stay.
Pro Tips: Be sure to take advantage of all the work the festival organizers put into the Beyond The Music portion of the festival by spending some time at The Cosmic Commune (“the intergalactic hub of far out happenings”), The Bestival Inflatable Church, The Costume Parade, and, of course, The Yarn Bombing Installation.
Photo Credits: John Quarrie
Date: July 7 to July 17
Location: Ottawa, ON
Synopsis: RBC Bluesfest is a nine-day festival that that happens over two weekends. It runs Thursday through Sunday for the first weekend and then Wednesday through Sunday for the second. Tickets can be purchased for the festival in its entirety, for three days, for five days, or as a single day pass. The festival starts at 5 p.m. on weeknights and 12:30 p.m. on weekends. The festival is family friendly with onsite attractions such as various party areas, a carnival area, and a youth art showcase. The line up is also super eclectic, with something for everyone.
Notable Acts: Billy Idol, Peter Bjorn and John, Brad Paisley, Earl Sweatshirt, The Lumineers, Yukon Blonde, Madeon, Alessia Cara, Death From Above 1979, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Future, Wolf Parade, and City and Color
Travel: Ottawa is not too far from the Toronto area, and considering how many people from this area weekend in Montreal, it is definitely possible to get there. Greyhound buses from Toronto to Ottawa can be purchased online for roughly $35 each way. There is also the VIA Rail, which is pricier yet much faster.
Accommodation: The festival takes place in downtown Ottawa so there is a plethora of accommodation options. The festival’s official website offers 12 hotel recommendations ranging from $129/night to $179/night. If that is too steep there are student hostels in the city as well, including one that is located in an old jail. The HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel prices vary, with the lowest being roughly $30/night. Your last option would be to Airbnb it. A quick look on their site for the dates of the festival show rooms for as cheap as $20/night. As we like to say here at the newspaper, if there is a will, there is most definitely a way.
Pro Tips: Ottawa’s city transit is called the OC (their equivalent to our TTC), and it operates using PRESTO, so you can travel throughout the city easily if you have a card. The festival is based downtown, so be sure to make use of your time during the weekdays by checking out some other nearby attractions in the city.
Photo retrieved from fieldtriplife.com
Date: June 4 to June 5
Location: Fort York Garrison Commons, Toronto, ON
Synopsis: Field Trip is an amazing event for some innocent summer fun. It attracts both young adults and families alike to enjoy the historic venue while listening to famous musicians. Being held downtown, it is a stress-free time without having to plan ahead—just buy your day pass or a full weekend pass and go!
Notable Acts: July Talk, The National, Robyn, Santigold, Of Montreal, Jazz Cartier, and Holy Fuck
Travel: Since this festival takes place downtown, you can easily access it by TTC, or you can Uber!
Accommodation: You get to go home after a long day of dancing along to music in the sun—or couch surf with some friends.
Pro Tips: Bring a blanket you don’t care about to lie down on while enjoying the performances—trust me, you do not want to be standing the whole day. Also, bring a reusable water bottle, as they provide free water stations—stay hydrated, my friends!
Photo Credits: Stephen McGill
Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF)
Date: September 15 to September 19
Location: Fort York Garrison Commons, Toronto, ON
Synopsis: TURF is a great way to end the festival season. Mainly focusing on the rock/folk genres, TURF has brought many of the world’s greatest musicians to perform for the sun-kissed people of Toronto. This is an all-ages event, so you can go with your friends or family and jam on into the new school season!
Notable Acts: James Bay, Death Cab For Cutie, Barenaked Ladies, Dropkick Murphy, The Sheepdogs, and Okkervil River
Travel: You can brave the TTC for a cheap and easy commute, or you can spend a few extra dollars and Uber.
Accommodation: Being held in downtown Toronto, you can easily go home and sleep in your comfy bed, or you can meet some friends and stay at their place!
Pro Tips: Even though the summer sun might appear to be done, remember to lather up with sunscreen (which we pretend we always do anyways … right?). Just like Field Trip, bringing a blanket to sit on isn’t a bad idea either, unless you want to burn some extra calories standing all weekend.
This article was originally published on our old website at https://thenewspaper.ca/the-arts/the-newspapers-summer-sixteen-festival-guide/.