Photo cred - Marketing Mag
Music festivals are no longer hush-hush forms of paradise. Some still offer their own slabs of nirvana (i.e. Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, Burning Man), but nearly every town/city/county has an event they can call their own. Bigger music capitals on the other hand are flourishing and a prime example is The 6. Toronto has a created a niche fest for every clique - including hip indie dads, hxcore kids, rap heads, and teens that just want to run the trap - and these ten gatherings are a must for music addicts.
Canadian Music Week
Hundreds of bands? Check. Awesome unknown indie talent? Check. Extended last call? Double check. Canadian Music Week has its strengths - especially since it's officially staying in the month of May - but it has a lot of work to do to make sure it doesn't cheat music fans. Doubters still feel as if it should take place in October and it's anyone's guess as to who will succeed headliners such as M.I.A. and Rihanna.
Are you all about that bass? No, seriously. If you love wilin' out on your
best-friend-who-is-kinda-cute-but-no buddy's shoulders, then Digital Dreams is for you. Bud Light and Live Nation's electronic music event became a staple in 2014 thanks to sets from Tiesto, Justice, and Luciano, and this year, Ontario Place is already confirmed to be overrun by Armin Van Buuren. Let the fist pumping begin.
Electric Island are still growing in terms of popularity, but their eclectic nature provides a new experience. Like who would have thought people of all ages and all bikinis would travel to Centre Island for a full serving of DJ sets? Electric's headliners appeal to real electronic music fans - think underground but sort of mainstream but sort of not - and it's only a matter of time before bigger names (Jamie xx, Aphex Twin) play the ferry-friendly fest.
Photo cred - BLARE
Arts & Crafts' Field Trip festival wasn't supposed to be annual event, but their anniversary party eventually turned into a indie'd-out series for the masses. On paper, Field Trip is designed for those who are still emo over Broken Social Scene's demise, but in person, it's a Bonnaroovian transplant that keeps the indie rock coming and the cold-pressed juices flowing. Not to mention an assortment of food trucks and tents that will make sure a little bit of food gets caught in your mustache.
There's a giant neon question mark hanging over the name Lollapalooza Toronto and it's because organizers have been scarce on the details. August 2015 seems to be the date, but will it run on the same weekend as Lolla Chicago? What does this mean for Montreal's Osheaga Fest? Where the hell is it going to take place? To be blunt - who cares? Lollapalooza ruled this past summer - as it featured headliners such as Eminem, Outkast, Skrillex, and Kings Of Leon - and Lolla TO will likely get loud.
North By Northeast
Even though North By Northeast is pretty similar to CMW (it's time to join hands guys), it's still a sister to Austin, TX's South By Southwest. NXNE's organizers want to bring the essence of SX to Toronto in 2015 and they've started that quest with two new partnerships - moving their Interactive conference to MaRS and giving Pitchfork the opportunity to curate the music lineup. VICE Media did a solid job last year (remember Spoon?), but Pitchfork's bound to take things up a notch by showcasing more hypes and unknowns, and the odd legend or two.
Though you may want to, don't ever underestimate OVO Fest. Drake's homegrown event didn't miss a beat this year with Outkast being a once-in-a-lifetime headliner, but it was the smaller additions that turned the two-day jaunt into a full-blown phenomenon. The proof was just in the music as OVO 14' featured the likes of Usher, G-Unit, Trey Songz, Lauryn Hill, J. Cole, YG, Jhene Aiko, Tinashe, DJ Khaled, PartyNextDoor, and Majid Jordan.
Riot Fest Toronto
ICYMI in its entirety in September, Riot Fest Toronto has literally become Warped Tour for adults. This year's northern take on Riot Fest Chicago presented one of the biggest alternative bills the city has ever seen (yes, even bigger than the now-defunct Virgin Fest) and it also happened to put the spotlight on a few underground bands that would make any Epitaph/SideOneDummy/No Sleep fan a happy, happy kid. It'll be interesting to see how the punk rock weekend approaches 2015 and we really wouldn't be surprised if Refused made a cameo.
Photo cred - Torontoist
Toronto Urban Roots Fest
TURF's greatest strength is that it's not your average festival. In more ways than none, Jeff Cohen's brainchild took bits of Edgefest and Ottawa Bluesfest, and created an event that takes you to the bar during the week and then leads you into the great outdoors on the weekend. The spectacle's 2014 lineup was a little on the small side, but it was packed with a lot of names, including Jeff Tweedy, Beirut, Jenny Lewis, and Neutral Milk Hotel.
VELD Music Festival
Whereas Digital Dreams intros a summer full of dubstep, VELD is its ultimate peak. INK Ent.'s summer venture went full throttle in 2014 - showcasing the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Calvin Harris, Zedd, Iggy Azalea, and Waka Flocka Flame - and it'll have to do the same in 2015 to compete on the busiest holiday weekend of the year. Will it succeed in doing so? Probably. Why? It's only a matter of time before they get Avicii and Steve Aoki to headline the VELD stage.