The 5th Season: Festival Season

Bookmark this Music Festival Calendar link as we will continue to add to it weekly and be sure to check back as we will be attending most of the events, interviewing and reporting on the scene! 


The best times of life take place at festivals. New cities and the random stops on the road trips to get there. Airports and the impossible challenge of getting everything into your backpack, then deciding to buy a cooler for a one way suitcase is your best option. Those moments when bands you’ve never heard of blow you away and you know you’ve seen someone who’s about to blow up. The headliner that got you there in the first place engaging an 80,000 soul sing-along. We’ve never had more choices world wide for music and adventure. Literally pick any town and google their festivals and you’ll find a reason to go. Here are a few global highlights…

Shambhala Music Festval photo by Dave Heath
Shambhala Music Festval photo by Dave Heath

Glastonbury  – Pilton, England

June 21st-25th
Who to see: Radiohead, Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Katy Perry,  Phoenix, Solange.

A five day festival that’s credited as the Grand-daddy of them all has been taking place near Pilton, Somerset in England since 1970. It sells out every year before the line-up is even announced. Get ready to hang out with up to 175,000 concert goers including the gate crashers. The Pyramid Stage has hosted some historical moments in music and if you’re a serious fan of the festival scene this one’s probably on your bucket list. Pack your rain gear, she can get soupy. Next year the festival takes a year off to give land and locals a rest.

Primavera  – Barcelona, Spain & Porto, Portugal

Barcelona, Spain May 31-June 4 & Porto, Portugal June 8-10

To see: Bon Iver, Run The Jewels, Nicolas Jaar

Primavera takes place over two weekends in the cities of Barcelona and Porto with mostly overlapping line ups. Its the perfect blend of Rock, Hip Hop, Electronic and everything in between. A trend-setter for well over a decade, Primavera brings in artists and fans alike from all over the world. Hard to beat a trip to Barcelona and a world class music festival on the water. One of the festival highlights looks to be Bon Iver playing the brilliant new 22, A Million album after cancelling his European tour this year. There website shows a total of 3 european dates, two of them being this festival.

Governors Ball, NY

June 2-4th
To See: Flume, Tool, Phoenix, Air, Chance the Rapper

How big of a draw is Tool even though they haven’t released an album in over a decade? A number of Western Canadian dates and a show at The Gorge in Washington state went on sale a few weeks back and sold out in minutes. Lower bowl arena seats were going for as much as 800 US per seat on Stub Hub, the scalpers won again. Do a little math and you could fly from say Vancouver to NY, see the band, pay for your hotel see an entire brilliant festival and it would be about even… maybe, heh! Just quit that stupid job!

Electric Daisy, Las Vegas

June 16-18
To See Line up TBA
Wedding package $403,
Renewal, Commitment ceremony, free.

Every major DJ on the planet it would seem (line up yet to be announced) coupled with an insane backdrop of fireworks, ferris wheels, lasers and pyro. One of those events thats about the “community”. The last three years have seen a death per year. A combination of heat, dehydration and drug use. Make sure you have your water bottle and take care of each other.

Fuji Rock Fest, Japan

July 28-30
To See: Bjork, Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem, Lorde

The largest outdoor music festival in Japan you can expect to bounce around to the beats with 100,000 other happy souls. The 3 day event is held on Naeba Ski Resort and this year looks to be all about fun danceable beats from world and Japanese acts alike on seven stages slammed into the trees and mountains. Unlike some of the other fests here that one might think twice about taking kids to, Fuji promotes a family friendly culture.

FYF Festival, Los Angeles

July 21-23
To See: Missy Elliot, Frank Ocean, Bjork, Nine Ince Nails, Iggy Pop

Doing everything in there power to give options to SoCal festival fans other then Coachella FYF has announced a juggernaught line up this year. Missy Elliot alone who rarely plays live shows is an impressive booking. There does come a time when the nostalgia of sleeping in a tent under the stars passes and you just want a shower and a bed and something to eat not fished out of cooler soup.

