Donate to Hillside

Hillside is a registered charity!  Our registration number is 12949 3292 RR0001.

Hillside Festival happily accepts donations of any dollar amount.  Here are just a few of the initiatives you can choose to support.


Girls & Guitars

Encourage a girl. Make her believe.

This project proceeds from our recognition that the music industry tends to be dominated by males who are typically the performers, agents, presenters, promoters, and critics of music.

  1. In-school seminars featuring singing and songwriting;
  2. Staged performances at Hillside's summer and winter festivals; and
  3. A songwriting course

By placing female singer-songwriters in the schools who will teach children about the power of voice, of continued music practice, the importance of creativity for maintaining a healthy life, and how to write songs that move and inspire, we are hoping to make grassroots change among the upcoming generations.  Through our staged performances and our songwriting course, we want to encourage artists of all ages to be heard, loudly and clearly, because equality is not only a central feature of our vision, it is fundamental to peace, liberty, and fair opportunity in our world.  


Indigenous Circle

Commit to education. Commit to peace.

Another in-the-schools program that Hillside offers involves one-hour sessions for elementary and high-school students led by an Anishinaabe storyteller. These sessions allow students to understand more about Indigenous culture through drumming and storytelling circles that use instruments and talismans to teach the mores of Indigenous peoples. Through this program, students become more knowledgeable about Canadian culture, the fabric of which is comprised of the belief systems of many honourable peoples. The cosmology of Indigenous peoples sees humans as a constitutive part of the land, which is viewed as a spiritual being rather than a material fact. The drum is “the heartbeat of the earth” and the mallets are “Grandmother’s arms.” There are myths and stories that birthed the rituals of the drum and give meaning to the music.  These sessions teach children about the seasons, the elements, and the directions so that they better understand how this way of understanding the world differs from the Western tradition and how they can be mutually supportive so that we can better prepare our children to be informed peacemakers and empathic community-builders.


Green Initiatives

Plant courage. Harness hope.

In past years, we have raised money that went directly to the creation of a pedal-powered stage in the Children's Area, for example. The Rainbow Stage in this area has amps and speakers and microphones and lightslike any of our other four stagesbut we wanted to power that technical production using bicycles that generate and store energy. This way, Hillsiders not only got to participate in the creation of the sounds and lights of the stage by pedaling the bicycles, but they also got to do so in an environmentally-conscious way that helped to shrink our carbon footprint. This initiative was part of the larger greening of our festival that has been underway since 1984 and includes such ventures as dishwashing (we don't have any throwaway dishes on site), free water, the digging of compost pits on-site, tree planting, and the shuttle bus which runs back and forth from downtown Guelph to Guelph Lake Island during the festival.

In 2019, we became carbon-neutral after more than 30 years of green initiatives and at least 5 years of measuring every centimetre of our carbon footprint. We have won multiple awards for our green initiatives, from the International Clearwater Award (2019) to Best Green Operations (Canadian Music Week 2016) and the Honour Roll Award from Grand River Conservation Authority, their highest distinction, for “a sustained record of achievement over an extended period of time.” We have also won the Best Greening Award from Festivals and Events Ontario from 2008-2020.


If you'd like to donate to one of these causesor to just help subsidize the "madness" of our community festivalkindly use the button below. If you would like your donation to go toward a specific cause, please email our Executive Director, Marie Zimmerman. Marie will be happy to channel your enthusiasm to the right budget line.