Five Canada winter festivals to attend in 2021

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Igloofest 2020
Photo: Ulysse Lemerise. Igloofest 2020.

Canada is one of those countries where it can get so cold in winter that people are well prepared and can actually enjoy that time of the year. The festival enthusiasts are not forgotten, with many events stretching from November to April. Here is a shortlist of five interesting (music) festivals that help bring light to the heart of citizens and tourists alike.

Igloofest (Montréal, 13 February-13 March 2021)

Of course, Igloofest! The “coldest festival in the world”. That is debatable, but some night it can go as low as -30celcius, and…it’s…outdoor! It is the winter equivalent of Piknic Electronic, the citie’s most summery festival. The lineup is also mostly electronic, with local and international acts. Last year, top acts included The Blaze, ANNA, Noisia, Nina Kraviz, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Kaytranada, Ellen Allien and Charlotte de Witte. The event takes place at the Old Port next to the Saint-Laurent river. In 2021, it will be virtual. More info to come soon, but we do know that it will be free.

For more information, visit their website.

Big Winter Classic (Calgary, 28-31 January 2021)

Ta-Dah! Here you go folks your 2020 Big Winter Classic starting line up. This Thursday 10 am we will release the day schedules and day passes. Much Love friends…

Posted by BIG on Monday, December 2, 2019

A January festival in Calgary, you say? It doesn’t feel right, but you might find yourself wanting to go visit the magnificent Banff national park in winter. So why not take this opportunity to attend a music festival? A mix of Canadian and small international acts (mostly Americans), like Ezra Furman last year, or Yonathan Gat in 2018. Small but always interesting shows. We have no info yet as of the line-up or format, but the festival will go ahead in some way.

Update: the festival is postponing for the summer but keep it in your calendar for 2022!

Wavelenght Music Series (Toronto, February)

This one is more underground. But as Canada’s biggest city and one of the most cosmopolitan, Toronto’s alternative scene is amazing. In addition, the organization is a non-profit that seeks to help the emerging bands and artists of other disciplines. They also book musicians from other cities. Some of the festival’s notable shows were Arcade Fire (Montreal) and Grimes (Vancouver). The program will be announced on 7 January. This year will be exceptional. Jonny Dovercourt, Wavelenght’s artistic director tell us: “In light of COVID-19, the 2021 edition of the festival will be all online, with virtual shows happening weekly throughout the month of February.” Will be a great way to discover the festival and the scene. The program will be announced on 7 January 2021. Tickets prices to be announced, but if you’re a local a ‘Wavelenght Passport’ for 99,99$CAD seems like a good idea.

Ga mee op een onvergetelijke busreis naar twee bucketlist-festivals in Oost-Europa

Festileaks Festivalvakantie 2022

Update: Lineup announced, including Canadian rising star Backxwash, whose live show is unmissable.

For more information, you can visit their website.

Nuit Blanche (Montréal, Saturday 27 February 2021)

Retour en photo sur l'édition 2020 de la Nuit Blanche💚

Posted by Nuit blanche à Montréal on Friday, March 6, 2020

Another one in Montreal, and another one mostly with local bands. But this one is special. In Quebec bars have to stop serving alcohol at 3am. But on Nuit Blanche, this rule is lifted for the night. In french, the name of the festival literally means “white night”, and we use it when we stayed awake until morning. So it’s very fitting, a festival-like atmosphere throughout the city with amazing music. Emerging bands, electronic music but also dance, theatre and many forms of art. It’s an international concept but the one in Montreal is something to live. The program of the 18th edition will be announced in February.

For more information, you can visit their website.

Contact Festival (Vancouver, December 2021)

British Columbia is magnificent in winter. And in addition to the surrounding nature, Vancouver itself is one of the greatest to visit in Canada. Coupling it with an EDM festival might be just the thing you need. In 2019, the event included Major Lazer, Tiesto and Kaskade. If you are cautious but still want to attend a festival in 2021, December is your best bet. The festival said to “stayed tuned” for an announcement in the new year.

For more information, you can visit their website.

Canada summer festivals 2021

For summer, stay tuned on festileaks for more info on Osheaga, Nuits d’Afrique, POP Montréal and more.

Akram is a 26yo living in Montréal. After visiting Sziget Festival in 2014 (and 2015, and 2016), his love for live music started ascending and is yet to peak. His favorite bands are Arcade Fire, Radiohead, M83, Big Thief, Beach House, Sufjan Stevens...