Music Festival Calendar | Shambhala Music Festval photo by Dave Heath
Shambhala Music Festval | photo by Dave Heath

Pemberton, Music Festival, Pemberton, BC

To see: Muse, A Tribe Called Quest, Run the Jewels, Major Lazer, Ween

Pemberton is one of the few independently run major league festivals that somehow pulls a great line up year in year out. The masses who make the trip about an hour north of Whistler will be treated to one of the best line-ups in the Pacific Northwest. Take a look at the website for camping options. the festival has received some flack in the past for a confusing set up on that front. Staying in Whister and taking a shuttle might be an option worth considering.

Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival, Kaslo, BC

Aug 4-6th

To See: Charles Bradley, Tribe Called Red, Shane Koyczan

Where the heck is Kaslo?

This was the question a writer colleague from the Vancouver Sun posed after seeing the line up for the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival. One of his favorite bands, The Preservation Hall Band were playing after having just played Coachella and Bonnaroo this year. He was stunned the New Orleans legends only Western Canadian date this year is in Kaslo. Smaller festivals have made a big comeback in the past few years as  patrons tire of the mega festivals and crowds that go with them. Yearning for that experience that got them loving festival culture in the first place. The Kaslo Jazz Fest, with a capacity of around 2000 attendees, has curated one of the better mid-size fest line ups in the country, outpacing many much larger festivals.

Lollapalooza, Chicago

Aug 3rd-6th
To See: Chance the Rapper, Lorde, The XX, Sylvan Esso

You can get lost in this festivals poster. Top to bottom its beyond impressive. Perry Ferrell has built and curated one of the most important festivals in North America since the early 90’s when it was a touring fest that did the unthinkable. Blend artists from multiple genera and bring all the fans together. Perry knew that we all have diverse tastes, he was just the first to book the diversity of our record collections in one festival. Chicago is now the stand alone date and the first weekend of August Grand Park in Chicago is any music fans dream! Don’t miss Sylvan Esso… just don’t!

Osheaga, Montreal

Aug 4th-6th
To See: The Weekend, Muse, Lorde, Major Lazer, Run The Jewels, Milky Chance

One of North Americas great cities and the best line up in the country. Osheaga is a worth while endeavour. If your cruising in from the States you have the luxury of a great exchange rate that give you an extra 25 cents on the dollar. If you got shut out of Lolla this fest the same weekend is an amazing back up and arguably with half the number of attendees some would argue a better option.

 Shambhala, BC, Canada

Aug 11-14 (tickets $400 Can, Sold out in a day)
To see Excision, Dilated Peoples, Stanton Warriors, Haywyre, DJ Jazzy Jeff, The Orb

Its time to head back again to the farm, this time for the 20th anniversary. Shambhala like no other festival (other then maybe Burning Man) has created a community vibe that keeps the Shambhalovelies coming back year after year. Its an experience like no other with stage set ups that need to be experienced to be understood. Being emerged in The Fractal Forest surrounded by massive flower screens with The Funk Hunters bringing it off or the Village stage where Excision is famous for inventive face melting bass. The stage with the largest crowd capacity The Pagoda was taken down and will be rebuilt and relaunched this year. The farm always has some tricks up her sleeve and its doubtful the 20th anniversary will be a disappointment.

Life is Beautiful, Las Vegas

Sept 22-24
To see: Chance the Rapper, Muse, Gorillaz

Think everything good about Coachella weather wise but with hotels and swimming pools galore. Life is Beautiful has quickly become a major player in the later season festival game. This year’s line up is diverse and deep. Top to bottom there’s something for everyone. Then add to that that you’re in a city that never sleeps and it could get crazy.



Bookmark this Music Festival Calendar link as we will continue to add to it weekly and be sure to check back as we will be attending most of the events, interviewing and reporting on the scene! 


I cut my teeth in radio across western Canada for a decade as a morning and afternoon host in rock radio. Went into the Craft Beer industry marketing and selling draft. This decade I'm building a business. Bought a building on Baker in Nelson BC and the next act is being written as we speak.