Published May 01, 2004Every Canadian has been to a music festival in the summer. Whether they've stumbled upon one during a stroll, or anticipated it since they impatiently clicked "refresh" until the online sale began, we've all been there. Festivals are an important part of the summer for music lovers. They give us a chance to see our favourite artists perform in the Great Outdoors and test our loyalty as we fight off sunstroke and mosquito bites. The line-ups are usually in bulk, featuring bands you came to see and those you hope will surprise and impress. And while our festivals may not all be the Bob Dylan / James Brown / Radiohead-headlining monsters that dominate the European circuit, Canada is fantastic at throwing parties in the summertime. Since the introduction last year of our annual Summer Music Festival Guide, the listings have grown considerably. But more impressively, for every two festivals in big market cities like Toronto or Vancouver, there is one like Miramichi's Folksong Festival the longest-running festival in North America. Canada's festivals are quite the opposite of stereotypical summer events like Woodstock or Glastonbury. In its typically diverse way, Canada has a lot more to offer than a loved-up cocktail of hippies, drunks, bad hats and foul porta-loos. When the season begins in May, the diversity spins into action with spirituality and community (Om, Shambhala), improvisational artistic expression (Victoriaville, Suoni per il Popolo Festival), good ol' traditions (Fergus Scottish Festival, Govan Olde Tyme Fiddle Festival) and star-studded country (Havelock Country Jamboree, Big Valley Jamboree). This summer promises to be another great season. This year, Canada can witness legends like Oscar Peterson, Al Green, Aaron Neville and yes, ZZ Top, at multiple stops on the circuit. Fans of something a little more contemporary will also find buzz-worthy rock acts such as the Constantines and Alexisonfire travelling through the provinces and territories. We'll see you out there among the flying bottles, campfire sing-alongs and bad tan lines. Cam Lindsay British Columbia Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Vans Warped Tour, Shambhala, Victoria Ska Festival and more! Prairies TD Canada Trust Jazz Festival, Stage 13, Calgary Folk Festival, Peg City Holla and more! Ontario North By Northeast, Om Summer Solstice Festival, Edgefest, Hillside, 416 Graffiti Expo and more! Quebec International Festival Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, Mutek, Pop Montreal and more! Maritimes/Territories Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Atlantic Jazz Festival, Dawson City Music Festival and more!