A few summers ago my friends and I piled into a car and traveled to the nearest Fringe Festival. On the way, we misplaced the keys, paused to savour the unfolding forests and lakes, and lost someone at a roadside stop, all before we even made it to the festival.
That journey became part of the stories we told months later in the middle of winter when we’d be together again and remember the days of baking in the sun and dancing in the cooling rain; ear-throbbing drum beats and reverberating guitars.
Summer is just starting, so go create those same kind of stories at music festivals across Ontario’s Highlands! When winter comes and gatherings retreat inside to cozy homes, the favourite CDs collected at summer festivals will conjure up memories of warm evening breezes wafting delicious tunes offstage.
Make some music memories with this calendar of “pile-into-your-car-and-go” festivals taking place this summer:
Stewart Park Festival
When: July 19-21, 2019
Where: Stewart Park (Perth, ON)
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it hard to plan ahead and buy tickets on time with my group of friends. What we sometimes need is the opportunity not to have to plan – to just show up and pay at the door. Stewart Park Festival is that place for us.
You can pay admission by donation when you show up, then ramble with your group around the festival grounds by the beautiful Tay River, tasting local ice cream and collecting memories. With the handiwork of local artisans displayed at the market, it’s the perfect opportunity to discover a piece that will spark memories of the fun had.
Drink in the feast of tunes coming from one of the three stages – everything from the powerful voice and country notes of Kelly Prescott to the unique blend of pop, world, blues, folk and asiko of Élage Diouf.
Tweed Stampede and Jamboree
When: August 1-5, 2019
Where: Trudeau Park Resort (Tweed, ON)
Did you know that there are stampedes in this part of Canada? Neither did I. The Tweed Stampede and Jamboree offers the chance to experience something brand new with those who matter most.
Immerse yourselves in unforgettable events like bronco riding, and experience the thrill of trucks trying to pull heavy equipment. Drink in the sight of the bone-jarring dexterity needed to ride horses at top speed around barrels. This festival wouldn’t be complete without the rhythms of country music — artists like John Michael Montgomery and Craig Morgan — that drift over the crowd, providing the chance to unwind and savour the rich notes.
The Forest Festival
When: August 14-18, 2019
Where: Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve (Haliburton, ON)
At the Haliburton Forest Festival, a historic Logging Museum is transformed into a wonderfully warm and acoustically pure concert space. The magic of this festival comes back to me as I think of the intimate space and cohesiveness of the crowd around me. Sit back and let the variety of music nourish your soul: the bluegrass tunes of The Slocan Ramblers, the memorable voice of Barenaked Ladies’ Steven Page, and the full energy reggae notes of The Sattalites.