large crowd

Whether it was a music festival, art festival or culinary festival, chances are you’ve attended a festival and had the time of your life, or you know someone who has. All around the world people gather for festivals for a number of reasons: they’re fun, and a great opportunity to interact with new people and feel like you’re part of a larger community. Plus, you get great value for your money when you participate in these life-changing experiences. Canadian festivals are no different. We’ve compiled a list of Canadian summer festivals you need to add to your itinerary ASAP:

1. The Edmonton Fringe Festival

The Edmonton Fringe Festival is back! For those who don’t know Fringe festivals happen all over the world and celebrate off the beaten path entertainment. What may surprise many is that Edmonton Fringe – happening this year from August 11-21 – is the biggest fringe fest in North America and the second biggest in the world, second only to founding city, Edinburgh, Scotland. And Fringe is just the beginning! Of course, we all known that the Calgary Stampede is back and in full swing. It’ll continue until July 17 and along with all of the midway rides and bucking broncos, “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” will host concerts by the world’s top music acts; an exhilarating rodeo; agricultural showcases; and the phenomenal Elbow River Camp, where local First Nations sell jewelry, art and food, teach traditional dancing, and celebrate their culture.

2. The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE)

The Pacific National Exhibition, or PNE, has been an annual Vancouver fair for over 100 years. This year it runs from August 29 – September 5. You’ll find rides, shows, farm animals and midway games. And a big draw are the incredible concerts. This year those concerts include artists like Chicago, Steve Miller Band, , Gipsy Kings, The B52s, Blue Rodeo, TLC & Shaggy, Chaka Khan & Patti LaBelle, The Barenaked Ladies with special guest Kim Mitchell and The Beach Boys. Plus, The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is offering a tribute to the Beatles. It is definitely the place to be this summer if you’re pining for some live music.

purple lights crowd holding up their hands and cell phones

3. Boots and Hearts Festival

From August 4-7, Ontario’s Boots and Hearts Festival celebrates all things country music. The festival is Canada’s largest camping country music festival and it is held annually in Oro-Medonte, Ontario, at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds. You can pitch a tent or park your RV to make the most of the four-day event. This year’s guest of honour is none other than Shania Twain in what will be her only North American festival performance for 2022 and her first-ever appearance at a Canadian music festival! You can also catch Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, Dustin Lynch, Russell Dickerson, Lindsay Ell, and more at the event.

4. Osheaga

Canadian summer festivals have no shortage of incredible events. This year will mark the 15th anniversary of the OSHEAGA Music and Arts Festival in Montreal. The festival takes over Parc Jean-Drapeau from July 29 to 31, and it is a who’s who of entertainment. Headliners include Arcade Fire, Future and Dua Lipa,! It all happens in a state-of-the-art setting overlooking the gorgeous Montreal skyline.

5. Buskerfest Festival

Buskerfest is back! For two years they had to move the event to a virtual event and reduced capacity shows, but this year’s event (taking place July 27-August 1) not only brings back the fun we know and love, but it’s bigger! In addition to the traditional Halifax location, you’ll also now be able to take in events on the Dartmouth waterfront. There will be performances, food and craft vendors, midway rides and family-friendly fun throughout. About 250,000 people attend this annual event and this year is bound to be fantastic.

light showing a band performing

6. Charlottetown Festival

From now until September 24, Charlottetown Festival–the largest musical theatre festival in Atlantic Canada since 1965—takes place. Featuring the finest performers, designers, writers, and musicians, the Festival is a professional theatre showcase that celebrates Canadian stories, exploring our origins, ideals, and ongoing evolution. 2022 shows include Anne of Green Gables, the musical; Hey Viola! (A play about Viola Desmond, the face of Canada’s new $10 bill) and more).

7. Folk on the Rocks

Between the fifteenth and seventh of July, Yellowknife enjoys the Folk on the Rocks festival, which is one of Canada’s top summertime music and cultural festivals takes the stage at Long Lake for a weekend of fine local, national and global music, plus specialty food, arts and crafts. Folk on the Rocks’ unique mix of 50% southern, and 50% northern musical acts results in a culturally diverse program for both artists and audiences to experience.

8. Discovery Days

Dawson City celebrates a rich and unique history with a weekend festival known as Discovery Days. From family-friendly events such as a parade and a pipe band on the Midnight Dome to a literary tour, fastball tournament and arts festival.

9. PEI International Shellfish Festival

From September 15-18, this four-day festival is packed with culinary demos, celebrity chefs, and unforgettably delicious dining experiences (from the best potato seafood chowder and oyster shucking competitions).

There’s nothing quite like standing in a crowd and listening to your favourite musician play your favourite song. It’s an unforgettable feeling. Or, perhaps you’re more of a reading fan, and you find yourself looking forward to events like the aforementioned literary tour at Discovery Days. Either way, visiting Canadian summer festivals is an amazing way for you and your loved ones to get out there and enjoy what each city has to offer. 

three people standing on top of other people shoulders

For more on Canadian summer festivals, check out Heather Greenwood Davis’ appearance on The Morning Show, where she discusses 5 Canadian summer festivals you’ll love visiting this summer.