If you live in Vancouver—and you’re reading this, so it’s a safe bet that you do—you probably have barely enough expendable income left after paying your rent (or mortgage, ha!) to even dream about booking that trip to Europe. What you probably can afford is a festival pass or two and sufficient gas money to get your ass out of town for a while.
Here’s a list of music festivals within a day’s drive from Vancouver—and yes, that includes the one in the Northwest Territories. You can get from here to Yellowknife in under 24 hours, as long as you don’t make any stops along the way, and that’s why the trucker bomb was invented.
Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival
June 17 to 19 at Gibsons Landing in Gibsons
Why you’re bumming a ride: Well, jazz, obviously, from the likes of the Trudi Diening Trio, Karen Graves Quartet, Dan Brubeck Quartet, the Carnival Band, Silk Road Music, Sweet Pea Swing Band, Elphinstone Jazz Band, and the Colorifics.
Big selling point: You can’t really claim to be a Beachcombers fan—and every true Canadian is a Beachcombers fan—until you’ve had a cup of coffee at Gibsons institution Molly’s Reach.
June 22 to 26 at various venues in Calgary
Why you’re bumming a ride: From influential alt-music titans like Guided by Voices, Built to Spill, the Sonics, Tortoise, and Psychic TV to (relative) newcomers Kaytranada, Angel Olsen, and Julia Holter, Sled Island features lots of great stuff. And also Peaches.
Big selling point: Just kidding; Peaches is rad, and she is also Sled Island’s guest curator this year, which is your guarantee that things will get freaky.
Victoria Ska + Reggae Festival
June 22 to 26 at Ship Point in Victoria
Why you’re bumming a ride: All anyone who’s into this sort of thing really needs to know is that the mighty Toots and the Maytals are on the bill. The presence of other acts—such as Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra, Ninjaspy, and Orquestra Brasileira de Musica Jamaicana—is really just a bonus.
Big selling point: Did you miss the part where we mentioned Toots and the motherfucking Maytals?
TD Victoria International Jazzfest
June 24 to July 3 at various venues in Victoria
Why you’re bumming a ride: Serious heavyweights from the world of jazz and beyond, including Joe Jackson, Gregory Porter, case/lang/veirs, the Oliver Jones Trio, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, the Dan Brubeck Quartet, the Joe Lovano Classic Quartet, Ana Popovic, and David Gogo.
Big selling point: Bah bah bah nop do bo de do bah bah bo de do bobo zwee-ah zizzah zwee-ah zizzah zwee-ah zizzah.
June 30 to July 3 in Vernon
Why you’re bumming a ride: Headliners Big Sugar and Platinum Blonde, plus local Okanagan bands and tributes to U2 and the Tragically Hip.
Big selling point: Unless you scored Tragically Hip tickets or are willing to pay scalper prices, the Hip Show is as close as you’re going to get to the real thing.
Tall Tree Music Festival
June 30 to July 3 at Brown’s Mountain in Port Renfrew
Why you’re bumming a ride: Mother Mother and Current Swell are the major draws, but with Shad, Hollerado, the Dudes, Bear Mountain, and Smalltown DJs on the undercard, you can’t go wrong. There’s also someone on the bill called Fleetwood Smack. Clever!
Big selling point: Admit it: you’re dying to know what the hell Fleetwood Smack is all about.
Vancouver Island Musicfest
July 8 to 10 at Comox Valley Fairgrounds in Courtenay
Why you’re bumming a ride: If you’re looking for edgy, this ain’t it. But with the likes of John Prine, Matt Andersen, Serena Ryder, Martin and Eliza Carty, 54-40, the Trews, and Ashley MacIsaac, you could argue that quality trumps edge.
Big selling point: The Comox Valley is one of the prettiest spots on God’s green Earth, and if you can’t find a little bliss there, you won’t find it anywhere.
Center of Gravity
July 8 to 10 at City Park and Hot Sands Beach in Kelowna
Why you’re bumming a ride: Sports-friendly EDM and hip-hop from Skrillex, Ice Cube, Afrojack, Machine Gun Kelly, Sleepy Tom, Showtek, and the improbably named Sheset Steez. (Try saying that three times quickly without swearing!)
