Ponderosa – Friday, August 19 to Sunday, August 21
After last year’s heartbreaking cancellation due to forest fires, Ponderosa Festival is resurrecting itself bigger and better than ever. This chilled-out fest prides itself in throwing the ultimate summer bash complete with riverside camping, morning yoga and a fresh musical lineup. Taking the stage are bands like Black Mountain, Timber Timbre and the Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer. You even have choices when it comes glamping (glamorous camping) with options for backstage camping with the artists or luxurious six-person tipi tents.
Don’t miss: Royal Canoe, an indie pop band from Winnipeg
Otalith Music Festival – Friday, August 19 and Saturday, August 20
Tofino is a world-class tourist destination at any time of the year, but there’s no better time to experience the laid-back vibe than during Otalith. Calling itself “the world’s most intimate music festival,” Otalith is a family-friendly retreat with camping and facilities that can accommodate the kids. Headlining the festival is Texas folk singer Shakey Graves and California punk band FIDLAR. There are less than 4000 tickets left, so buy yours quick to get in on the fun!
Wapiti Music Festival – Friday, August 12 and Saturday, August 13
Fun, funky, and friendly—there’s a lot to love about Wapiti Music Festival. Held in Fernie, this two-day event hand-picks the best undiscovered Canadian indie talent. This year they’ve booked some local gems, like Vancouver rock band Yukon Blonde, hip-hop duo The Funk Hunters and more. Like the bands they book, this festival is an up-and-comer that’s hitting its stride.
Don’t miss: Shred Kelly, a “stoke folk” band from Fernie, B.C.
Edge of the World Festival – Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 7
Venturing to the edge of the world may sound perilous, but the sweet sounds of this music festival are sure to be worth the voyage. Held in the natural splendour of remote Haida Gwaii, this three-day music festival combines local musicians with “off-island” talent. The beautiful setting is tough competition, but headlining Juno-award winner Buffy Sainte-Marie is sure to steal the show.
Don’t miss: Rococode, an indie-pop band from Vancouver, B.C.
ArtsWells Festival – Friday, July 29 to Monday, August 1
ArtsWells is an all-encompassing whirlwind of artistic expression in all its forms. This festival is so much more than just a music festival: it includes theatre, film, literature, visual art and even burlesque. Try out one of their “playshops,” where artists will teach skills like Ukrainian dance and yoga. But never fear, music fans! With over 100 musical performances on 12 indoor and outdoor stages, there’s plenty of music for everyone to enjoy.
Don’t miss: Miss Quincy, a blues-rock band from Vancouver, B.C.
B.C. isn’t always known as a hot spot for country music, but for one weekend each year Cowichan Valley hosts plays host to some of the biggest country stars in the world. Headlining the festival are Carrie Underwood and Dierks Bentley, with artists like Dallas Smith and High Valley rounding out the schedule. Last year over 46,000 people flocked to Cowichan Valley and with a new location, there’s room for a bigger and better festival this year.
Kispiox Valley Music Festival – Friday, July 22 to Sunday, July 24
Small-town music festivals are always a celebration of community and creativity, and the Kispiox Valley Music Festival is no exception. Held in northern B.C.’s beautiful Kispiox Valley, this is one festival that’s worth the road trip. The festival has been running since 1995 with the help of dedicated volunteers. If you’re in the mood for a laid-back, community-minded weekend of rollicking music and new friends, then grab a ticket.
Don’t miss: The Racket, a folk band from Hazelton, B.C.
Rock the Shores – Friday, July 22 to Sunday, July 24
You don’t have to travel far to catch one of the hottest lineups of the season. Rock the Shores is located in Colwood, just a bit outside of Victoria, and it features an impressive schedule with some big names in indie music. Headlining the festival are City and Colour, Metric, Arkells and Eagles of Death Metal. If the killer music isn’t enough, the festival's site-wide license and partnership with Phillips Brewing means that you can sip craft brews while taking in the show.
Don’t miss: July Talk, an alternative blues rock band from Toronto, Ontario
Midsummer Music Festival – Friday, July 1 to Sunday, July 3
If you want a music festival that caters to the entire family, look no further than Smithers' Midsummer Music Festival. With a lineup full of fresh local artists, you’re sure to hear some undiscovered talent, and maybe even leave with a new favourite musician. Bring the little ones to the Kids’ Zone for crafts and games, or stop by one of the established Jam Zones to get in on the music making.
Don’t miss: The Fugitives, an indie-folk collective from Vancouver, B.C.
Tall Tree Music Festival – Thursday, June 30 to Sunday, July 3
Round up your crew for a festival with a view because Port Renfrew’s Tall Tree Music Festival is sure to stun. This mountaintop festival prides itself in celebrating “community spirit, the environment and artistic creativity,” and it sports a diverse lineup, ranging from roots rockers Current Swell to DJs like Mat The Alien. Festival-goers must be 19+ to attend, making it a great getaway for a more mature crowd.
Love the outdoors, friends, and epic music? Here are 10 music festivals to check out in B.C. this summer
Music festival season is upon us again, and B.C. is lucky enough to be home to some of the best stages in the world. With this year’s Squamish Festival cancelled, it’s the perfect time to experience the intimacy, community and all-around good vibes of a smaller music festival. If you’re interested in dancing, music, and/or new friends, then add any of these festivals to your calendar for a summer you won’t forget.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Kirsty is currently studying Creative Writing at the University of Victoria. When she’s not studying (which is more often than it should be), she can be found discovering new music or planning her next trip.