In July alone, there’s Treble Charger headlining the Canadian Indie Music Fest, a Sinatra tribute at the Trenton Big Band Festival and 54-40 at The Hayloft in the County. Toss in nine other not-to-miss music fests and concerts throughout July, August and September, along with free biweekly outdoor evening concerts in Trenton and Belleville, and you’ve got the makings for one of the hottest summer music lineups on record in the Bay of Quinte.
July 9, 2015, Zwick’s Park, Belleville. Kick off Belleville’s Waterfront Festival, voted one of the Top 100 in the province, with Canadian pop-punk legends Treble Charger and Canadian indie up-and-comers Rye and Silence, Suns of Static, Broken Foot and Stacey Renee. Good music, outdoors, fully-licensed—what more do you need to get the music started right this summer? Free.
Trenton Big Band Festival
July 18 – 19, 2015 Downtown and Centennial Park, Trenton. Bring back the golden age of jazz and swing with a little percussion, brass and woodwind. Saturday: a free glimpse of Sunday’s performances at the Trent Port Marina (2 pm) and Riverfront Square (6:30 pm). Sunday at Centennial Park (12 pm – 3:30 pm): some of the biggest in big band: The Brian Barlow Big Band, The Toronto All-Star Big Band and the Ragweed Jazz Band. $15 – $20.
July 23 – 25, 2015, Empire Square, Belleville. The region’s most popular rock festival is going all-Canadian this year. Pop-rockers Hedley take the stage on Thursday, followed by Blue Rodeo and Alan Doyle on Friday, and Big Sugar and Tom Cochrane to close things out on Saturday. Don’t be surprised to see collaborations up there. $30 – $50 ($100 weekend pass).
Napanee Country Jamboree
July 23 – 26, 2015, Napanee Fairgrounds. Get the boots ready for this four-day country music party packed with 40 entertainers, including local and Canadian country music talent like Johnny Burke, Lisa Hart and Colin Amey. Open mic and open stage, too. Nostalgia fans: check out the 50s and 60s dinner and dance on Friday evening. Camping passes available. Varying prices.
July 24, 2015, The Hayloft, Prince Edward County. Cherry Valley’s legendary barn bar and music venue re-opened this summer, taken over by Toronto’s Dakota Tavern. Local and international country, roots, blues and rock bands will be there until September, including 54-40, who’ve been together for over thirty years now, rocking venues with songs like “Baby Ran,” “Ocean Pearl” and “I Go Blind.” $37.50.
August 7 – 9, 2015, Amherst Island
I’ll let the details speak for themselves on this one: a three-day, country-Celtic-bluegrass-rock music festival on a 100 acre island property with 600 feet of waterfront. If that doesn’t at least grab your attention, how about the prospect of 18 bands, food vendors and a pet-friendly festival? $10 – $25 ($35 weekend pass).
August 8 – 9, Tsi Tkerhitoton Park, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
Though not solely a music event, song and dance is a big part of this celebration of Mohawk culture. Keep your ears and eyes out for the handheld water drums, which are made from hollowed trees and are used to accompany the Iroquois social song. When your feet get tired, try a traditional Indian taco or corn soup, or scoop up handmade crafts. $5.
Prince Edward County Jazz Festival
August 11 – 16, 2015, Prince Edward County
Now in its fifteenth year, this week-long festival has turned into one of the most respected jazz celebrations in the country. This year’s headliners include Guido Basso, Shakura S’Aida and Oliver Jones. The Regent Theatre is the epicentre but there’ll be performances at restaurants, wineries and churches across the County as well. Varying prices.
August 22 – 24, 2015, Tweed Fairgrounds
In 1989, the Elvis Sighting Society declared Elvis was alive and well and living in Tweed, and now it seems the King has multiplied. See what I mean at this wildly popular annual festival with an Elvis tribute artists’ contest at the centre of it all. The theme this year is “Elvis Christmas in August.” Camping available. Varying prices.
September 12, 2015, 737 River Road, Napanee
Soak up those last sun rays of the summer alongside the Napanee River with tenor saxophonist Michael Webster and his New York Band, as well as soulful singer Iyono Ede. Included with your ticket: complimentary pork on a bun and corn on the cob, along with one alcoholic beverage. All proceeds go to the Canadian Cancer Society. $50.
September 18 – 27, 2015, Prince Edward County
This classical music festival is back for its twelfth year, and this year there’ll be a celebration of the great German composer and pianist Johannes Brahms, who’s considered one of the “Three Bs” (the other two are Bach and Beethoven, by the way). Eight concerts in total, each happening at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, The Regent Theatre or Huff Estates Winery. Varying prices.
September 19, 2015, Sandbanks Provincial Park, Prince Edward County
Close out the season at the place that best captures the sun, waves and relaxed vibes of summertime in the Bay of Quinte. This one-day, outdoor festival favours the CBC Radio 3 crowd and will feature headliners Sarah Harmer and Apostle of Hustle, as well as Thus Owls, AroarA, Miracle Fortress, Suuns and Jerusalem in My Heart, and Folly & the Hunter. $30.