Summer Festivals in London, Ontario 2015
Summer in Southwestern Ontario is very fun. The weather is always warm (though hot and humid could also be adjectives to describe the weather). Along with the sun comes a series of festivals in the Forest City that make a ‘staycation’ a very serious possibility. Most people don’t get 8 weeks off so taking the time just relax in your hometown is a good thing. There is no need to head off to the big smoke two for entertainment. There are so many different festivals in London, Ontario that you can attend one E.V.E.R.Y. single weekend if you wanted to. They vary from cultural (music and art), sports or food and beverage fests. Keep checking on the blog for a list of summer festivals in this area as well as in Toronto, Detroit and Ottawa. This week, we’ll start with the lovely city that I live in with my family: London, Ontario.
Located two hours west of Toronto or two hours east of Detroit, London is a city that if full of history and a great place to spend the weekend. With a population just under 400,000 best know for being the home of Western University, London Life, Labatt’s Brewery and 3M Canada. We have a minor league baseball, basketball and hockey teams. London is on the concert circuit with many big ticket performers coming Budweiser Gardens. It has a divers community. You can find every possible amenity here. All major hotel chains can be found either downtown or by the 401 off of Wellington. Later on this week, I’ll give you a list of places that you can stay in London for the weekend. Just a head’s up, make sure to make your reservations soon after because these festivals bring many music and food lovers.
All of these festivals are family friendly and mainly based at Victoria Park in downtown London (you can see a map below for parking details). Some of these festivals are as short as one day and as long as 11. You can find just about any type of music, food and fun so make sure to make a trip to London. If you want more information about our lovely city be sure and drop by London Tourism for a full list of events.
- International Food Festival – June 26 – 28, 2015 – Victoria Park www.Canadasbiggestparty.com
Forty to fifty food Vendors that provided over 200 food choices from all over the world. You can get sample or full meal size portions so come hungry. There is a Beer and Wine Garden (in front of band shell) with bands playing both in the afternoon and evening. For the kids, Campbell Amusements Carnival Rides will be there. For $20 all-you-can-ride bracelet as well as single tickets-for rides and games – are available with parents riding for free.Friday 11 am to 11 pm
Saturday 11am to 11pm
Sunday 11am to 9pm
- TD Sunfest – July 9 – 12th, 2015 Victoria Park – http://www.sunfest.on.ca/
In its 21st year, Sunfest is one of my favourite summer festivals. Boasting over 250,000 visitors throughout three days, if you have been to Sunfest before, you know that is highly likely. From mid-morning to late into the evening, London is lit up with music from all over the world. Do you like jazz? Folk or World Music? Maybe it’s a bit of country or salsa or maybe a fusion of different types of music. I promise you, you will find that at Sunfest. It still is amazing to me that world class acts come to London to perform year after year but they do and I am pretty happy about it. I grew up in Montreal and having world class jazz acts was expected but you were also expected to pay to hear them play. An THAT is the beauty of Sunfest, you find a huge variety of acts right here in London. All you need is a lawn chair and a love for world music and you are done. With acts from Wales, Scotland, Angola, Belgium/Columbia and North America you will never be bored. Open your mind to some wonderful music, food and vendors. You may find a bit of colour in our mostly beige world.
Thursday, July 9, 11:00am
Friday, July 10, 11:00am
Saturday, July 11, 11:00am
Sunday, July 12, 11:00am
- Rock the Park Music Festival – July 14 – 18, 2015 – Harris Park
Five nights 23 artists. This has to be one of the most popular music festivals in London (or Southwestern Ontario for that matter). With the demise of Sarnia’s Bayfest in 2012, it appears that Rock the Park has become a bigger and bigger event. Its first ten years focused on Classic Rock but in 2013 it added Country music stars and this year Keith Urban will be appearing on Wednesday, July 15th. To say the least, this will be a popular night. It’s the first time Keith has been to London and he is a poplar draw for sure. Other acts include Train, Smash Mouth, Gin Blossoms, Billy Talent and many more. You can buy individual tickets or Passes. Each day starts at $46 with VIP anywhere from $66 to $209.
