April screws with my head. There’s this expectation that one morning I’d wake up and the sun would bear down on me and that slow walk to Starbucks will put a long grin on my face. I seriously need to warm-up. It’s not as if I’ve given up. We’ve had a few close calls.
Producing a couple radio shows a week at the University of Toronto - then Saturday morning pick-up with Ted Woloshyn and off to Newstalk 1010 – it’s always about the weather. That bike ride in below freezing temperatures or crammed bus with George Brown backpacking students along Davenport Road to the University subway line is sometimes a morbid jaunt. Back of my mind, I keep visualizing summer in the city. Jammed packed patios, some looney drummer beating on plastic drums front of Rogers Centre as the Jays take on the Orioles, that stroll along the waterfront or ferry lift to Centre Island. It is a bit surreal, yet those days are coming.
My partner at the Beaches International Jazz Festival, Lido Chilelli and I have been talking music since January and planning festival number twenty-nine. Throughout the country festival organisers start early raising funds, writing grant applications, battling with city hall, planning your summer for you. We are a festive lot!
Who can afford to cross borders during the summer months and feel elated about trading in Canadian Tire dollars. It’s brutal.
This is where we shine. Canada is becoming much like France and other European countries where there is a festival for every train of thought. This was my conversation last night with some prime movers in Toronto. You don’t just visit Toronto – that’s the entry point. You visit neighbourhoods where food and music and good times are masked as a festival of some description or another. You socialize and savour those months when body temperatures rise above and strike back at those overcast, bone-chilled winter months. I’m ready to roll and rumble.
Here’s a cross-section of festivals that will take you into July. It’s a big country with much to offer.
Lagwagon, Pup, The Flatliners
Broken Social Scene, Feist, Phoenix
Zeds Dead, Bass Nectar, Boi-1da
Iggy Pop, The Offspring, Queens Of The Stoneage
Low, Shonen Knife, Simply Saucer
Richie Hawtin, Steve Aoki, Tiesto
Port Renfrew, BC
Tokyo Police Club, Fake Shark, Jon and Roy
June 29 - July 2
Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Johnny Reid
June 22-July 1
Serena Ryder, Joss Stone, Mavis Staples
June 28-July 8
Bob Dylan, King Crimson, Stanley Clarke
Steve Angello, Dillstradamus, Dvbbs
Zac Brown Band, Little Big Town, Gord Bamford
Bruce Cockburn, Barenaked Ladies, Cracker
Quantic, Smalltown DJs, Breach
Lady Antebellum, Fetty Wap, Alessia Cara
Quebec City, QC
Metallica, Gorillaz, Muse
Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban
50 Cent, Pink, Gary Clark Jr.