The Experience

Hillside Festival brings innovative music, Indigenous drumming, children’s entertainment and environmental learning to thousands of people.

In ordinary times, when there was no physical distancing and mask-wearing, the experience of Hillside was a full-body one. The swell of music, the grass between your toes, the ice cream on your chin, the press of dancing bodies, and the scent of incredible Hillside food wafting across the island: these are the things we cannot experience together this year. But what we can give you is a virtual community gathering, borne of the wildly creative imaginings from artists and contributors who want to lift your spirits. Musicians, drummers, singers, and chefs, playwrights and poets, writers and teachers—we bring them together here so you won’t forget what art and culture can do to transform us, unite us, and make us dance in our own backyards.

We continue to hope we will return soon to an organization that holds our two large in-person celebrations (the summer and winter festivals), but in the meantime, we are working at finding ways to offer our year-round educational workshops in Indigenous culture, songwriting, peacemaking, health & wellness, and environmental projects. As a 37-year-old grassroots organization that promotes creativity, altruism, equality, environmentalism and peacemaking in every aspect of its work, Hillside has won 25 awards for its programming and 15 awards for its green initiatives in the last 12 years.  The Globe and Mail, CBC Radio 2, and Eric Alper have named it “one of the ten best festivals in Canada” several years running. In 2019, we became carbon neutral and won the International Clearwater Award for leadership in environmental sustainability.

For a small taste of Hillside, browse our summer festival locations below.

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