Hot summer in Halifax


Don’t be fooled by those “well actually, I love the snow” types: everyone knows summer is the best time of year to be a Haligonian. There’s so much to see and do, you could easily overlook some gems. We’re here to help.


Tuesday Night Tunes at the Maritime Museum
Continuing through August 28
This concert series is back for another summer of live music on the Halifax waterfront. The schedule includes guitarist Vladimir Sitnikov, folk duo Ragged Robin, and singer-songwriter David Bradshaw.


FIN Outdoor
July 6, July 13, July 20
Every year, the team at FIN Outdoor (formerly known as the Outdoor Film Festival) dream up a fantastic new summer theme for their outdoor movie screenings. This year, we’re flailing our arms Kermit-style for the “Summer of Henson.”


Dartmouth Concert Band’s Summer Concert Series
July 12–August 18
Check out the 50-member Dartmouth Concert Band as they spend the summer traveling around the region playing everything from pop music to marches.


Seas the Day: Books at the Beach
July 13–August 31
Imagine spending long summer days relaxing on the beach, book in hand, waves breaking nearby. Isn’t that what a Maritime summer is for? Make it a reality by checking out Seas the Day at Rainbow Haven. Halifax Public Libraries will supply the books, you supply the sunscreen.


Neptune Theatre
July 3–29 
Singer/songwriter Ian Sherwood hosts The Argyle St. Kitchen Party, an evening of song and stories with guests that include Mo Kenney (July 17–19), and Christine Campbell (July 24, 25).


Maritime Metal and Hard Rock Festival
July 6–7 
Break out the devil horns for this year’s Maritime Metal and Hard Rock Festival featuring special guests Obey the Brave (Montreal), plus 20 bands from across the Maritimes.


Maritime Fiddle Festival
July 6–9 
Take a break from kitchen parties and go outside for Canada’s “longest running old-time fiddle festival and competition.” This year’s festival will take place at the East Dartmouth Community Centre.


Halifax Summer Opera Festival
July 18–August 12 
With a fully staged and costumed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Mozart’s Don Giovanni topping the roster, this year’s Halifax Opera Festival is going to be a big one. Don’t miss it.


Trunk 7 Music Festival
July 20–21 
Visit Peace Park in Musquodoboit Harbour and enjoy performances by Joel Plaskett, Christine Campbell, The Town Heroes, and much more.


Halifax Urban Folk Festival
August 31–September 2 
Intimate musical performances in 10 of Halifax’s best bars and restaurants. What more could you ask for? This year’s festival features 49 artists, including Brad Roberts, Tim Baker, and Lilly Hiatt.


Halifax Jazz Festival
July 10–15 
The 2018 edition of JazzFest looks set to defend its undisputed title as Halifax’s hottest festival, with a lineup that includes Chaka Kahn, Whitehorse, The War on Drugs, Daniel Caesar, Molly Johnson, Matt Andersen & The Mellotones, Charlotte Day Wilson, Nicholas Payton, Jeri Brown, Dub Kartel, and many more. Free concerts include matinees on the waterfront, shows at libraries around the city, performances at Hydrostone Park and the Dartmouth Peace Pavilion. Ticketed evening shows at the waterfront main stage, St. Matthew’s Church, The Carleton, and more.


David Glen Hatch

An Evening of Music from Around the World
July 18 
Short on cash this summer but still want to take in the best the city has to offer? Start with this free concert at Dalhousie Arts Centre, featuring world-renowned pianist David Glen Hatch and his fourteen “award-winning and internationally performing friends and protégés.”


Thorgy Thor

Thorgy and the Thorchestra
July 2728 
The announcement of this fun-filled performance by Thorgy Thor of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame was so enthusiastically received Symphony Nova Scotia added a second performance. ’Nuff said.


Mi’kmaw Dancer and Singer Trevor Gould
July 30–31 
Powwow dancer Trevor Gould talks about Mi’kmaw culture at Cole Harbour, Keshan Goodman, and Halifax North Memorial libraries. He’ll also perform songs, dances, and drumming.


Covered! at The Seahorse Tavern
August 10 
Four random bands will be chosen by lottery to play alongside a surprise headliner covering local favourites like Wintersleep, Buck 65, The Superfriendz, and The Rankin Family. Honestly, this will probably turn out to be the most entertaining event on this whole list.


