Discover Burlington Ontario

Attention: Please be aware, due to the age of this blog post, some content and links may be out of date.

Sound of Music Festival

by Linda Cvetanovic

I have always loved music, especially live music.  There is nothing better than the feeling of being part of a crowd looking up at the stage as your favourite artist plays the songs that you have listened to over and over again.  Years ago, I worked at a record store and the first question the seasoned employees asked me as a newbie was “what kind of music do you like?” I’ve never been a one genre of music kind of gal – I like it all, which brings me to the Sound of Music Festival  – the ultimate free music festival no matter what your musical tastes.

Sound of Music Festival - JuneFor the past 35 years, the Sound of Music festival has brought free outdoor concerts to Burlington.   Their long and storied past includes performers like Tom Cochrane, The Stills, USS, Divine Brown, Matt Dusk, Robert Michaels, Cowboy Junkies, Ronnie Hawkins, Natalie MacMaster, Glass Tiger, Trooper, Leahy, Michael Burgess, Serena Ryder, Jim Cuddy Band, Finger Eleven, Molly Johnson, David Wilcox, 54-40, Kim Mitchell, Valdy, The Philosopher Kings, Tomi Swick, Kim Stockwood, The Good Brothers, Marc Jordan, Sloan, Tom Wilson, Murray McLauchlan, Spirit of the West, The Trews, Bedouin Soundclash, Tokyo Police Club, Emerson Drive, Devo, Men Without Hats, Carly Rae Jepsen, Arkells, Walk Off The Earth and Treble Charger, Raine Maida, Big Wreck, LIGHTS, Down With Webster and April Wine, just to name a few. 

This year the festival kicks off on June 7 with a rock show that will have fans of 80’s rock pulling out their vintage tees and heading to Spencer Smith Park.   The afternoon kicks off with Stone River,  this band may not have been around in the eighties but they embody old-school southern-style rock and roll.  Next up is former Rough Trade frontwoman Carole Pope, a Juno award winner and new wave/alt rocker – this is one show you don’t want to miss.   It will be hard to follow an act like Carole Pope but if anyone can do it then it’s powerhouse Lou Gramm, the voice of legendary rock band Foreigner.   Whether he’s belting out hits from his solo career or the many top ten hits from his days with the band this performance is sure to bring back memories for anyone that grew up in the 70’s & 80’s listening to their transitor radio and dreaming of big rock shows.   Canadian rockers Coney Hatch will keep the party going as we head into the evening hours.   When you hear “Let’s shake” you can’t help but think of Teenage Head, the Canadian punk pioneers out of Hamilton, Ontario.  I can’t wait to see if anyone is in “the pit” doing the pogo.   If you still have party all day and rock all night stamina then you’ll close out the kick off with Canadian rock icon, Kim Mitchell.   I think Kim Mitchell would agree it’s your “Rock and Roll Duty” to attend this free waterfront concert and kick off the Sound of Music festival.

The next week from June 12-15 the Sound of Music is in full swing.  Thursday night is always amazing; it’s the show that no one expects to launch a festival because the headliner is just that good!  This year is no exception.  Starting at 7pm bands will hit the Festival Stage leading up to headliner, The Sheepdogs at 9:45.  The story of The Sheepdogs is awesome, they hold the distinction of being the first unsigned band to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and it was the fans that voted them on it.  They have lived up to the honour and are now a multi-Juno award winning rock and roll band.  Don’t miss your chance to see them live.  If your tastes are more classic rock then you will want to visit the OLG Stage for three amazing tribute bands.  Up first is Keep the Faith (Bon Jovi), followed by Who Made Who (AC/DC) and Absolute Journey (Journey). 

Friday (June 13) afternoon the music starts at 1pm with the singer/songwriter circle on the Festival Stage.   As the work week ends, the party begins.  The main stage will be going urban with Canadian rapper D.O. opening the night then “Let your backbone slide” with legendary hip-hop artist Maestro (Fresh Wes).  Close the night out with platinum-selling rapper Classified, this party will be hype!

At the OLG Stage things take a turn to the country with The Reklaws kicking off the night.  Kira Isabella with her powerful vocals and amazing stage presence holds the middle spot and the night is rounded out with Jason Blaine.  Jason is taking country by storm and will strum at your heart strings with his powerful ballads and then have you dancing to hits like “Feels Like That” before the night ends.  Over the course of the weekend, the downtown will be rockin’ as the annual Streetfest brings music and more to the streets of Downtown Burlington.  Check out the full schedule here.

Sound of MusicSaturday (Jun 14) morning the iconic Grande Festival Parade works its way through the streets beginning at Central Park, working around the downtown and ending at Central High School.  With an array of bands including Burlington’s own Teen Tour Band participating in the parade, the streets are alive with music. 

The stages at Spencer Smith Park come alive starting at 1pm and feature some great acts throughout the day including Colin James on the Festival Stage, Sloan on the OLG Stage,  kids entertainment in the Family Zone and the Burlington Hyundai Stage and Cogeco Stage also feature a variety of local and up and coming bands throughout the day.

Saturday night goes to hard rocking Monster Truck out of Hamilton.  This powerhouse band is a favourite of Slash (of G’n’R fame) and is currently touring with Alice in Chains.   If you like it loud then be sure to be at the Festival Stage as rock dominates the night.   For something less aggressive but still rock and roll, take in the distincitive vocals of Gord Downie (frontman from the Tragically Hip) with The Sadies. 

Sunday afternoon, the bands on the OLG Stage are the perfect dance party combo including headliner Karl Wolf who will have you groovin’ the afternoon away to hits like “Africa” and “Magic Hotel”.

On the Cogeco Stage,  Ashley MacIssac will have you up on your feet with his mix of traditional celtic with a fresh twist.

The Festival Stage will feature classic Canadian rock bands including The Stampeders, B.C. Natives Chilliwack (I can’t even  type their name without the chorus of “My Girl” playing in my head) then get ready to “Raise a Little Hell” and close out the festival with Trooper

Throughout the festival, there is so much to do beyond the music.   Kids and parents will enjoy the shows and activities in the Family Zone; experience the rides and games of the carnival and visit the food, merchandise and craft market while you’re here.

The skies will light up all weekend as the festival presents fireworks nightly (Thurs-Sun) at 11pm.  Saturday night’s display will be set to music and be a longer show.

Don’t forget to check out the schedules for the Burlington Hyundai Stage and Cogeco Stage.  Over the course of the weekend there is so much talent we just can’t list them all!

Sound of Music Festival in partnership with ArcelorMittal Dofasco is pleased to offer Sweet Seats, an opportunity for guests to enjoy premium seating and hospitality services for Festival Stage shows. Tickets are on sale to the general public and proceeds raised from these sales will be donated to the Green Angels fund at Royal Botanical Gardens. 

Sound of Music Hotel DealIf you are planning an overnight visit consider the sweet seats – suite deal.  The package includes: 2 Sweet Seats tickets ($200 value), one night hotel stay in a standard room (single or double) Hilton Garden Inn, includes breakfast ($120 value), taxi voucher to and from the hotel ($50 value) & Burlington attraction discount tickets ($20 value) all for only $265!  Be sure to book your stay by June 11th to receive this deal – details here.

Once again, the Sound of Music festival has put together a stellar line up and all this music is free!  For more information on planning your visit to Burlington give us a call at 877.499.9989, visit our website or connect with us on twitter or facebook.  Also look for our travel counselors on site at the festival – we’re always happy to help.

Rock On!

Leave a Reply