Article originally published in the May-October 2018 edition of the Atmosphere magazine, to which Florence K added an additional selection of not-to-miss festivals. Read the latest edition of the Atmosphere magazine here.
JUNO Award nominee Florence K has performed at renowned music festivals around the world, from the Montreal International Jazz Festival to the UK’s Isle of Wight Festival. Here, she shares some of her favourite fests to heat up your summer.
Montreal International Jazz Festival
Although Montreal abounds with world-class festivals, the Montreal International Jazz Festival is extra special to me. There, I’ve applauded, among others, Stevie Wonder, Diana Krall, Aretha Franklin, Dr. John, Diego el Cigala, plus many instrumental jazz groups. But above all, I had the good fortune of performing there several times, and those moments onstage will always be among the most memorable of my career.
Ideal for: Those with music in their souls
Montreal , Quebec.
June 28-July 7, 2018
A small festival turned mega! Founded in 2006, as Montreal became a go-to in North America for indie music, Osheaga hosts rock, rap and alternative music stars on an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, all without ever abandoning its indie music roots, and taking care to select equally local artists and rising stars. For those who have seen Eminem or Snoop Dogg here will surely remember Osheaga as the perfect place to get down with the party.
Ideal for: cultivating your eternal youth
August 3 to 5, 2018
Vancouver Jazz Festival
I performed at the Vancouver Jazz Festival three years ago and was greatly charmed by the enthusiasm of the audience. This particular group of listeners did not necessarily know me but were truly engaged in my music, whether I was singing in French, English, Spanish or Portuguese. And above all I loved performing outside, amidst skyscrapers, mountains and salty air. From the stage, it was breathtaking to open my eyes between my refrains and behold the splendour of the landscape.
Ideal for: Those who cannot decide between city and nature
Vancouver, Bristish Columbia
June 22-July 1, 2018
Vancouver Folk Festival
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the wonderful Vancouver Folk Festival. It is held at Jericho Beach Park, a beautiful landscape, where thousands of folk fans gather each year to enjoy their favourite artists. And there is nothing better than to be surrounded by nature whilst revelling in the harmonies of guitars, vocals and those roots and country rhythms.
Ideal for: those who don’t live according to the rules
Vancouver, British Columbia
July 13-15, 2018
Kensington Market Jazz Festival
Proximity is a major asset to better absorb the magic exchanged during interactions between the musicians on stage. When it comes to jazz, blues, funk or soul, that’s exactly what the charming Kensington Market Jazz Festival offers. For three days the bohemian bistros and bars of this artistic district offer dozens of shows by local talent. Each venue is packed with an enthusiastic audience who appreciate live music and good food!
Ideal for: Those whose secret dream is to live like a musician
September 14-16, 2018
Boots and Hearts Music Festival
This shindig is Canada’s biggest country music gathering. With its huge stage and impressive lineup of artists— which, this summer, will include Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett—this festival draws tens of thousands of attendees every year. Boots and Hearts spotlights the best of the
modern country scene. You can set up a trailer or tent on the site’s gigantic camping ground and experience electrifying evenings to the sound of
today’s biggest country music hits.
Ideal for: Fans of camping and “glamping” (camping… with glamour!)
August 9-12, 2018
Fredericton Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival
I had never been to Fredericton before being invited to play twice at its irresistible Jazz and Blues Festival. I say irresistible because the organisation is impeccable, the shows are eclectic while at the same time respecting the tradition of the genre, and the audiences are particularly warm.
Ideal for: enjoying the last days of summer in a beautiful town
Fredericton, New Brunswick
September 11-16, 2018
Isle of Wight Festival
Going on stage here is like entering a legendary realm. After all, this is where The Rolling Stones and The Pretenders have played. I had the opportunity to perform in front of an audience that didn’t necessarily know me but seemed to truly enjoy discovering a new Canadian artist. The Isle of Wight Festival showcases performers of many musical genres but always reserves a prominent spot for rock music—this summer, catch The Script, The Killers and many others rock the stage.
Ideal for: those who like to play by their own rules
Newport, United Kingdom
June 21-24, 2018
Arena di Verona Opera Festival
It’s impossible to imagine the power of the feeling that overwhelms you when you attend an opera in the Arena of Verona, in the city of Romeo and Juliet. Productions begin at sunset as the audience lights up the ancient Roman amphitheatre with thousands of little candles. When I attended Aida, I was impressed by the fact that neither the orchestra nor the voices were amplified. The venue’s natural acoustics carry the music straight to your ears.
