Cost: Friday $55; Sat. and Sun. $80 each
Hillside is an outdoor, all-around hippy fest on Guelph Lake Island. The 30-year-old festival’s vision statement says Hillside “will create a more vibrant and caring world by promoting altruism, equality, environmentalism, and peacemaking,” so that should give show-goers an idea what they’re getting into. The three-day event incorporates musical performances with spoken word, drum and dancing, craft vendors, and workshops like “how to make your own toothpaste.”
Notable acts: Tegan and Sara, Hollerado, Hey Rosetta!, Bry Webb (of Broken Social Scene)
Big Music Fest
Cost: $69.50 for a day pass, $99.50 for a two-day pass. Friday is free
This brand new festival is bringing big classic rock names to McLennen Park in Kitchener. The event sparked some controversy when announced as residents in the area were not informed beforehand. Noise and litter concerns are rampant amongst neighbours in the area, but that won’t stop up to 24,000 people gathering to relive the good ol’ days of rock. The Friday night event is a free battle of the bands.
Notable acts: Bryan Adams, Aerosmith, Slash, and Collective Soul
June 21-22 (Corrected: article originally stated incorrect dates of June 22-23)
The Kitchener Multicultural Festival has been around for over 40 years. The festival takes over Victoria Park for a weekend, celebrating the diverse cultures represented in Kitchener-Waterloo. Ethnic food and cultural craft vendors fill the park, along with traditional song and dance performances.
Every year, people flock to the streets of downtown Kitchener as it’s transformed into an outdoor festival space. A main stage goes up in Victoria Park and on King Street in front of city hall for this volunteer-driven festival. The event has drawn big names from blues in the past and includes tribute and cover bands Saturday night, the OLG Clocktower Stage will boast a tribute to Motown with a collection of performers.
Notable acts:Buddy Guy, Beau Soleil and Otis Taylor Band
Cost: Weekend pass $75
Taking over downtown Elora, Riverfest unites musicians with local food and artisans for a two-day outdoor event. This year the festival has attracted arguably much bigger names than past years. Still new (founded in 2009), the festival has expanded quickly from a one-day shindig with 700 people crammed into the tiny grounds at Elora’s Centre for the Arts to a much -anticipated weekend at the town’s Bissell Park.
Notable acts: Blue Rodeo, Serena Ryder, Arkells, and Charles Bradley
KW Ribfest and Craft Beer Show
The KW Ribfest and Craft Beer Show is entering its 11th year at Victoria Park. The event brings together food, beer, and live music for a family-friendly weekend.
This year, breweries like Lake of Bays, Amsterdam, and Steam Whistle have all signed on to display their products. Those wishing to sample can purchase wristbands for $6, which also gets you a glass. Each sample is $1. Despite the name, ribs and beer are not the only thing for attendees. The event draws a variety of food and beverage companies, as well as retail vendors.