- Home County Music and Arts Festival July 17 – 19, 2015 – Victoria ParkIn its 42nd year, this is going to be a very exciting year for Home County with Canadian greats like Martha Wainwright, Grapes of Wrath, Skydiggers, Sarah Slean, The Leahys and Sylvia Tyson closing the festival, the line-up for Home County 2015 is going to be great. Want to meet a Canadian Celebrity: Colonel Chris Hadfield to MC Friday Main Stage. We saw him as a family when we were in Ottawa three years ago and he was so inspirational. I certainly hope someone convinces him to sing! I love this particular festival as it is a mixture of folk and country music with a lot of very interesting vendors. I’ve brought many things through the years as Home County brings vendors from all over the province. Looking for locally made goods you can find it here. Home County is renowned for its juried craft show. Craft booths showcase Canadian artisans and include pottery, glass, jewellery, fine art, textiles, metal, wood, photography, and gourmet foods. There is such a variety of vendors that you need to take the your time walking around.
Please remember, Home County is supported by those that attend. Make sure to bring change and bills to support this great Music and Arts Festival! Please support this family-friendly, non-profit event, operated by a community organization and administered by a volunteer Board of Directors and over 300 volunteers! A suggest donation of $5 a day is appreciated and any donation over $20 will get you a tax receipt.
2015 Music Programming:
Friday July 17: 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Saturday July 18: Noon – 11:00 pm
Sunday July 19: Noon – 9:00 pm
2015 Craft Vendors:
Friday July 17: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday July 18: Noon – as late as 11:00 pm
Sunday July 19: Noon – 8:00 pm
- Pride London Festival – July 17 – 26, 2015 – various locations
Over eleven days, 18 venues and 30 events. Pride London is a celebration of the LGBT community. With events varying from a Women’s hockey tournament, open mic (varied talent show), music, film and art exhibits there are plenty of ways to celebrate and get involved. You can participate in a BBQ or seek solace in a service at Metropolitan Community Church on Dundas Street on Sunday, July 19th. There are speakers at Museum London, movies at Rainbow and Palace Theatres. Never went to your Prom? Problem solved an event for 13 – 18 year olds hosted at Club Lavish welcomes students and chaperons for this wet/dry event.
The highlight of the festival is usually the Pride Parade.
DATE: Sunday, July 26th, 2015 from 12:30 PM
LOCATION: Queens Avenue (the parade will travel north on Ontario Street to Queens Ave; West on Queens Ave to Wellington Street; North on Wellington Street to Wolfe Street; The parade will disperse at Victoria Park.)
10:00am – 12:30pm – Western Fair District Parking Lot (Off Rectory Street)
There are plenty of events that you can participate so enjoy the fun that is the Pride London Festival.
- London Ribfest – July 30 – August 3rd, 2015 – Victoria Park
Rib-Rides-Music-Beers… that is what you can find at one of the largest festivals in London. With different restaurants competing for the title of best ribs, you will have a great time tasting the different varieties of ribs. You can hang out and listen to over 50 bands throughout the 5 days. I enjoy the idea of Ribfest but it can easily break the bank if you are a family of 5 especially if your kids love ribs like ours do. Beware that the line ups can be long but know that the length of a line does not mean that the ribs are not as good. We have experimented with that theory in years past and always found that you get a good meal wherever you go. Always well attended (up to 200,000, according to their website), you many want to make a full day of it with rides for the kids, a beer garden for the parents and a lot of different food choices for everyone. I clipped the names of all of the Ribbers that will be attending the 2015 Ribfest so do your homework before you head over. Rib Awards will be held at 3:00 pm on Monday, August 3rd.
Thursday 11 am to 11 pm
Saturday 11am to 11pm
Sunday 11am to 9pm
Monday 11 am to 9 pm
- Forest City Beerfest – 3 pm – 11, Aug 15, 2015 – Convent Garden MarketMany beers a short period of time. Bring ID. Plus, have a designated drive, take public transport or walk home. Its beer, how can you go wrong. That is all.
Additional information you may want to know when attending these festivals:
Here is a map of available parking in the downtown core. Its good to know that when there are large festivals Wellington street is usually closed from Dufferin Ave. north to Central Ave. Victoria Park is an easy 5 minute walk from the hub London Transit buses stops on the corner of Dundas and Richmond.
There are many ways to enjoy the all of these festivals. Make sure to plan ahead if you plan on enjoying the Beer Tents (take public transport, catch a cab or stay with a friend) and make sure to drink responsibly. Did you know? It’s now illegal to smoke on patios and around food concession stands.
#SmokeFreeSpaces Otherwise, here are a few things that you may want to bring:
- Sunblock / Hat
- Mosquito repellent for the evening performances
- Lawn chairs
- Refillable water bottles
- Reusable plates, cups, cutlery
- Backpacks and reusable cloth bags for your purchases
- Money (for donations), food, drink and trinkets