Big selling point: No one is going to this thing for the music. It’s a “beach festival” with wakeboarding, volleyball, and an endless parade of bangin’, buff-bodied bros ’n’ babes, God bless ’em.
July 8 to 11 at Active Mountain Resort in Merritt
Why you’re bumming a ride: Tickets sold out months in advance, but if you turn up at the gate with a pair of headphones around your neck, a milk crate full of 12-inches under one arm, and a full sleeve of kandi bracelets, you might be able to convince the Bass Coast security folks that you’re late for your DJ set and they’d damn well better let you in.
Big selling point: If the names of the Librarian, Tropidelica, Michael Red, Zebra Katz, the Funk Hunters, and Fort Knox Five mean anything to you, you’re probably one of the smart people who bought tickets when they went on sale in the spring.
Harrison Festival of the Arts
July 9 to 17 in Harrison Hot Springs
Why you’re bumming a ride: Performances by the Boom Booms, David Francey, Yemen Blues, Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project, the Paperboys, and the Good Lovelies. All that plus a children’s day, an art market, and workshops in aboriginal drum-making, Brazilian dance, harmony singing, and “crystal spirit sound healing”.
Big selling point: Crystal spirit sound healing has to involve getting stoned, right? It just has to.
TD Concerts at the Pier
Saturday nights July 9 to August 20 on the waterfront in White Rock
Why you’re bumming a ride: This weekly concert series includes performances by Daniel Wesley, Moulettes, the Washboard Union, Dustin Bentall & the Smokes, Dave Jacobs-Strain, Harry Manx, the Katherines, Switch to Black, Twin River, Field Study, BeyondTheEyes, Jordan Klassen, Desiree Dawson + Ava Carich, Joshua Hyslop, Sean & the Strangers, JP Maurice, and Richard Tichelman.
Big selling point: Sure, White Rock isn’t quite “out of town” in the way that, say, Yellowknife is. After all, you can get there in under an hour, as opposed to 24. But if you’re like us, you don’t spend much time on White Rock’s charming waterfront, which is a shame, because going there is just like being out of town, only not quite.
Folk on the Rocks
July 15 to 17 in Yellowknife
Why you’re bumming a ride: The Joel Plaskett Emergency, A Tribe Called Red, the Barr Brothers, IsKwé, Slowcoaster, the Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Lauren Mann, Twin Flames, Tasman Jude, and Cécile Doo-Kingué are all making the trek north to the Land Where the Sun Don’t Shine, or whatever they call it.
Big selling point: Raise your hand if you’ve been to Yellowknife. No? Well, here’s your excuse to go.
July 21 to 25 at Beaverfoot Lodge in Golden
Why you’re bumming a ride: Dance in the forest to the tree-rumbling sounds of Adham Shaikh, Bear Grillz, Doctor Werewolf, WMNSTUDIES, Longwalkshortdock, Krafty Kuts, Marten Hørger, and Coming Soon!!!. The poor squirrels won’t know what hit them.
Big selling point: The sight of thousands of bewildered woodland critters scampering in all directions as soon as the first bass note drops.
Rock the Shores
July 22 to 24 at West Shore Parks and Recreation in Colwood
Why you’re bumming a ride: It’s not every day that sleepy Victoria’s even sleepier bedroom community of Colwood plays host to Current Swell, City and Colour, July Talk, Yukon Blonde, the Cat Empire, the New Pornographers, Metric, the Arkells, and Eagles of Death Metal.
Big selling point: Sneak backstage and you might get a chance to browbeat EODM’s Jesse Hughes about his indefensible right-wing views.
PDX Pop Now!
July 22 to 24 at AudioCinema in Portland, Oregon
Why you’re bumming a ride: This hyper-local annual fest features only emerging indie acts from Portland, Oregon. That pretty much ensures that you’ve never heard of any of the performers, none of whom had been announced by press time.
Big selling point: Your guess is as good as ours.
Mission Folk Music Festival
July 22 to 24 at Fraser River Heritage Park in Mission
Why you’re bumming a ride: We don’t yet know who’s playing the Mission folk fest this summer, but past lineups have included folk and world-music veterans such as Buffy Sainte-Marie, Guy Davis, and Zakiya Hooker, and relative newcomers like the Andy Leftwich Trio, Good for Grapes, and Lion Bear Fox.
