Canada is one of the biggest countries in the world, giving us tons of space to roam, build, and of course celebrate the many forms of music.
Traveling coast to coast, we have music festivals ranging in size from NXNE to National Drone Day, Osheaga to OBEY Convention, Oro-Medonte’s Boots and Hearts to Winnipeg’s Soca Reggae Festival. Then of course there’s Sled Island, Shed Island, and Slut Island. Let’s keep this going: MoSoFest, MUTEK, Music Waste, and so many more.
Let’s be honest though, you can never have enough festivals, and there are tons of cities and towns that could play host to a large-scale live music event. Here is our list of 15 Canadian cities and towns that should host major music festivals.
The sleepy little town along Lake Huron is one of Ontario’s hidden gems. It’s not usually known for music festivals unless you’re a big lover of bagpipes and Scottish music. Every summer it plays home to one of the biggest Scottish festivals in the province. What this town really needs is a major music festival where bands can rock a stage looking onto one of the greatest views of the lake.
Amherst, Nova Scotia
Amherst, Nova Scotia sits right by the border of New Brunswick as the Trans-Canada Highway runs right through it. The placement of Amherst makes it easily accessible for people from New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia. Surrounded by empty land, they could blast their neighbours with the power of rock. All they need are some visiting musicians and the biggest speakers you’ve ever seen.
Medicine Hat, Alberta
One of the coolest names for a town in all of Canada, Medicine Hat sits close to the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The one thing this town desperately needs is a major music festival! The people of Alberta are known for country, folk, and rock music and yet Medicine Hat goes untouched by the music stick. With the Trans-Canada highway running right through the middle of town this makes it the perfectly accessible place to host a festival. Road trippers unite!
Mississauga is not structurally ready to host a music festival like CMW. The lack of music venues sets the sixth biggest city in the country back from being a music powerhouse. If Mississauga got a major music festival hopefully that would force the city to build more venues and bars that can hold musical acts.
Whistler, British Columbia
While nearby Pemberton has its own festival, this popular vacation destination for snowboarders has played host to a terrible MTV reality show and the 2010 Olympic Games. Whistler would also be the perfect place to hold a major music festival. What better way to shred some powder as music echoes through the town?
One of the places in Ontario where you can go scuba diving around shipwrecks in water you would swear came from the ocean. Probably one of the most scenic places in the country, Tobermory is home to hidden grottos and beautifully coloured buildings. One thing they are missing is a major music festival! Imagine hearing one of your favourite bands playing from inside a grotto. Now that’s rock and roll for real.
Flin Flon, Manitoba
The town right on the border of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Flin Flon is a great spot for a major music festival. Not only does it have the greatest name of all time it is also basically in two provinces. Imagine your favourite band playing in two places at once!
Probably the most unrealistic place on this list, but it would be insanely cool. No, for real, it gets really cold up there. The tiny hamlet of Resolute is home to just over 200 people. Just imagine being flown in to see some of the greatest bands play at the top of the world!
Who wouldn’t want to dance out to your favourite artists while sipping some wine? The town only a short drive away from Niagara Falls, Welland would be the perfect spot for a new major music festival as Niagara College and Brock University are close by. You could spend the day taking Instagram-worthy pictures by the falls, then jam out to some rock and roll at night.
Another tiny hamlet, Greenwich is placed perfectly beside the Atlantic Ocean. This would be one of the best concert festivals mainly due to the view of the Atlantic. If they play loud enough they would probably hear you from Newfoundland.
The tiny fishing town on the island of Anticosti sits at the mouth of the St. Lawrence river. Another spot that would be tough to put together a music festival but if pulled off right it would be one of the greatest events of all time. The town is super quiet and needs some rock and roll to wake it up. Just picture yourself partying on an island! Are you convinced yet?
One of the fastest growing cities in the country could use a little musical love. The city has grown over the years with the appearance of more sub divisions and plazas but Milton still plays host to hundreds of farm fields. A few of these fields would make a great place for an outdoor summer festival. Camping in a corn field! Pull off Canada’s version of Woodstock in the growing city of Milton.
Red Deer, Alberta
Squished between two of the country’s biggest cities, Red Deer is home to over 90,000 Canadians. With a major festival on the outskirts of town they would not only bring people from their city but also from Calgary and Edmonton, creating an increase in tourism and more moula for the people of Red Deer.
City of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario
During the other three season’s cottage county remains pretty quiet until the madness of the summer season begins. You have probably been up this way for your own cottage or to party at a friend’s either way you have been to this scenic area surrounded by lakes and cute cottages. Can you just imagine a music festival where each stage is set up by a different lake?
Prince Rupert, British Columbia
If you are going to have a music festival that looks out on to the Atlantic you need one where you can see the Pacific Ocean. Prince Rupert sits at the very edge of B.C., making it a tourist destination. In the day time you could go hiking, whale watching, kayaking and then at night dance out to all the music you can handle.