Five Must-See Acts at York Region's Aurorapalooza 2024

On August 17, Katie Tupper, the Free Label and more will perform at Town Park in Aurora, ON

Photo: Mike James

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished May 22, 2024

Aurorapalooza returns to Town Park in Aurora, ON, on August 17 this year. Organizers have now unveiled this year's lineup, and it just might be their most exciting collection of up-and-coming GTA-based acts yet. Even better, the York Region festival supports Ontario mental health initiatives through the Southlake Foundation, and is offering shuttle busses from the Aurora GO Station to make the event more accessible for people as far North as Barrie and as far South as Downtown Toronto.

In honour of the news (and early bird tickets being on sale for $25 now through May 31), here are Exclaim!'s selections for sets you can't miss during the single-day celebration of Southern Ontario talent for a good cause.

boy wonder
The Toronto filmmaker and Exclaim! Class of 2022 grad born Ryan Faist is a multi-talented multi-hyphenate who made a suite of stunning music videos for Dizzy last year. Now, he's back in the garage rock saddle as boy wonder — and he's fresh off an appearance at SXSW to boot. He once described his sound as "the Beach Boys on acid," but has admittedly never done acid — and the Beach Boys famously did it a lot, so maybe it's more accurate to describe his sound as "the Beach Boys not on acid."

Gracie Ella
Oakville born-and-raised Gracie Ella's voice has a depth to it that exists outside of space and time. A staple of the Spotify Mood Ring playlist, the R&B singer and frequent collaborator of polun (a.k.a. Terence "TEE" Lam) oscillates between using truly classic soul sounds and innovative hip-hop- and electronica-inspired landscapes as a playground for her remarkable instrument.

The Free Label
These Exclaim! New Faves alumni are known for bringing out the "fun" in "funk." The sextet of Toronto-based besties are all about making you get up and dance with infectious energy and catchy hooks as they sample sounds from different genres and eras into songs that feel like timeless crowdpleasers, flexing all the different facets of their skills while putting shared joy front and centre.

Rubber Tire Peep Show
Finally, a peep show the whole family can check out! Helmed by core members Harrison Smith and Liam Slingerland, Rubber Tire Peep Show are a band renowned for the synergy of their tight live sets, which they promise will never be the same twice. The Toronto collective will get jammy and groovy in equal measure as they bring together blues, country, soul, funk and rock with no brakes.

Katie Tupper
The JUNO-nominated soul artist from Saskatoon and provoker of bisexual awakenings everywhere has been gaining more and more heat with every song she releases — the latest being the slinky, technicolour "Need Nothing," following 2023's Where to Find Me EP. From the first cut-glass sultry note you hear her sing live, you won't be able to believe it's not butter.

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