Ideal for: the romantic in you
June 22-September 1st, 2018
The Biennial of Flamenco
Flamenco is one of Spain’s most precious gifts to the world. At the Biennial of Flamenco you’ll be enchanted by the fiery footwork of the dancers, the notes of the Spanish
guitars, the rhythms of the cajón and the exquisitely throaty voices of the singers who bring their hearts and souls to this, the biggest festival of its kind in the world.
Ideal for: the truly passionate
September 6-30, 2018
How does one go to Portugal without being completely bewitched by fado? With its melodies oscillating between the pain of love and the extreme joy, this traditional music consisting of Portuguese guitars and particular inflectional voices sends an arrow straight to the heart. This is added to by the beautiful historical monuments in which the Caixa Alfama concerts take place, such as Sao Miguel Church, Sao Estevao Church or Palco Casa Ermelinda Freitas Square.
Ideal for: Those who love spectacular voices
Dates TBA (The festival usually takes place at the end of September)
Jazz to Juan
Yet another reason to fall in love with the Côte-d’Azur. In Antibes and Juan-les-Pins is a must-attend event for jazz fans, Jazz a Juan. On the shores of the Mediterannean, in a breathtaking location, musical crossbreeding is put forward without compromising the purest tradition of jazz.
Ideal for: Your inner jazzman
Antibes and Juan-les-Pins, France
July 12-22, 2018
The Dour Festival devotes its five days to the current music of the Belgian and international scene, whether electronic, hip-hop, drum n’bass, indie, techno, reggae, rock or pop. The concerts take place for seventeen hours a day, starting at noon until five in the morning. This is a great way to enjoy the beautiful French-speaking region of Belgium while celebrating the best in today’s music.
Ideal for: dancing non-stop, night and day, day and night
July 11-15, 2018
Lailan Lavan / White Night Tel Aviv
This is the night when nothing closes, when music and fun reign supreme, and when thousands of lights illuminate this culturally avant-garde city. There are stages set up for DJs; bands play their best songs in the streets; and everyone, young and old, stays up ’til the wee hours of the morning to enjoy this unique night.
Ideal for: those who think sleep is totally overrated
Tel Aviv, Israel
Jacob’s Ladder Festival
This Israeli festival is held twice a year on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and is dedicated to folk music and its variants, from bluegrass to country, not to mention world music and blues. The beauty of the Jacob’s Ladder Festival is not only in the amount of programmed music but also in the multitude of related activities which are offered, including dance workshops and yoga classes.
Ideal for: escaping from reality
Kibbutz Ginosar, Israel
May 10-12, 2018 and the Fall of 2018
Under the sun
Jamaica and reggae are inseparable. Whether you want to spend the evening moving to the latest dancehall sounds or prefer to while away the
afternoon grooving to the rhythms of more traditional reggae, the Reggae Sumfest is the world’s No. 1 reggae festival—and you won’t be disappointed.
Ideal for: Those who move to their own rhythm
Montego Bay, Jamaica
July 15-22, 2018
Miami Salsa Congress
Salseras, salseros! Put on your dancing shoes and get your hips moving for five straight days of salsa music at the Miami Salsa Congress! Bringing together singers and dancers, all energized by the sound of congas, Cuban tres and clave, this is the planet’s top salsa gathering and takes place in the perfect setting: Miami Beach!
Ideal for: those who like it hot
Miami, Florida, Unites States of America
July 25-29, 2018
Havana Ballet Festival
To visit Havana is to dive into the heart of a city where Cuban rhythms resonate night and day. But it is also in Havana where the magnificent Alicia Alonso Grand Theatre is located, dating from the colonial period, which houses the headquarters of the National Ballet of Cuba, renowned for its performances throughout the world. The 26th Havana Ballet Festival, unique in its kind, presents every two years a prestigious program at the Grand Theatre of Havana, the Karl Marx Theatre and the Mella Theatre. You can see both the National Ballet of Cuba as well as international dance companies.
Ideal for: those who wish to satisfy all their senses
October 27-November 3, 2018
Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi and La Charreria
Mariachi music originated in western Mexico in the 19th century, specifically in the region of Guadalajara, where the largest gathering of fans of this tradition is held each year. Singers, trumpeters, guitarists, dancers, orchestras, parades, and all of the variations of the Mariachi art form now cross the borders of Mexico and have a ten-day rendezvous at its cultural epicenter for the Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi and La Charreria.
Ideal for: Partying in the way of the traditional Mexican culture
August 31-September 9, 2018