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Canadian Music Festival Profiles

Wavelength

Toronto, ON

Established in 2000, Wavelength began as a pay-what-you-can Sunday night series combined with a free monthly photocopied zine at Ted’s Wrecking Yard in Toronto — which was, back then, “held together with glue.” Built up by independent musicians and fans who wanted to share their excitement for the Greater Toronto Area’s underground music scene, Wavelength was created during the halcyon days of DIY, a philosophy that thrives on today. Though the zine published its last issue in 2005 and the weekly concert series wrapped up in 2010 with its 500th edition, Wavelength continues to support local heroes, unsigned artists and up-and-comers, with dozens of events per year including two annual festivals: the Wavelength Winter Festival and Wavelength Summer Festival.

Formerly Wavelength Music Festival (and, before then, Wavelength's annual anniversary celebrations), Wavelength Winter Festival brings warm community vibes to the dead of winter. Taking place every February, Wavelength presents three days of new Canadian talent, with alumni including Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Constantines, Grimes and Peaches. The festival also integrates the visual arts, with festival installation artist and set designer Roxanne Ignatius and General Chaos Visuals’ Steven Lindsey exhibiting their oeuvres, alongside a yearly slew of contemporary artists.

The Wavelength Summer Festival was initially Camp Wavelength, the latest attempt to host a festival on the Toronto Islands. The event had its origins in the Wavelength and Artscape-produced ALL CAPS! Island Festival, which ran on the Toronto Islands from 2009 to 2013. In the summers of 2015 and 2016, Camp Wavelength attendees were similarly invited to camp out on the Toronto Islands, with extracurriculars including a morning run led by the Wooden Sky’s frontman Gavin Gardiner, an arts and crafts table organized by local DIYers Static Zine and capture the flag games led by Posi Vibez.

In 2017, flooding on the Toronto Island forced the festival to relocate to the city proper, with "Day Camp" shows at Sherbourne Common and indoor "Night Camp" shows at the Garrison and the Great Hall. In 2018, the festival decided to stay in the city, moving to Fort York and Garrison Common, rebranding as the Wavelength Summer Festival in 2019. Festival alumni include indie rockers Cloud Nothings, dream pop outfit Young Galaxy, pop composer Lydia Ainsworth and sci-fi industrialists Odonis Odonis.