Summer Music in BruceGreySimcoe

Jun 23, 2017
What if you could pair evenings of mind-blowing live music with days packed with epic adventures? Sure, you can find a million and one live acts within the city limits, but just a few hours from the GTA there’s a live music scene exploding alongside the sparkling waters of Georgian Bay, the rocky cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment and sandy beaches. Add a side of craft beer, an afternoon in a hops field and some local eats and we’re taking live music to a whole new level in BruceGreySimcoe. Read on as we break down your endless musical options.
 Flagship festivals: Fun with thousands of friends

Thanks to the folks at Burl’s Creek Event Park, BruceGreySimcoe is home to some huge festivals that have made their mark on the music scene the last few years. How big? Big enough to make Much Music include both WayHome and Boots and Hearts in their 2017 Festival Season Guide. WayHome happens July 28th to July 30th with headliners Flume, Cage the Elephant, Imagine Dragons and Frank Ocean. This festival is as much about the experience as the music so consider camping out for the real deal.

Boots and Hearts is one of Canada’s largest country music festivals. Slated for August 10 to 13, Doc Walker headlines Thursday’s show with Keith Urban topping Friday’s lineup, Brantley Gilbert headlining Saturday and Luke Bryan wrapping up Sunday’s action. Grab your cowboy hat, your best boots and your best friends for this one.

New to the festival lineup this year is the family friendly The Big Feastival. A replica of the popular UK festival and inspired by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, this unique festival lets you see some kicking tunes without finding a sitter for your littles. Where else can you see Ben Harper, Weezer and The Strumbellas, sip on a Creemore Springs and get tips from celebrity chefs, all with the family in tow? Don’t worry, the kids have their own headliners: Paw Patrol, Fred Penner, Splash and Boots and more. If you’re rocking an ‘I used to be cool’ sticker on your minivan, your moment has truly arrived.

Downsizing: Slightly smaller festivals

Love country but looking for something less hectic than Boots and Hearts? Lucknow’s Music in the Fields runs
August 24th to 26th with headliners Tom Cochrane and a long lineup of great artists.
Kelso Beach’s Summertime Blues also has an impressive lineup in a smaller format festival on the water in Owen Sound. Running June 22 to 24, catch Buddy Guy, Colin James, Bahamas, The Sheepdogs and more.
The Peak to Shore Music Festival features 40 free concerts at 20 venues over 5 days across Meaford, Thornbury, Blue Mountain Village and Collingwood. With big names like Sean McCann of Great Big Sea and The Devin Cuddy band alongside incredibly talented local artists like Drew McIvor, Bambalamb, Franny Wisp & Her Washboard and Jayden Grahlman, this festival won’t disappoint.
The Bighead Shindig is where live music meets local brewers. Held right in the Bighead Hops field at the peak season for this crop, you can catch live acts as you meet local brewers, graze on amazing local food and take a tour with hop farmer Nicholas Schaut. For local and authentic, it doesn’t get better than this. Book off August 12th today.

Struggling hard to convey the majesty of HSY with my garbage phone #electriceclectics

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The Electric Eclectics Festival blends avant-garde and crossover musicians, as well as art installations, DJs, and films just outside Meaford.

The Meaford Summer Concert Series brings four outdoor concerts to the Market Square by Meaford Hall. Click here to find out more.
Get your folk on
BruceGreySimcoe hosts two iconic folk festivals: The Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia and Summerfolk in Owen Sound. Mariposa takes place in Tudhope Bay from July 7 to 9th featuring big names like Bruce Cockburn, The Barenaked Ladies and The New Pornographers. With on-site camping and a family-friendly vibe, the Mariposa Folk Festival has been running since 1961.


Over on Georgian Bay, Summerfolk is also celebrating 42 years with an impressive lineup including Buffy Saint-Marie (Thursday night only) Serena Ryder and Joel and Bill Plaskett. With an amazing bayside location and a great local food and artisan lineup, Summerfolk runs August 18, 19 and 20.

Small halls; big sound

BruceGreySimcoe is also home to some unique venues. From agricultural halls in rural towns to historic theatres that have come back to life with killer lineups, seeing a show here is a true experience. In Clearview Township, the Small Halls Festival celebrates the unique vibe that come from seeing a talented performer in an authentic venue. Running from September 28 to October 1 at venues across Clearview Township, you’ll feel like a local when you leave.

The Desboro Music Hall runs a concert series from May to October. Heartwood Hall in Owen Sound is an amazing venue with a busy lineup of shows. The Bruce Wine Bar has great live music options on Friday nights. Find out who’s playing here.
For slightly larger venues with great lineups check out the Midland Cultural Centre, Meaford Hall Arts and Cultural Centre, The Simcoe Street Theatre and Casino Rama
Tunes at Blue

The Blue Mountain Village at the base of Blue Mountain Resort has become a popular venue for musical experiences in the summer months. Their Friday Night Indie Series complements a long list of live music at venues throughout the village and on the main stage. The Harpoonists and The Axe Murderer kick off the Friday Night Indie Series on July 7th. Check out the full live music calendar to see who’s playing during your visit.
For the ultimate pairing of outdoors and music, check out their award-winning Guitar Trail. This musical excursion has you meeting different musicians as you hike up the mountain. Slated for Saturday, September 9th, this is truly unique.
Off the beaten track

Sometimes stumbling on a jam night in the town you’re visiting is the best way to tap into the local music scene. There’s no way we can list all the jam nights across Bruce, Grey and Simcoe here but we can suggest a few hidden gems. If you happen to be in Meaford on a Wednesday night, head to Ted’s Range Road Diner for their jam night. This unique quonset hut location is packed with character, musical talent and great food. Wednesday is also Open Mic at the Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury. With an incredible number of local musicians calling this region home, you’ll be sure to catch a great live show. The Leeky Canoe in Meaford also has Thursday jam nights and live music on weekends.

Last-minute tune finding resources

The Southern Georgian Bay music scene is so busy that a few local websites and blogs have cropped up to help you plan your live music adventures. Meaford Live Music offers daily updates on artists coming to the region and a list of open mics in the area while Route26 offers a comprehensive calendar of live shows and a blog that will help you break down the local music scene.
Need more ideas?

Coming to visit and want more direction about where to find live music? Feel free to shoot us an email at and we’ll do our best to help you get your groove on.