Probably the best part of living in Toronto is that you can never ever be bored…especially during the summer with so many festivals kicking off in June! Here are seven festivals we’re looking forward to this summer (not in any particular order):
1. BEACHES JAZZ FESTIVAL
It’s without a doubt that the Beaches Jazz Festival is one of the most happening fests of the summer…with a PACKED Queen street from Victoria Park to Woodbine, there’s an incredible abundance of talented musicians, enthusiastic dancers, and street food 🙂 This year is even BIGGER (the event is now THREE weeks from July 10-26 with the event linked to the Pan Am celebrations), so there will be a lot to do and see this summer at this festival alone. Our must-see acts for the festival are local veterans that we’re guilty of fan-girling each year:
- Soul Motivators (STREET FEST by The Gull & The Firkin July 23-25)
- Juice (STREET FEST by Essentia-Natural Memory Foam Mattresses July 23-25)
- KC Roberts & the Live Revolution (PAN AM Celebration Mainstage July 10 and STREET FEST by RBC July 23-25)
Each one is a high-energy multi-piece band that will make you forget you’ve dropped your chocolate covered beaver tail crowd surfing to see them. Though if you’re flexible with time and want to explore the music scene, you can’t go wrong making a day of the street fest simply walking the entire stretch of Queen Street East.
2. TD TORONTO JAZZ FESTIVAL
With multiple venues including a large number of free shows, it always makes us happy when the TD Toronto Jazz Festival rolls around. Okay, we’re a tad biased – since we have a show as part of the festival haha nonetheless, we do like seeing the range of talent that fills our city for two weeks (this year from June 18-29) and it’s not as crazy, overwhelming as the Beaches Jazz Fest. Some shows we think are worth checking out:
- JUNE 19, 2015: Arlene Paculan & The Cool Ones, ft. James Faulkner, Matt Morgan and The Muso Project (at Habits Gastro Pub)
- JUNE 22, 2015: Soul Understated ft. Mavis ‘SWAN’ Poole (at Nathan Phillips Square – Outdoor Stage)
- JUNE 24, 2015: Yuka (at Shops on Don Mills)
- JUNE 27, 2015: Gary Clark Jr. (at Nathan Phillips Square – Toronto Stage)
This festival definitely makes good music very accessible, as there are many corners of the city that participate in the event. It makes a great excuse for a good date night too…just saying 😉
3. PRIDE FESTIVAL
The annual PRIDE festival is a huge 10 day event that celebrates the LGBT community, but also embodies the idea that everyone in our city and in the world deserves love and respect. The festival is one of the largest LGBT events in the world, which makes us proud to live in a city embracing diversity and promoting equality, understanding and tolerance of our differences.
I admit, the festival itself can be intimidating because of the number of people and since there are sights that you wouldn’t see anywhere else beyond the village. HOWEVER, if you can keep an open-mind, stay hydrated and be patient with the crowds, the street life is an experience like no other. The event runs from June 19-28 this year, though the big draw is the parade at the end of the festival on June 28th at 2PM.
4. TORONTO WINE & SPIRIT FESTIVAL
In its 7th year, the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival is a great event for those looking for a great night among friends, while trying new delicious things along the way 🙂 tasting a large variety of wines, specialty liquors, and craft beers along with some amazingly delicious food…it really is worth the ticket to satisfy your inner foodie. Vendors we’re excited to try at the event:
- Brickworks Ciderhouse (I’m a sucker for cider)
- Creekside Estate Winery (with four wines to choose from)
- Creemore Springs Brewery (since you can’t NOT try a beer or five)
- Walter All-Natural Craft Caesar (we have a new obsession with caesars)
- The Tackle Box (with lobster rolls, nachos and poutine!? *drool*)
Pair all that with live music on Sugar Beach for an awesome summer event you won’t want to miss! We’ve performed for the event twice before and were not disappointed…if you do come out, we’re back on June 20th to entertain you (psst we sound better the more you drink 😉 ).
5. ROTARY CLUB RIB FESTS
Yes, plural. We’re not going to lie…sometimes we go to three or four ribfests in one season *puts head down in shame* haha but how can you resist!? Sure, it gets crowded and sometimes it does feel overpriced, but nothing is quite like remembering how non-vegetarian you are with a big container of ribs, bbq chicken, corn bread, coleslaw, and buttered corn, washed down with a refreshing iced lemonade. ahhhh….that’s summer right there 🙂
Though we definitely come for the food, for the first time, we’ve been invited to perform for Toronto Ribfest on June 30th and Canada’s Largest Ribfest (Burlington) on September 6th. It will be a challenge…but I’ll try my best not to drool over the mic or rush off stage to grab a rack of ribs! So if you plan on doing summer right with a rib fest or two, hope you’ll look out for us as you indulge at the festival!
6. SALSA ON ST. CLAIR
Enthusiastic dancing and options for authentic tacos, pupusas, and/or churros every ten steps are what keeps me coming back to Salsa on St. Clair. We’ve lucked out with the weather every time we’ve visited in the past, but even if it rained, it wouldn’t stop the contagious energy that comes from this particular crowd!
This year the event will take place July 4-5 and we plan to come for the salsa dancing, but we’ll definitely stay for dulce de leche filled churros 🙂 If you head there, look out for the Samba Squad (a HUGE percussion/dancing group) to pick up your mood!
7. MABUHAY FESTIVAL
The Philippine Independence Day Council (PIDC) Toronto’s Mabuhay Festival is one of the largest celebrations of Philippines’ heritage and culture in Canada. Now in its 17th year, We’re looking forward to the showcase of both modern and contemporary arts from local and international artists, fashion shows, street parade and delicious Filipino eats! Word of the wise – Filipinos are known for their sweet tooth…so try some authentic desserts like ube, sago or halo-halo if you find it at the festival!
If you do make it out to the event, we’ve been welcomed back to perform, this time with our seven-piece band to take the stage at David Pecaut Square on August 29th 🙂 hope to see you!
Hope you’ll check out a few (if not all) these festivals and let us know what you think! We’re looking forward to an eventful and delicious summer ahead 🙂
(P.S. for a list of our upcoming shows at festivals and other venues, remember to check out our events page!)
AUTHOR: Rachenne Regozo, Lead Vocalist of The Muso Project