Big selling point: It’s live music by the Fraser River. What’s not to like?
July 22 to 25 at Cheekye Ranch in Brackendale
Why you’re bumming a ride: You are no longer a perma-rolling raver who can dance for 36 straight hours with short breaks only to hydrate, hit the porta-potty, and drop more molly. You’re a grownup with real responsibilities now, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to groove in the woods. It just means you want to do it at a festival with a full slate of yoga classes and children’s activities.
Big selling point: Performers include Trevor Hall, the Boom Booms, Adham Shaikh, and, judging by the festival website, many people with acoustic guitars who probably reek of patchouli.
July 23 in New Westminster
Why you’re bumming a ride: It seems as if the Boom Booms managed to get booked for every festival taking place within a 50-kilometre radius of Vancouver this summer. For this urban street party, they’ll be joining Good for Grapes, Téa Petrovic, Little India, Field Study, Tonye Aganaba, Twin River, the Katherines, and others.
Big selling point: You just know that at some point an all-star jam of “Uptown Funk” is going to break out. Also: free admission!
Merritt Rockin’ River Fest
July 28 to 31 at Merritt Festival Show Site in Merritt
Why you’re bumming a ride: If the names Sam Hunt, Brent Lee, Randy Houser, the Road Hammers, John Michael Montgomery, and Dean Brody mean anything to you, then you know that, in spite of its name, this is a country-music festival.
Big selling point: And if you’re familiar with past country-music festivals that have taken place in Merritt, you probably assume that rockin’ is a euphemism for screwin’.
Mount Baker Rhythm & Blues Festival
July 29 to 31 at Deming Log Show Fairgrounds in Bellingham, Washington
Why you’re bumming a ride: If your notion of R&B includes Beyoncé, the Weeknd, Frank Ocean, and Rihanna, this is probably not your kind of rhythm and blues festival. Your grandparents, however, will probably think driving down to Bellingham to see the likes of the Yardbirds (featuring the original drummer!) and Savoy Brown is just groovy.
Big selling point: No pesky young people ruining everything with their selfies and their Snapchat and their embittered rants about student debt and how they’ll never be able to buy a house in Vancouver.
Electric Love Music Festival
July 29 to August 1 at Cheam Fishing Village, Agassiz, B.C. (relocated from Allie Lake)
Why you’re bumming a ride: Electric Love sounds like a festival dedicated to sex toys, but you won’t find a California Exotics Butterfly Kiss or a Tracy’s Dog Flirt Rotating Bullet here, so you’ll have to rely on Krafty Kuts, J.Phlip, Seaway, Mark Instinct, Space Tribe, Skiitour, Slynk, Everyman, Woofax, Father Funk, and Mat the Alien to provide the EDM climaxes.
Big selling point: We’ve got nothing more to say, because we blew our load writing the bumming-the-ride bit.
July 29 to 31 and August 5 to 7 at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington
Why you’re bumming a ride: Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Brooke Eden, Eric Church, and a big pile of other Nashville acts with shiny boots and nice hair.
Big selling point: If we’re being totally honest, the only real reason we would go to this thing is to see Kacey Musgraves. She’s awesome. Everyone else can go chase a tractor.
July 30 and 31 at the Max Bell Centre Festival Grounds in Calgary
Why you’re bumming a ride: In 2016, the term EDM is akin to what emo was a decade ago—a label liked the least by the artists who fit it best. So let’s not describe Chasing Summer performers Martin Garrix, the Chainsmokers, Zeds Dead, Hardwell, Galantis, Seven Lions, Party Favor, Zaxx, and Sleepy Tom as EDM, even though that’s exactly what they are.
Big selling point: Do you like EDM?
Shambhala Music Festival
August 5 to 8 at Salmo River Ranch in Nelson
Why you’re bumming a ride: Having launched in 1998, Shambhala is the granddaddy of all dancing-in-the-forest electronic-music gatherings. Felix Da Housecat, Smalltown DJs, Skratch Bastid, XXYYXX, Shigeto, the Gaslamp Killer, Nightmares on Wax, the Funk Hunters, Fort Knox Five, Excision, and Space Jesus are among those keeping the good vibes alive.
