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A Guide to the People You'll Encounter at Every Canadian Music Festival This Summer

There are a lot of music festivals happening all throughout Canada this summer, so we're telling you who to look out for.
June 18, 2014, 3:17pm

Summer time in Canada is magical. For those three, maybe four months of the year when the weather reaches the double digits and the denizens of the North are able to venture outdoors, it feels like a C. S. Lewis novel exploded onto landscape. It's during this whimsical period that Canadians wish to spend as much of their free time outdoors as possible, and turn to music festivals as an excuse to do so. The promise of good music, good weather, and good spirits combined with enough alcohol to make you forget that you've been standing for six straight hours is more than enough to convince thousands of Canadians that a music festival is worth their time.

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This year, with dozens of festivals happening all across Canada, it's important that you choose not only the festival that's right for you, but the festival crowd. People are different everywhere you go, and it's important that you know what to expect before sticking a wristband to your arm hair for a few days. With this in mind, we've compiled a list of the biggest festivals happening across Canada this summer, and have included a crib sheet to prepare you for all of the interesting personalities you'll encounter at each event.

Sled Island
Calgary: June 18-22 Since 2007, Calgary’s Sled Island continues to proceed every year with a focus on embracing the holistic understanding of the arts; film, music, visual. Their mandate celebrates and showcases local talent, while still being inclusive of national and international artists that compliment the overall diverse array.
Look Out for:
- A bro wearing cargo shorts and an upside down visor
- More people without shoes than with them
- People who still fist pump
- Someone who is so drunk, they think they’re at Osheaga
- One guy who thinks he’s being funny by bringing an actual sled.

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NXNE
Toronto: June 18-22 Started in 1995 to parallel Austin’s SXSW, NXNE is debatably Toronto’s most prominent music and arts festival, featuring near a thousand bands curated from all over the world. Since their expansion into different streams such as comedy, interactive sessions, and film, NXNE has fused together a breeding ground of upstart and acclaimed artists.
Look Out for:
- Hipsterbros
- People too cheap to fly to Austin
- Stuck up Torontonians who will make fun of you for displaying any enthusiasm
- People complaining about the traffic
- People complaining about public transportation

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Dauphin's Countryfest
Manitoba: June 26-29 Celebrating its 25th year, Dauphin, Manitoba welcomes in local campers and country music enthusiasts to enjoy the festival at Riding Mountain National Park. Surrounded by nature and dirt paths, as well as a fully functional creek that you can party in, they provide an intimate atmosphere for audiences and renowned headliners such as Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, and The Band Perry.
Look Out for:
- People who are wet as shit from partying in the creek, but insist on hugging you
- Bros who are 60% mud
- People who brought those extra large, reusable beverage mugs
- People wearing clothing that prominently features their favourite alcoholic beverage
- People chewing straw unironically.

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Bluesfest
Ottawa: July 3-13 Ottawa’s Bluesfest remains an annual outdoor blues festival going on its 20th year.With the drastic change to the incorporate more of a genre melding lineup, Canada’s conservative capital is about to loosen up in the dreamy midst of Lebreton Flats.
Look Out for:
- People who think OSAP is free money
- Politicians who want to get the youth vote
- Politicians hiding a drug problem in plain sight
- Childish Gambino fans with shorts above the knee
- Lady Gaga fans with shorts above the neck.

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Festival D’ete de Quebec
Quebec: July 3-13 Since 1968, and originally organized by the city’s downtown business people and local artists, this event is known for the use of urban properties in the heart of Quebec to promote a community event from venue to venue that are easily reached by foot. Its rich history almost half a century later have attracted this year’s headliners, including Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Snoop Dogg, demonstrating the spectrum of genres to expect.
Look Out for:
- Francophones
- Someone who will be dancing overzealously to an act nobody has ever heard of
- Out of town bros admiring the architecture
- People who will complain the performers are not singing in French
- Dads wearing earplugs looking to see Billy Joel

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Cavendish Beach
PEI: July 4-6 As a former cow pasture, Cavendish, PEI’s music festival brings in a flock of 70 000 attendees that participate by camping and dining to the backdrop of country music along the beach. With a focus on minimizing the carbon-footprint, the Cavendish Beach festival encourages an environmental conscious crowd to protect the PEI coastline.
Look Out for:
- People who bring their own lawn chairs and reserve a spot in front of the stage
- People who brought Canadian flags for some reason
- Women wearing those straw faux-cowboy hats that shield their eyes, but also sunglasses
- People being super polite because there’s a good chance everyone they know is there

