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Must see event planner: Music & Fests

We may not be having a couple of enormous concerts on the Common this year, though who’ll miss the accompanying scandal? Not us. Instead, welcome Metallica, Arcade Fire and a monkey’s barrel of stellar music festivals.

by and

July 1-3

Stan Rogers Folk Festival

On the eve of the 15th anniversary of Canso's Stan Rogers Folk Festival, I remain amazed at how consistently the calibre of the lineup sneaks up on me. This year features the legendary folksinger Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary fame) and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Dan Hill. Former Broken Social Scene-ster Jason Collett is also on the bill along with Carmen Townsend, Charlie A'Court and the Crash Test Dummies. The cost for a day pass is a $35, for the whole weekend $120. --AL

Canso, $35, 888-554-7826,

July 8-9

Maritime Fiddle Festival

If your summer music needs require a few traditional sounds, check out the Fiddle Festival, featuring Gillian Boucher, Kevin Burke, Shannon Quinn and many more with mad skillz on the bows and strings. --CK

Woodlawn Road, Dartmouth, $25/$30 per day,,

July 8-16

Halifax Jazz Festival

The biggest and best jazz festival in the region continues to push the formal boundaries of what is jazz with its invites. Consider artists such as Talib Kweli and Digable Planets, with at least a foot in hip- hop, or The Bad Plus, Keren Ann and Jill Barber, with their pop and/or folk stylings as big a part of their music as jazz. Someone said variety is the spice of life. The jazz fest will be so spicy it'll burn your damn mouth! --CK

Festival Tent at Lower Water and Salter Street, various venues,

July 14

Metallica with Seether, Coheed and Cambria, Protest the Hero and Matt Mays

Put aside the concert scandal, the grumbling about ticket prices and the stature of the aging Godfathers of Metal following that mystique-stripping documentary Some Kind of Monster---Metallica's rep as a ear-pinning live act is unarguable. Those headed downtown to work on Friday, July 15 shouldn't be surprised to see Citadel Hill sheered flat, razed by the sheer volume and power of the diminished fifth notes. Fans will expect material from the early days (anything from Master of Puppets will be well-received), the commercial peak (the anthemic "Enter Sandman") and maybe even something the latest release, 2008's Death Magnetic. --CK

Citadel Hill Garrison Grounds, Sackville Street and Bell Road, $99.50 (+ fees),

July 17

Neil Hamburger

America's funnyman Neil Hamburger is set to take the tiny stage at Gus' Pub on Sunday, July 17. Prepare to bask in the music of throat-clearing, bathe in raindrops of flop sweat and dodge the spittle from his tireless invectives against celebrities, Axe body spray, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and his ex-wife. Hamburger has come to notoriety from frequent appearances on Jimmy Kimmel and Tim and Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job!---he also opened for Tenacious D and has provided celebrity commentary on CNN's Red Eye. Hamburger's brand of comedy isn't for everyone, but fans of slightly off-beat timing, awkward pauses and general boorishness would be advised to clear their schedules post-haste. --AL

Gus' Pub, 2605 Agricola Street, 423-7786

July 22-24


If you were at the 2008 Evolve Festival, you already know that Man Man puts on one of the wildest, most energetic displays this side of Gogol Bordello. And they're coming back. Yessss! Also filling out the lineup for the Antigonish festival is Chali 2na, best known as the sonorously-voiced MC from the late, great hip-hop group Jurassic 5, hippie wolf pack Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, the genre-skipping DJ Mat the Alien and my dadcrush and yours, Fred Penner, as well as great local acts like Ben Caplan & the Casual Smokers, The Caravan, Tupperware Remix Party and No Flyers Please. Hold onto your butts. --AL

 Antigonish, $145, 888-311-9090,

July 28

Arcade Fire with Owen Pallett

Recently Grammy-annointed, Montreal's Arcade Fire are the kings of indie rock. A couple of days after opening for U2 in Moncton---which we begrudgingly admit is the big show of the summer in Atlantic Canada---Arcade Fire will make a stand at Alderney Landing. David Byrne and David Bowie love them---it's hard to argue with that kind of endorsement. And even the casually curious will be able to enjoy the show at this reasonable price. --CK