Big selling point: Space Jesus! Who wouldn’t want to see what that’s all about?
Summer Meltdown Festival
August 11 to 14 in Darrington, Washington
Why you’re bumming a ride: Summer Meltdown boasts what is possibly the most eclectic lineup on this list, complete with folk revivalists Rising Appalachia, indie rockers Bright Light Social Hour, Slovenian beatsmith Gramatik, brassy Afro-soul explorers Budos Band, and saxophone sensation GRiZ.
Big selling point: Well, you’re sure as hell not going to get bored.
Vans Warped Tour
August 12 at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, Washington
Why you’re bumming a ride: The Warped Tour has been going for 21 years, which is longer than most of its attendees have been alive. Because some things apparently never change, this year’s lineup includes Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Sum 41, and Yellowcard.
Big selling point: If emo-pop, ska-pop, and punk-pop aren’t for you, this year Warped offers rap (Waka Flocka Flame), deathcore (Whitechapel), neo-glam (Palaye Royale), and however the fuck 3OH!3 describes itself.
August 19 to 21 at Cumberland Village Park in Cumberland
Why you’re bumming a ride: Atmosphere Gathering bills itself as a “boutique” festival, with tickets limited to 1,500. The lucky few will enjoy the sounds of the Soul Rebels, Liquid Stranger, Delhi 2 Dublin, Frazey Ford, Kinnie Starr, Father Funk, SkiiTour, and many others.
Big selling point: If you’re there for all three days, you’ll probably get to know everyone else in attendance. That’s 1,499 new best friends!
August 19 to 21 in Rock Creek
Why you’re bumming a ride: Black Mountain, Timber Timbre, the Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer, the Pack A.D., Stickybuds, Royal Canoe, the Boom Booms, the Belle Game, Moontricks W/Smoothie, Louise Burns, Dada Plan, Buckman Coe, Andrew Judah, Cathedral Bloom, Giraffe Aftermath, Cam Penner, Dirty Spells, Herald Nix, La Grooveolucion, Twin Bandit, Rhoneil, and Youngblood.
Big selling point: Did you know that at Ponderosa you can rent a six-person tepee? That would pair nicely with your Cherokee war bonnet, which you should absolutely not wear to this or any other festival if you have any sense at all.
Legends Valley Music Festival
August 26 to 28 at Laketown Ranch in the Cowichan Valley
Why you’re bumming a ride: Sublime With Rome, the Sheepdogs, the Boom Booms, Bif Naked, Daniel Wesley, and other acts that stoners like, which is important because…
Big selling point: More than just a music fest, Legends Valley also hosts an international competition for cannabis growers. If you’re not a toker and are, like, just there for the tunes, man, keep in mind that the spectacle of stoned people dancing makes for excellent viral videos.
MUSICFESTNW Presents Project Pabst
August 27 and 28 at Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon
Why you’re bumming a ride: Duran Duran, Tame Impala, Ice Cube, Ween, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Drive Like Jehu, Strfkr, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, A$AP Ferg, Parquet Courts, Andrew W.K., the Coathangers, Diarrhea Planet, and a reason to visit Portland, where we hear the dream of the ’90s is alive.
Big selling point: At a music festival sponsored by Pabst, you’ll probably have little trouble finding beer.
September 2 to 4 at Seattle Center in Seattle, Washington
Why you’re bumming a ride: Seattle locals Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Death Cab for Cutie top an epic bill at the feet of the Space Needle. This year, Seattle’s best party also includes KYGO, Tame Impala, G-Eazy, Halsey, Pretty Lights, DJ Snake, Porter Robinson, Zeds Dead, Run the Jewels, Fetty Wap, Father John Misty, Explosions in the Sky, Third Eye Blind, and Andrew Bird.
Big selling point: It’s fucking Bumbershoot!
September 15 to 18 at various venues in Victoria
Why you’re bumming a ride: Keep the festival season going just a little longer with Jurassic 5, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Wolf Parade, X Ambassadors, De La Soul, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Band of Skulls, Coleman Hell, Lee Scratch Perry, Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long, and the inexplicably revived Prozzäk.
Big selling point: If you must say goodbye to summer—and, sadly, there isn’t really an alternative—this is the way to do it.