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Pemberton
Vancouver: July 16-20 Since the last appearance of Pemberton hosted by Live Nation in 2008 and their disappointing last minute cancellations from 2009 to 2013, they are set to return to the 400-acre hayfield this year, curating more of the hip hop genre from the previous dominant indie and rock focus. With artists such as Frank Ocean, Outkast, Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg, they’re about to restore the feeling to this festival.
Look Out for:
- Exhausted mountaineers
- Exhausted hay farmers
- Live Nation executives
- Some asshole who won’t bounce the beach ball any further
- A dude in a mascot/furry costume

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TIME
Toronto: July 19th After a three year hiatus, this one day festival returns with Toronto radio station, INDIE88 and party group EMBRACE helping celebrate at the historic Fort York Garrison Commons. Bringing a combination of neo-electronic and techno vibes, this year rings in the festival’s most acclaimed talents.
Look Out for:
- People whose wardrobe has more than six neon items
- Millennials
- People who have literally never had to use a radio
- Double-fisters
- People who know Trap Muzik as being something other than a T.I. album

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Hillside Community Festival
Guelph: July 25-27 From humble beginnings in the summer time of 1984 Guelph, Hillside was a festival featuring local acts from those in the community. 30 years later, Hillside remains free spirited community oriented occasion, amped up with acts from all over the world but still paying homage to Canadian locals that dominate the line up.
Look Out for:
- People proudly wearing clothes that prominently feature the school they attended
- Men with questionable hygiene standards
- Women who appear to have questionable hygiene standards, but really just bought that armpit fuzz at Urban Outfitters
- People who consume music exclusively through vinyls and tapes
- Someone who spent over a week making their DIY costume

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Boots & Hearts Festival
Bowmanville: July 31-Aug 1 With the recent birth of this Canadian country showcase in 2012, the Boots & Hearts festival has quickly expanded into a prominent event in celebration of country music. Previous headliners include Tim McGraw, Kid Rock, and Carrie Underwood, to name a few appalachian folk and bluegrass connoisseurs.
Look Out for:
- People from Calgary
- People who wish they lived in Calgary
- Men with a flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off
- Women with a flannel shirt that’s tied into a seductive knot
- Someone who will scream “YEE-HAW” nine times during the concert, then never again in their life

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Osheaga
Montreal: Aug 1-3 The conception of this annual outdoor festival is debatably Canada’s most prominent music festival, with five stages, and an audience reaching 400,000 in Montreal’s Parc-Jean Drapeau. With headliners performing sets up to 90 minutes, this year talent features some of the most legendary performers to ever grace the stage.
Look Out for:
- People whose favourite rapper is Riff Raff
- Basic bitches/bros
- People who think it’s cool to ask people if they’ve seen molly
- People who have been unable to find the island exit from the last Osheaga and have been trapped for a year
- The French

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OVO Festival
Toronto: Aug 2-3 A Toronto music festival started by The Boy in 2010, OVO Fest has stayed in its original location of the Molson Amphitheatre since conception, where it has brought through such acts as Eminem, Jay Z, Stevie Wonder, and Nicki Minaj. Originally a one-day festival, this year’s OVO Fest will be two days long and promises, as always, to be filled with special surprise guests.
Look Out for:
- People wearing owls on their shirts
- People waiting in line to buy shirts with owls on them
- Fringe OVO members
- Chaperones that are attempting to enjoy themselves
- Is that Majid Jordan?

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Squamish Valley Music Festival
Vancouver: Aug 8-10 Inaugurated in 2010, and hosted by Vancouver based company LIVE management group and Live nation Canada, prove the allure of west-coast Canada, as one of the most profitable Canadian festivals. Previously hosting big names such as Childish Gambino, Metric, and Bad Religion, they’ve amped up their 2014 lineup to include headliners Bruno Mars, Eminem, and Lykke Li.
Look Out for:
- People sitting on the grass
- People with muddy butts from sitting on the grass
- Girls wearing flower crowns
- Bros wearing hats whose sole purpose is to be a beer delivery vehicle
- Soooo many white people.

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Slava Pastuk will be at most of these - @SlavaP