Add the perfect soundtrack to your summer at one of these must-visit music festivals in Hamilton.
Local, national and international music takes centre stage throughout our City of Music – from picturesque waterfront parks to epic block parties.
Plan your getaway to Hamilton with this this run-down of some of our favourite music events.
The free two-day festival returns to celebrate the vibrant francophone community with music, dance, and visual arts. Historic Gage Park plays host to this one-of-a-kind, family-friendly show and activities. The lineup includes acts by pop jazz group Amelie & Les Singes Bleus, Bossa-nova artist Diogo Ramos, and many more.
June 21 – 23
Visit for a celebration of arts in all its forms in the picturesque community of the lively Westdale neighbourhood. This family-friendly festival features jazz, classical, folk & world music, art exhibits, artisan vendors and various activities. Headliners include Susan Aglukark, David Clayton-Thomas and John McDermott.
On the heels of the recent album release, The National appear in this one of a kind outdoor concert and festival, at Hamilton beautiful Pier 8 right on the waterfront. Supporting acts are an all-star line-up of Canadian talent – Alvvays, Hayden, Jennifer Castle and Hannah Georgas.
June 21 – 23
Pier 4 Park
Experience and engage with our Indigenous communities in a beautiful waterfront park setting. Featuring a Native Art and Food Fair and Indigenous speakers and performers. Saturday and Sunday feature a mini Pow Wow setting, celebrating drumming and dancing.
June 29 – July 1
This long-running festival (2019 will mark its 50th year) is located in Hamilton’s beautiful Gage Park. Featuring a midway, craft vendors and food options, It’s Your Festival is a family festival that features children’s music as well as popular headliners like Jully Black, Lowest of the Low and The Pursuit of Happiness.
Royal Botanical Gardens
Popular Canadian six-piece The Strumbellas appear at the Royal Botanical Gardens arboretum with special guests Dan Mangan, Donovan Woods & Dizzy. While enjoying the music, take the opportunity to tour is the largest botanical garden in Canada.
July 12 – 13
Pier 4 Park
Beer enthusiasts can sample hundreds of craft beers and ciders while listening to live music in the ideal summer setting at Pier 4 Park. Festival-goers will also enjoy food vendors and a combination of unique artists.
August 2 – 4
Experience three days of music at one of Hamilton’s most celebrated music festivals, located in Gage Park, a beautiful urban greenspace featuring play areas, greenhouses and gardens. This free festival has been running since 1976 and features both national and internationally known artists, art, and crafts.
Sept 13 – 15
James Street North
The city’s biggest urban arts festival transforms our downtown into an epic block party. For three days, the streets around James Street North are closed to traffic and open to a diverse mix of art, fashion, performance, talks, crafts and food. Stages feature local and international performers (Arkells, Passion Pit and Spoon having performed in recent years). Expect a good dose of great food, amazing art and fun people watching too.
Maestro Boris Brott is internationally renowned for his work in classical music and beyond. His festival presents classical and orchestral music in a variety of venues throughout the city and is considered the biggest non-profit orchestral music festival in Canada.
Not a festival per se, but year-round, Core Entertainment brings world-class entertainment to Hamilton’s major music venues – FirstOntario Centre, FirstOntario Concert Hall and The Studio. This summer you can see everything from Ciqrue du Soleil to Def Leppard!
Music is part of the fabric of the city, and it can be found year-round at our many music venues. When visiting Hamilton, be sure to check out who’s playing at some of our favourite live music spots including: The Casbah, Absinthe, Mills Hardware, This Ain’t Hollywood, Zyla’s, the Artword Artbar, and the Music Hall at New Vision United Church.
Jamie Tennant is the Program Director at CFMU 93.3 FM at McMaster. He has written for various publications including Chart Magazine, TV Times, SOCAN Words and Music, Hamilton Spectator and Hamilton Magazine, where he was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2009. Jamie also appears as a regular guest and contributor on Cable 14. His first novel, The Captain of Kinnoull Hill, will be published in fall 2016. Follow him on Twitter. His blog, Music in the City, explores how Hamilton music got to where it is and where it’s going. Discover artists and scenes you know and love, as well as those that might have been off your radar…until now.