Rock the Boat! Maritime Summer Music Festivals

The musical Maritimes are full of festivals and concerts to remember all summer long! Here are a few favorites we’re looking forward to seeing.

Summer in the Maritimes is the perfect time to see the sights of the region—it’s also the time to explore the sounds! From roaring crowds singing along to the biggest hits, to intimate gatherings in small venues, to ceilidhs and kitchen parties, the Maritimes is known for its music. If you’re ready to get your toes tapping this summer, then join us on a tour of upcoming music festivals in the Maritimes that you won’t want to miss.

Stan Rogers Folk Festival
July 25 – 28, Canso, Nova Scotia

There are few Canadian songwriters as beloved as Stan Rogers, and though he was born and raised in Ontario, he spent many summers visiting Guysborough County. Stan’s songs have always resonated with Maritimers, which is why we celebrate his life and music every year at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival. Whether it’s a jam session around the campground or a headlining set from Suzanne Vega, Polaris Prize winner Jeremy Dutcher, or Donovan Woods & The Opposition, the music and magic go hand in hand at this special festival on Nova Scotia’s rural shores.

Area 506
August 2 – 4, Saint John, New Brunswick

concert crowd

Get ready to celebrate all things New Brunswick at Area 506! Named after the New Brunswick area code, Area 506 has been in a huge event in Saint John for several years now, and the 2019 edition is shaping up to be the best yet. Headlined by Interpol, City and Colour, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Matthew Good, and more, Area 506 promises to be a rockin’ good time! But it’s more than just music—you’ll also be able to sample food from more than 10 pop-up restaurants, as well as enjoy cultural showcases in the special Shipping Container Village. And may suggest the perfect encore to your festival experience—a trip aboard the mv Fundy Rose!

The Riverfront Jubilee
August 2 – 4, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

Looking for a show where up-and-comers share the stage with Canadian musical royalty? Then you’ll feel jubilant about The Riverfront Jubilee! For more than 20 years, The Riverfront Jubilee has been a New Glasgow tradition—drawing fans and musicians from all across the country. This year is now different, with names like Kim Mitchell, Sass Jordan, Trooper, Ria Mae, and Wintersleep taking the stage over the course of three nights. You’ll also have the chance to hear the next great generation of Canadian musicians with performances by Andre Pettipad and the Giants, the Hypochondriacs, the Collective, and more.

SappyFest 14
August 2 – 4, Sackville, New Brunswick

stage performance
Photo Credit: @tragic_rabbit13

The first weekend of August, SappyFest will transform Sackville, New Brunswick from a sleepy border town to the coolest spot in the Maritimes. Now in its 14th year, Sappy (as festival goers call it), is all about indie—indie music, vendors, chefs, artists, and more—meaning if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path, this is the festival for you. You’re sure to stumble across your new favourite artist, fall in love with the small town charm, and forge new friendships that last a lifetime (not to get too sappy or anything!).


Rock the Boat
August 3, Tyne Valley, Prince Edward Island

This August, Tyne Valley is turning it up to 11 at the 6th annual Rock the Boat festival! Indulge in some rural PEI hospitality, along with some amazing tunes from Headliners Big Wreck and The Road Hammers. Also on the bill are Canadian classic rockers Honeymoon Suite, and the Island’s own Haywire. While you’re here, be sure to also check out the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival, where you can check out the National Oyster Shucking Championship—where Daniel Notkin will be defending his Canadian shucking championship. Sea food and singalongs? Sounds like a perfect Maritime weekend to us!

Blacktop Ball
August 9 – 10, Ponds, Nova Scotia

Photo credit: @blacktopball_ns

What do you get when you mix music, camping, and beaches with some good old fashioned tomfoolery? You get The Blacktop Ball! Now in its fifth year, this event truly is a ball! Headlined by The Stanfields, Garrett Mason, Gabrielle Papillon, The Monoxides, and more, The Blacktop Ball also features axe throwing, food trucks, and the always popular dog pageant! Best of all, if you’re travelling to the show with us, you can enter the promo code BLACKTOP19 to save 10% on your trip with NFL Ferries between August 8-11.

Rock the Hub
August 23 – 25, Truro, Nova Scotia

Truro transforms from Hub Town to Music City from August 23 – 25 for the Rock the Hub festival. Now in its third year, Rock the Hub is quickly earning a reputation as one of our region’s favourite festivals. This year, headliners include the Sheepdogs, Monster Truck, Glorious Sons, Beaches, Matt Mays, and the Trews—all of which are certain to have you singing along and throwing up the rock horns with your closest friends!

Halifax Urban Folk Festival
August 25 – September 1, Halifax Nova Scotia

Person playing guitar

The Halifax Urban Folk Festival (HUFF for short), is more than just a celebration of songs, it’s a celebration of songwriters. Now in its 10th year, HUFF’s all-star jam sessions and song circles, have become the stuff of legend—as talented songwriters share the stories of what inspired some of their best work with intimate crowds. Over the course of this year’s weeklong festival, you’ll have the chance to check out headlining performances by the likes of Matthew Sweet, Damhnait Doyle, Alejandro Escovedo, and more. Who knows, the stories shared might even inspire you to write a song about your own Maritime getaway.

September 10, Moncton, New Brunswick

If you’re feeling nostalgic for 90s rock, this is the summer festival for you! A revival of the iconic Canadian festival, Summersault is bringing together some of your favorite bands for a day rocking out, singing along, and plenty of fun. Featuring Canadian legends Our Lady Peace as headliners, Summersault’s lineup also includes Bush (or as Canadians may remember them, Bush X), Live, and more. There’s no doubt this festival is aptly named, because it has us flipping with excitement!

Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival
September 10 – 15, Fredericton, New Brunswick


Over the course of six days every September, The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival transforms Fredericton into the musical centre of the Maritimes. Here, you’ll find over 400 artists and 150 performances across 20 stages. This year, Robert Plant—yes, that Robert Plant—headlines this amazing festival that will also include performances by Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Kathleen Edwards, Nathanial Rateliff &The Night Sweats, and many more. Whether you’re in town for a night or making a week of it, you’re sure to find an unforgettable show that will have you feeling anything but blue!

Of course, no Maritime tour is complete without a ride on the ferry. Whether you’re making your way to the Island, rocking out in New Brunswick, or strumming your guitar through Nova Scotia, we’ll make sure you arrive in style. Book your voyage aboard the mv Fundy Rose, the mv Confederation or mv Holiday Island, or The CAT today and let the sounds of the open waters be music to your ears!

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