Alderney Landing, $39.50,

July 29-31


I've only attended one Sappyfest, but so many of the moments from that weekend have been preserved in my brain's happy amber: seeing a back-to-back Calvin Johnson/Destroyer set in United Church, or my friends secretly getting the musical genius Jon-Rae Fletcher to sign a record I'd just bought. It's the one weekend of the year where seemingly every musician and music fan flocks to tiny Sackville, NB, and enjoys a diverse and always incredible lineup of Canada's indie finest. This year you'll get a taste of everyone from Bonjay to Chad VanGaalen to Jerry Granelli---and I can promise it will be the most blissful and perfect time you'll have all summer. --AL

Sackville, NB, $99.99, 888-311-9090,

July 29-31

New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee

It's hard to beat the stellar collection of performers this year at the annual New Glasgow party, running Friday through Sunday. Check this partial line-up list: Alert the Medic, Three Sheet, The Stanfields, The Trews, Matt Mays, Christina Martin, David Myles, Dave Gunning, Hey Rosetta, 54-40, a reunited Big Sugar, even Platinum Blonde. (For those of you born in the '90s, PB were kings of big hair power chords in the decade before.) --CK

New Glasgow, $60 early-bird full access,,

July 30


Giving some love to the hometown, the beloved rockers will give a free all-ages show on the Dartmouth waterfront. Definitely a good part of that August long weekend.--CK

Alderney Landing, Dartmouth

August 4-7

Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival

At one of Canada's great folk festivals, you'll find a collection of the best musicians who prefer to communicate via acoustic instruments and soulful songs and storytelling. This year's lineup includes spectacular west-coast guitar wizard Harry Manx, Madison Violet, Jenny Whiteley, Kim Wempe, Moonshine Ramblers, Wailin' Jennys, Thom Swift, Rose Cousins, Joel Plaskett and many, many more. --CK

Lunenburg, $115 festival pass,

August 6

Summer Rush

This year's Z103.5 Summer Rush concert features a mixed bag of hip-hop and R&B artists to make you good and sweaty. Local representation is provided by Classified, making his first trip back to Halifax since his latest album Handshakes and Middle Fingers dropped in March, as well as soul crooner JRDN (AKA Jordan Croucher) and Z103 station DJ No Luv. The concert also features Lil' Jon cohort Pitbull, Toronto pop up-and-comer Alyssa Reid and dreamboat Danny Fernandes (Shawn Desman's little brother). Keep your ears tuned to the station for loads o' giveaways until showtime. --AL

Alderney Landing, $37, 429-1035,

August 7


The line-up for the August 7th MFest concert at Alderney Landing is staaaaacked. Considering I probably would have shelled out for a ticket to see white-hot youngsters Surfer Blood alone, the added presence of Broken Social Scene, gristle-rock folk heroes Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and up-and-coming popster Diamond Rings sweetens the deal pretty nicely. Add the heavily adored Hey Rosetta! along with local favourites In-Flight Safety, Glory Glory and Carmen Townsend and there any excuse not to go? Call me a cargo-pants-wearing hipster twerp if you must, but I don't think so. --AL

Alderney Landing, $39.50, 888-311-9090,

August 12-14

Dutch Mason Blues Festival

The notion of "getting into" the blues can be pretty intimidating, especially for those of us whose knowledge of the genre begins and ends with that bar scene from Adventures in Babysitting. Thankfully the Dutch Mason Blues Festival in Truro aims to please both novices and diehard enthusiasts alike. The Grammy-winning Texans Los Lonely Boys will be taking the stage along with the Eric Clapton-endorsed Gary Clark Jr. and Willie Nelson's son Lukas Nelson, as well as Canadian blues legend Jack De Keyzer and British guitar whiz Joanne Shaw Taylor. Plus, there's a friggin' barbecue competition! --AL

Truro Raceway, $142,

August 27

Estuary Fest

A first-time music festival in Cape Breton, its aim is to celebrate community and music, something Capers do very well. Scheduled to perform are local and out-of-town acts, including Slowcoaster, Carmen Townsend, The Idlers, Richard James and The Name Changers, Scientists of Sound, Modern Slang Trio, Quivers and The Town Heroes. Details of other bands and attractions are still to come, but look for the event on Facebook. --CK

Inverness, Cape Breton, $39.50 adv., $50 at the door,

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