How She Travels by Kathy Buckworth
The word “festive” is right there in the word “festival”. Well, most of it, anyway. At any rate, it’s hard not to feel festive about all of the amazing summer festivals going on in Canada this year. Throw out your ideas of what Woodstock was, and what Coachella is – there’s something for everyone.
I had the opportunity to travel to Quebec City to attend the opening night concert for the Festival d’Ete, or the Summer Festival, which featured Sting and Peter Gabriel, two of the many huge names headlining this very popular music festival this year. They were performing on the main stage, which is set amongst the historic and iconic Plains of Abraham. There are a number of venues, including one dedicated to family music and fun. All are located within easy walking distance to Old Quebec; great to grab a meal beforehand and easy access to many hotels nearby, including the Delta Quebec.
The festival started in 1968, runs over 11 days, with 300 shows. Over one million people willattend, with over 120,000 festival-long passes being sold, with individual tickets available for certain shows as well. It’s all outdoors, and all starting in the evening, with the exception of the family stage. Featured performers this year include Selena Gomez, Sheryl Crow, Brad Paisley, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cult, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, rappers Ice Cube and Fetty Wap; even an 80’s night featuring Neil Finn of Crowded House, Bryan Ferry and Duran Duran. Of course there is a fantastic slate of Quebec musicians, and music played across all genres. The festival runs until July 18th. For more information you can go to http://www.infofestival.com/Home/
Other festivals of note across the country include the Toronto Caribbean Carabana Festival, now in its 49th year, runs until July 31st, with the legendary, colourful and always festive parade on July 30th. It’s three weeks of events, celebrations, arts…even a King and Queen competition. There are hotel packages available, and advance reservations are recommended as it is estimated this festival brings in over a million visitors from all over Canada and the U.S. You can find all you need to know at http://www.caribanatoronto.com/
Ottawa RBC Bluesfest on Le Breton Flats, runs until July 17th. While this festival started with a focus on blues music, there are now many types of musical genres represented here, spread across five venues. Bryan James, Duran Duran and Paul James round out the closing nights on the 16th and the 17th. Ottawa is a family oriented city; consider stopping at the Ottawa Marriott which features not only a swimming pool, but an indoor playground and teen room to help blow off some steam before getting festival bound. Go to www.ottawabluesfest.ca
Kitchener Ribfest July 15-17 It’s the 13th anniversary of this very popular local event which raises money for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. Feast on barbequed ribs and chicken, drink some great craft beer, while listening to live entertainment in the open air Victoria Park venue. What could be better? Visit http://www.kitchenerribandbeerfest.com/ for more information.
Winnipeg Folklorama July 31-Aug 13 I grew up in Winnipeg and attended Folklorama many times. Armed with our passports, we would try out the foods and absorb the cultures of countries from around the world. I think it’s where I started my love affair with pierogis. This is the largest and longest running cultural festival of its type, in the world. It started in 1970 with 20 pavilions over one week, and now offers 45 over two weeks, with over 400,000 people expected to visit. For more information go towww.folklorama.ca
Hamilton Beer Fest August 19-20. Just in its third year, this festival has gained popularity with both Hamiltonians and the rest of the Greater Toronto Area. This year, they’re upping the tech and will be providing cashless payment wristbands to make the experience even more fun, and easier to get to your next taste of a craft beer. This year the festival moves to Bayfront Park. For tickets and more info go to http://www.hamiltonbeerfestival.com/
And lastly, while not technically a festival, if you live in Meaford, you can enjoy live music every Sunday night, outdoors, until August 28th at the Harbour pavilion, starting at 7pm.
Author, I Am So The Boss Of You (Random House)
Chief Family Advisor, PCFinancial & PCPlus
Columnist, SiriusXM Canada “How She Travels”
Columnist, “Parent Hacks” Post City Magazines
Travel Feature Writer, Metro News