Author | Photo Denise McMullen

A Guide to Toronto’s Winter Music Festivals

Compared to the summer, winter music festivals in Toronto are pretty few and far between. The good news is, the ones we have are really great!

I know, I know, it’s cold, it’s dark… we’re all suffering through these damp months together. But just to let you know, a surefire way to keep yourself miserable is staying inside, probably in bed, probably texting friends telling them it’s too cold to meet up, followed by several hours of mindlessly perusing Instagram. Well, you know what would get you a whole slew of Instagram likes? Cool photos from music festivals! Plus you’d be getting your SAD butt out of the house and moving! This season there’s a wide variety of genres to pick from: electronica, folk, indie talent, and some of the biggest rising names in Canada and the US! Pick your poison and get out there to dance those winter blues away.

The Class of 2014 | Silver Dollar | Jan 17, 18, 24 | $7
You can count on The Silver Dollar to provide you with all you need to know about what bands are going to be in the spotlight for the upcoming year. Grouped by genre, they’ve booked tons of buzzed-about bands across 5 different nights. This festival has already started, but there are still three dates left! At only $7 per night, this one is easy on the bankbook. Not to mention it will give you crazy amounts of indie cred to brag about for the rest of the year. Worth it.

Tallboy’s Big Smoke Festival | The Garrison | Jan 24-25 | $15
Big Smoke Fest really has it all figured out. Bands and brews. What more could you need? The line up is stacked with fantastic Toronto music-makers, like Army GirlsCAI.RO, KASHKA, and Basecamp. Plus your $15 ticket gets you a sampling glass and two drink tickets for delicious craft brews! See you there.

Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival | Echo Beach | Feb 1 | $47-94
EDM fans rejoice. The is an action-packed fest with several huge names in electronica all condensed into one glorious day. Welcome in February with Wolfgang Garnter, Felix Cartal, Sharam, and so many more. Treat this day like a sort of electronic defibrillator to zap some life into you so you can power through the rest of the snowy months!

Long Winter | The Great Hall | Feb 7, March 7 | PWYC

Long Winter is the coolest festival in the city. It’s creators (members of Fucked Up), know that winter seems endless, and figure that a good shock to the senses will help to get us through. So they’ve provided us with all the requirements for recurring, restorative booster shots of happinesss: interactive music, visual art, installation, reading, food, dance.

Wavelength ‘14 | Feb 13 -16 | $10-25
Wavelength ’14 is a four-night live curated mixtape of the best independent music coming out of Canada and the US in 2014. This mid-February festival features main-stage concerts taking place at a specially selected venue each night, featuring curated visuals and art installations. This year’s line-up includes Colin Stetson, Marnie Stern, DIANACousinsPhèdre, TOPSUS GirlsThe Wet SecretsOdonis Odonis, and many others. 

Winterfolk XII  | Various Venues | Feb 14-16| $10-25
Folk yeah! Sorry, had to. Bring your best stomping boots and hollerin’ voices, this festival is showcasing the best in folk, roots, jazz and blues. Over 150 artists will be playing both free and ticketed concerts at five venues throughout the lively Danforth neighbourhood.

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