Top 5 World Class Festivals to Visit this Summer

by | Jun 9, 2016 | Attractions and Festivals, Big Blog | 0 comments

Last summer, we asked you to tell us what your favourite things to do in Northeastern Ontario are as part of our BIG Top Five Contest. Here are the Top 5 Festivals and Events as voted by you!

Summer in Northeastern Ontario is filled with big sound, and it’s not just the frogs and birds! It could be you signing at the top of your vocals at a BIG outdoor concert but, if you are like me, those around you may prefer that you politely clap your hands and leave the singing to the pros. Totally your call. Make this summer a Musical Staycation—pack the the family, lawn chairs and coolers, and find your spot at one or more of the Region’s Top 5 world class festivals to visit this summer.

1. Northern Lights Festival Boréal

45 Years of Incredible Music Under the Stars

Photo: Lynne Dupuis

Photo: Lynne Dupuis

Let’s start in the Nickel City of Sudbury where this year marks the 45th year of rich music history with the Northern Lights Festival Boréal (NLFB) held July 8 – 10 on the shores of Lake Ramsey. It’s a melting pot of music and physical art installations including an arts village, where you’ll find unique Northern gifts and souvenirs from crafters and artisans. With four live stages and an amphitheatre – all surrounded by grassed parks – you’ll want to anchor your lawn chair and chime on to a showcase of established and rising talents in the Folk, Indie, World, and Roots genres. Notable artists in the lineup this year include Canadian fiddle royalty Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy, multiple Juno winner Bahamas who will headline Friday, July 8, and Montreal’s 16-member Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra!

The festival is also a taste extravaganza with diverse selections from the local restaurant and catering scene, including some big hits like Thai, New Orleans Snow Cones, Grilled Cheese, Polish Pierogis and a classic food truck. We’ll be posting a more detailed story about the upcoming NLFB soon, but in the meantime, click here to book tickets.

2. Summer in the Park

Civic Long Weekend is Going to Rock!


As the skies flare up North Bay with hues of red and orange sunsets, what could be more concert-setting perfect than a weekend at this year’s 29th annual North Bay Summer in the Park? Held every long weekend in August, the city of North Bay lights up its waterfront, transforming it into an outdoor extravaganza boasting headline musical entertainment, carousel rides, face painting, petting zoos, and the Algonquin Regiment. The shimmer of the festival lights on the lake is an incredible site with the backdrop of music to touch your soul. Even a brief rain shower doesn’t dampen the spirits, but under the umbrella—it brings everyone a little closer together. Throughout the weekend, it’s the sound of children laughing amidst the music that is distinct. And after the final encore, you can overhear many people saying, “that was the best time ever.” This year’s headliners include Tim Hicks, and more. For full event listings go to

3. Mattawa Voyageur Days

19th Birthday Bash in Mattawa

Mattawa Voyageur Days, July 22 – 24, One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals and Events takes place over three fun-filled days. For only $50 dollars you will enjoy live performances from Runaway Angle, Chad Brownlee, Doc Walker The Dukes, Helix, The Glorious Sons, Vince Neil of Motley Crue, Toe Jam Teqilla, David Cuddy as well as Alan Doyle & the Beautiful Gypsies. Each live show is held at beautiful Explorer’s Point at the confluence of the Ottawa & Mattawa Rivers. There are activities for the entire family. Do you have a paddler in your crew? How about registering for the The Mattawa River Canoe Race  ( ) which starts in North Bay with the finishing line in Mattawa. Children can join the Mattawa Lions kids fishing derby, take a helicopter ride or participate in the Cardboard Boat Races. Adults won’t want to miss the Quest for the Voyageur Title Thai Boxing Event! Mattawa Voyageur Days is the festival of the summer…don’t miss it! Visit their for all the info you need and come rock where the rivers meet!

4. Jazz Sudbury Festival

Get Jazzed, Sudbury!


Sudbury is also home to the Jazz Sudbury Festival, which runs from September 7 – 11. It really is Northern Ontario’s premiere destination for live jazz performances. This five-day festival kicks off mid-week with a free jazz concert downtown in Memorial Park, while the main stage of star power shakes the house at the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre. But what I love most about this festival is the collaboration of local businesses, like Fromagerie Elgin, Oscar’s Grill, and Townehouse, who feature a line-up of events held after hours. The Jazz Sudbury Festival has recently joined forces with the Canadian Jazz Festival to bring a world-class musical experience to the Nickel City. Too many to name here, but watch out for legendary Jully Black, Rita Chiarelli, and some local favorites. You can also get tickets for the kids to join in the Jazz Walk Parade!  For details and for upcoming acts, click here.

Concert iphone north bay

5. Timmins Concert Series

Summer Wednesday Music in Timmins

If you’re in and around Timmins this August, put the the 7th Annual Summer Concert Series on your calendar beginning June 29 and featuring talent every Wednesday until August 31 in Hollinger Park. You never know what upcoming talent you might see and hear—maybe you’ve heard of Timmins-born Shania Twain?  Who knows, you may even catch a performance from the next legend. Grab your folding chair and take part in this mid-week open air music fest featuring blues, rock, jazz, big band, pop, country, French Pop, and everything in between. Music starts at 6 in the evening and is a voluntary admission of a non-perishable food item in support of Timmins and South Porcupine Food Banks. Click here for more information on this great summer-long event!

These BIG Northeastern music festivals are great for all ages and offer memorable entertainment, genres and styles for the boogie, jump, tap, or swing in you.

About Pamela Hamel

Chef, Blogger, Traveller and former Executive, Pamela explores trends in curating a sustainable lifestyle. Aka “Martha Stewart” of the North, Pamela takes this as a compliment, but it’s a little too snobbish for this hometown girl. Born, raised and career developed in Northeastern Ontario’s Kirkland Lake area, Pamela moved to Toronto to pursue BIG markets for her BIG ideas. With an appetite for adventure, Pamela boasts a biz savvy spirit, eye for design and an incredible talent for turning nothing into something. Search #foodsbynature to discover your next inspired living moment.