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Savour mouth-watering ribs, grab a bite at one of the ethnic-inspired kiosks or food trucks, or sample some locally-brewed craft beer with other enthusiasts. It's festival season and time to unleash your foodie self or groove to the world beat with other music lovers. There are plenty of good reasons to spark your energy or get in touch with your inner child at the many iconic family-friendly and food-focused festivals in London.
While you are exploring London, be sure to tag your photos with #LdnGem & #LdnOnt!
This is the time of the year we celebrate Ontario’s craft beer culture, music, film, theatre, arts and culture, and our robust local food scene. Be sure to grab some chalk and get your creative juices flowing at the Expressions in Chalk Street Painting Festival or attend Sunfest, the second largest outdoor festival of world music and jazz in Canada. It is among the top 100 summer destinations in North America that happens annually! Marquee festivals that draw thousands of visitors who come to enjoy our hospitality include: the Kids Expo and Children's Festival, Latin Gastronomy Festival, Rock the Park, Western Fair and the International Food & Craft Beer Festival.
Don’t miss country music’s biggest and best party on Canada Day weekend! Trackside Music Festival at Western Fair District features 2 days of country music artists. Talent ranges from big name headliners, to up and coming country music stars, to homegrown local talent. Budweiser Gardens, Live Nation, London Music Hall and Western Fair District get together to bring you some of country’s top superstars. This is the ultimate country music experience. Local acts perform on the Sidetrack Stage for the Home Grown Showcase.
Trackside Music Festival
Rock the Park Music Festival is an immensely popular outdoor music event held over four days in July in Harris Park. The line-up of world class headliners and featured performers has evolved beyond classic rock to embrace popular music genres like country music and hip hop. This an annual event is held in support of Make-A-Wish® Southwestern Ontario, Big Brothers Big Sisters of London & Area, Children’s Health Foundation, and Western Football. The festival grounds feature big screens, sponsored booths, food trucks and food vendors offering classic festival foods and VIP access.
Rock the Park Music Festival - photo by cliffdavidson.ca
Home County Music Festival has the honour of being London’s longest-running festival, celebrating 43 years and counting. Named among the top 100 Festivals in Ontario, Home County has grown from a purely folk-oriented festival into a six-stage event offering something for everyone. The festival features over 30 food vendors showcasing a variety of cuisines.
Home County Music Festival
London’s Sunfest has received rave reviews for bringing some of the finest world-beat and jazz acts to Victoria Park’s Bandshell and four temporary stages. The festival celebrates the music, dance, crafts and cuisines flavoured with a diversity of cultures. Live music performances by over 30 bands from Canada and abroad, as well as competitions, a youth talent show, a parade, games, competitions and over 300 vendors.
The London Ribfest features “Ribbers Row” where ten ribbers with their own signature BBQ sauces, cook up an assortment of ribs, pulled pork, and chicken. Ribbers battle it out for awards including “Best Ribber” and People’s Choice. Dozens of International food vendors are on site offering everything from poutine and beaver tails to ethnic and cultural specialties. Other attractions include the popular beer garden, amusement rides, exhibits and three stages of live music. If you also enjoy the roar of a chainsaw, the thumping of axes and flying wood chips then be sure to check out the series of axe and saw competitions for the STIHL Timbersports Canadian Championship held throughout Ribfest. New for 2018, the London Ribfest is now featuring London Craft Beer as well!
The London Ribfest
Forest City Beer Fest is downtown London’s annual celebration of craft beer. The festival takes over Rotary Square at the Covent Garden Market allowing you the opportunity to discover Ontario’s exploding craft beer culture. Brewers showcase their newest and most-loved brews, including several homegrown favourites like Anderson Craft Ales, Toboggan Brewing Company and London Brewing Co-operative. Food trucks and food stands are part of the dynamic mix. Watch for seasonal Forest City Beer Festival Pop Up Bars.
Forest City Beer Fest
Open your mind to an alternative experience. The Fringe Festival is an annual festival of cutting-edge theatre, music, film and other visual art forms showcasing local and national talent. Over 40 plays are staged along with poetry readings, storytelling and spoken word. Performances are held at various outdoor and indoor venues around central London.
The Fringe Festival
Pride London Festival is a 10-day celebration championing cultural, artistic and educational events which supports and affirms gender identity and the lives of the LGBTQ community. Whether you’re part of the community or simply a friend, this is one festival that wraps up with a parade that has plenty of colour and positive spirit.
Pride London Festival
The celebratory annual London Lesbian Film Festival is for anyone who self-identifies as a woman. This event is organized by the Reeling Spinsters with the aim of showcasing the richness and diversity of the lesbian experience. In addition to strengthening lesbian networking opportunities and building community, the festival comprises three days of film screenings at the Palace Theatre and Aeolian Hall. There is also a reception, dance and brunch as part of the festivities.
The London Bluesfest takes over Harris Park for three days in August with two licensed areas and several craft and food vendors. Headline artists include international musical legends from the best of blues and classic rock. After a great day at the London Blues Festival the entertainment continues at London's finest bars and pubs with local and regional blues acts.
The family-friendly Oxford Renaissance Festival brings history buffs together in elaborate period costumes for an action-packed weekend full of fun. Set in medieval times, legends of Knights and Maidens are brought back to life in live shows. Featuring jousting, a melon-flinging trebuchet, comedy troupes, fire-eating performances, magic shows and vendors, there is something for everyone! There is an after-hours pub (age 19+) featuring Celtic music, food and ale. Come for the weekend.
Oxford Renaissance Festival