NOW’s picks for the best music outside the 416
BLISS OUT UNDER THE SUN AT FESTIVALS JUST A SHORT HOP FROM THE BIG CITY
Twenty-five years in, Guelph’s Hillside Festival is still one of the most vibrant outdoor shindigs in Ontario. Booking old-school folk artists like Buffy Sainte-Marie alongside indie buzz bands like Final Fantasy means there’s something in it for pretty much everyone. They’ve also got Xavier Rudd, Tokyo Police Club, Loreena McKennitt and many more. Weekend passes are already sold out, but you can still grab day passes. Guelph Lake Island, Guelph Lake Conservation Area. July 24-26. $50-$60. hillsidefestival.ca
Wolfe Island Music Fest
Only a 20-minute ferry ride away from Kingston, the annual Wolfe Island Music Fest continues its tradition of strong up-and-coming acts, ranging from the bouncy electro-pop of Woodhands to the catchy folk pop of Sarah Harmer. Also on board this year are the D’Urbervilles, Rural Alberta Advantage, Holy Fuck, Ohbijou and Apostle of Hustle. The weekend pass includes camping, if you’re inclined to sleep under the stars. August 7-8. $15-$60. wolfeislandmusicfest.com.
Mariposa Folk Festival
It’s hard to believe that the Mariposa Folk Festival has been going since 1961 – it’s one of the few annual music festivals with that kind of history behind it. Though it’s gone through many changes over the years, these days it’s still pretty close to the original vision. If you’ve been wondering what Steven Page is up to since leaving the Barenaked Ladies, he’s on the bill this year, as are Scottish folk pop duo the Proclaimers, alongside younger acts like Luke Doucet and Jenn Grant. Tudhope Park, Orillia. July 35. $39-$94. mariposafolk.com.
So you’re yearning to listen to some live music outside in a rural setting but can’t stand anything related to folk. Experimental music fans get their chance to frolic in the fields at the Electric Eclectics festival, where weirdo rock is the name of the game. This year you can look forward to performances by Katie Stelmanis, I Can Put My Arm Back On, You Can’t, Damo Suzuki and Holy Fuck, among many more. July 31-August 2. Funny Farm, near Meaford. $35-$60. electric-eclectics.com.
Experimental rockers Holy Fuck get weird at the Electric Eclectics festival July 31-August 2. Day passes are still available for the wide-ranging Hillside Festival, with Xavier Rudd.