Summer Festival Season Preview

The days are longer, patios are busy with patrons, t-shirts are beginning to dominate the weekend daily attire, and there is an all-around pleasantness to people in general. What this means is that summer is right around the corner, which also puts us directly upon the path of the summer festival scene.  To get you started on your musical adventures this season, we here at Hafilax have put together a list of musical festivals you should definitely check out.  As more dates/festivals appear the list will be updated. If you or someone you know might be a part of a festival not listed, please let us know and we’ll get it in there.

What – Feels Good Folly FestFolly Fest

When – June 24th – 26th

Where – Gagetown, N.B.

The festival that seems to have a little bit of everything.  From mid-afternoon folk sessions within the tenting campground area to late night dance parties, Folly Fest has become a popular weekend for those looking to kick back, relax and enjoy living within the music.  You won’t want to miss sets from TAUK, Shred Kelly, Earthbound Trio and The Barrowdowns.


What – Makin’ Waves Concert SeriesMakin'Waves

When – Every Thursday during the month of July

Where – Wentworth Park, Sydney N.S.

Laura Smith, The Saides, Genevieve Fisher, Adam Baldwin and The Town Heroes will all grace the stage, located in downtown Sydney, Nova Scotia, during the entire month of July.  In blending a mix of folk, country and rock, the Makin’ Waves Concert Series is a perfect way to spend each Thursday of the month taking in some new and exciting music.


What – Canada DayIMG_2043

When – July 1st

Where – Alderney Landing, Dartmouth, N.S.

One of my favourite acts from the 2015 Halifax Pop Explosion, Dear Rouge, make their return to the East Coast to headline this indie-fused event which will no doubt surprise all in attendance.  Born Ruffians, Yukon Blonde, Reeny Smith and Kid Koala round out the rest of the artists to perform on our country’s big day.


StanRogersFolkFestWhat – Stan Rogers Folk Festival

When – July 1st – 3rd

Where – Canso, N.S. (Guysborough County)

Arlo Guthrie and Natalie MacMaster headline a festival loaded with some of the best folk musicians the East Coast of Canada has to offer. Newbies, Hillsburn, Tomato Tomato and Port Cities bring a youth movement to a weekend which also brings back fan favourites Bruce Guthro, Dave Gunning, Garnet Rogers and JP Cormier.


What – Gridlock FestivalGridlock

When – July 8th – 10th

Where – Halifax, N.S.

Taking place on the Spatz Theatre/Citadel High School grounds, the brand new Gridlock Festival has put together a lineup consisting of both local and international indie darlings.  Local rockers Wintersleep will take the stage for the first time since they released their most recent album The Great Detachment, while other Canadian acts Wolf Parade, The Rural Alberta Advantage and The Vogue Dots help round out a stellar line-up consisting of American indie rockers American Football and Philadelphia punk rockers Beach Slang.


What – EvolveEvolve Festival

When – July 8th – 10th

Where – Beersville, N.B. (outside of Moncton)

Up until a few weeks ago, the 2016 edition of the Evolve Festival had seemed destined to find itself with nowhere to go. A revoked special event license from the county of Antigonish had all but sealed the fate for this popular annual festival. But what is one man’s trash can easily become another’s treasure. With time pitted against him, festival organizer Jonas Colter has miraculously found a brand new home that seems to be the perfect location for this annual party. Hip-hop extraordinaire Danny Brown returns to the East Coast to help bolster a lineup consisting of Black Tiger Sex Machine, Skratch Bastid and Dub FX.


What – Halifax Jazz FestivalHalifaxJazzFest

When – July 12th – 17th

Where – Halifax, N.S.

The Halifax Jazz Festival marks its 30th anniversary show in grand fashion. International superstar and Grammy award winner Lauryn Hill headlines a week full of music that will can only be described as impressive. Canadian acts Metric and City and Colour will please all of the mainstream folk attending the festival, while Thundercat, Cyndi Cain, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Chronos Band are sure to tickle the jazz in everyone.


What – Acoustic MaritimMaritime Acoustice Music Festival

When – July 14th – 17th

Where – Kempt Shore Ocean View Campground

The hidden gem of the summer music festival scene. Not only are you able to lay your head under the stars on the beautiful grounds of the Ocean View Campground, but you will also have the pleasure of spending four nights enjoying some of the finest acoustic musicians Nova Scotia has to offer. David Myles, J.P. Cormier, Charlie A’Court and Ian Sherwood are all can’t-miss acts.


What – Maritime Metal & Hard Rock FestivalMaritimeMetal

When – July 22nd, 23rd

Where – Hants County Exhibition Grounds, Windsor N.S.

Taking place on the Hants County Exhibition Grounds, the fourth edition of the Maritime Metal & Hard Rock Festival brings some of the most talented rockers the East Coast has to offer.  Black Moor, Chaos Theory and Tri City Villains will make the quick trip down the road from Halifax, to show one and all that you don’t need to be international rockstars to absolutely slay a festival.


What – Smokin’ Blues FestSmokinBlues

When – July 29th, 30th

Where – Hants County Exhibition Grounds, Windsor N.S.

The East Coast has quietly become a hot bed for blues music within the Canadian landscape. With the Dutch Mason Blues Festival looking as though it could be another year until it returns, Jay Chetwynd has put together a lineup sure to please blues fans young and old. Blues mainstays Theresa Malefant and the Terry Edmunds Band bring a swagger and experience that can only be gained by playing festivals such as the Smokin’ Blues Fest, while new kid on the block Roxy & The Underground Soul Sound bring their infectious brand of R&B and funk.


What – The Riverfront JubileeJubilee

When – July 29th – 31st

Where – New Glasgow, N.S.

With The Glorious Sons, The Arkells and Burton Cummings headlining this 3-day festival, it’s safe to say that Canadian content is alive and well. Hard rockers The Motorleague head up a stellar supporting cast which also includes the likes of PEI rockers Coyote and a re-formed Jimmy Swift Band.

About the author


Jeff is one-fourth of the group that makes up HAFILAX. His usual ramblings can be read right here on the website. If reading isn't your thing, he also hosts the Basement Tapes podcast.