Here’s where to catch your must-see bands at an epic music fest or curate your own tour of Toronto’s live music scene.

Toronto is a heavy hitter on the festival and live music circuit, luring performers and fans from far and wide. But what if — gulp! — your travel dates don’t sync with your dream festival? Don’t panic! With all the great venues and shows year-round, you can program your own music tour. Here’s who’s headlining and where.

Rock, alt & roots

Annual festivals: 

Catch the hottest alt, roots and indie acts at Field Trip, which takes over the grassy field of Fort York National Historic Site. This year’s lineup includes Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Peach Pit, Lucy Dacus and Kurt Vile & The Violators, among others. It’s fun for the whole music-loving family, with food trucks and a kids’ camp, where small fry can play, create art or catch shows on the kids’ stage. 

The Wavelength Winter Festival showcases emerging artists. Can’t wait until next year? Catch their lineup of indie musicians at the Wavelength monthly concert series (venues across Toronto). 

…Or build your own tour:

The Queen West neighbourhood is the best place to catch indie bands. Try these venues. 

Horseshoe Tavern | Drake Underground | The Cameron House | The Garrison

EDM, dance & hip-hop

Annual Festivals:

Veld Music Festival (July 29 to July 31, 2022)

OVO Fest (2022 TBD)

Downsview Park heats up summer with Veld Music Festival’s three-day lineup of 45+ EDM, dance and hip-hop artists. This year’s headliners include Alesso, The Chainsmokers, Armin Van Buuren and Marshmello. With 30,000-strong crowds, Veld is one of Canada’s biggest EDM events, with concert stages, food vendors, beer tents and more. 

OVO Fest is hometown hero Drake’s not-quite annual hip-hop love-in. Past performers at this Toronto music festival have included Rihanna, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Eminem and another notable local, The Weeknd. Typically held in October, a future festival was teased pre-pandemic.

…Or build your own tour:

Catch DJ sets and musicians at these electronic, dance and hip-hop focused nightclubs.

Rebel  | Coda | Toybox


Annual festivals: 

After nearly three decades of legendary shows from the likes of Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis and Diana Krall, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival is the elder (hepcat) statesman of Toronto’s festival scene. This year’s acts include Smokey Robinson, Gregory Porter and the Aline Morales Quintet.

The Beaches International Jazz Festival takes a more lifestyle approach, with visual art, a street festival and a charity run to enhance its eclectic lineup of jazz, blues, African, Caribbean, Latin and R&B performances.

…Or build your own tour:

Catch live performances at the city’s top jazz lounges. 

The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Club | Jazz Bistro | The Reservoir Lounge | Poetry Jazz Café

World beat

Annual festivals:

Toronto Caribbean Carnival, a month-long celebration of Caribbean music, cuisine and revelry, has been a don’t-miss event for over 50 years. Highlights include reggae, soca, steel drum and calypso performances, as well as the King and Queen competition showcase, and the Grand Parade (July 30, 2022), which attracts more than a million spectators and participants each year.

The TD Salsa in Toronto Festival brings concerts, dance parties, performances, art exhibits and  salsa cruise nights — to venues throughout the city. The highlight is the weekend-long TD Salsa on St. Clair Street Festival, which features live music, dancing (including salsa lessons), a kids’ zone and plenty of food trucks and booths. 

Newcomer Salsa on the Beach is a two-day mini-fest that’s part of the month-long Beaches Jazz Festival.

…Or build your own tour:

Feel the beat at these worldbeat live music venues. 

Lula Lounge | El Convento Rico | Harbourfront Centre (summers only)