Nancy Wilson

Roadcase Royale
August 15
Nancy Wilson’s coming straight on for you, Halifax, and she’s bringing Liv Warfield and the rest of Roadcase Royale along for the ride. Catch this incredible act at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.


Lebanese Festival
July 5–8
Enjoy dancing, music, and of course, food at this free cultural event held annually at the Olympic Community Centre.


Halifax Pride Festival
July 19–29 
Always a summer highlight, the Pride Festival includes a wide range of events across the city. This year, the parade will take place on July 21st.


Africa Festival of Arts and Culture

Africa Festival of Arts and Culture
July 20–22 
Held at Sackville Landing on the Halifax Waterfront, Afrifest includes dance workshops, drumming, a craft and food area, and musical performances by Carson Downey, African Queens, Bobomusique Band, and more.


Mosaic Festival
August 18
This brand new, one-day festival bills itself as “a new multicultural festival for Halifax.” Highlights will include a parade, concerts, and a chef’s corner.


15th Northern Lights Lantern Festival
August 11 (rain date August 16) 
Show your love for Halifax’s North End by attending this award-winning event at Merv Sullivan Park.



Peggy’s Cove Area Festival of the Arts

Peggy’s Cove Area Festival of the Arts
July 4–16 
Something for art lovers of all ages, including a Studio Tour, a Gala Reception, and the ever-popular Paint Peggy’s Cove (July 14–16), bringing dozens of local artists to the village to ply their craft.


East Coast Kite Festival
July 7 
Whether you’re a kite aficionado, or you just want to relive some fond childhood memories, grab a kite, and some friends or family members and head to Citadel for a day of high-flying fun.


Mighty Mike

Halifax International Busker Festival
August 1–6 
Head to the Halifax Waterfront to see a whole bunch of talented people doing stuff you would never dream of doing yourself. This long-time festival features fire eaters, contortionists, comedians, illusionists, and more.


Halifax Seaport BeerFest

Halifax Seaport BeerFest
August 10–11 
Mandatory event for beer aficionados: some 110 producers pour 300 different beers and ciders, featuring the best local and international craft creations. New this year: Icelandic beers.


Clam Harbour Sandcastle Competition
August 12 
Spend the day on the Eastern shore and check out the best sand sculptures on the East Coast. Sea monsters, mermaids, and castles fit for sandy royalty, they’ve got it all.


WWE Live
August 25 
The “Superstars of Smackdown Live” come to the Halifax Forum for an evening of pro wrestling.



Girls on Boards

Girls on Boards Women’s Stand Up Paddle Boarding Trip
July 13–August 17 
Get out on the water and test your balance and your endurance as you spend four hours navigating the St. Margaret’s Bay coast. All proceeds are used to sponsor stand-up paddle-boarding trips for Nova Scotian teens.


Tail Chase 5k Rescue Run
July 15 
Walk or run, solo or with a four-legged friend and raise money for Marley’s Hope Dog Rescue at Shubie Park this summer.


2018 Motionball Marathon of Sport Halifax
July 21 
Grab a few friends and raise some money to participate in this amazing event in support of the Special Olympics Canada Foundation.


Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre
Continuing through summer
Want an excuse to spend a couple of days in Antigonish? There are plenty of good reasons to go, and this amazing summer theatre festival is one of the best.  It includes Burnin’ Love by Sharon Bajer and Big Sister, Little Brother by Mike Kenny.


Port-Royal National Historic Site

Mi’kmaw Culture Day
July 15 
This one’s the perfect day trip! Take a picturesque drive through the Annapolis Valley to Port-Royal National Historic Site in Granville Ferry. Spend the day chatting with Mi’kmaw craftspeople and checking out a range of demonstrations from singing to drumming.


14th Annual Acoustic Maritime Music Festival
July 19–22 
Billed as “everything from blues, folk, country and jazz to Texas swing, all done through microphones as much as possible and not electronically augmented,” this is one for the musical purists. Don’t forget your tent!


The Stanfields

South Shore Exhibition
July 24–29 
They’ve got a parade. They’ve got a demolition derby. They’ve got a talent show for kids. And they’ve got The Stanfields. Just give us one good reason not to go.


David Myles

Stan Rogers Folk Festival
July 26–29
Almost 30 performers will take the stage at Stanfest in Canso this year. The headliners are Ashley MacIsaac, Matt Anderson, and Suzy Boggess, but that’s just the beginning. As always, the festival will showcase a range of performers such as Grace Petrie, Makayla Lynn, David Myles, Rawlins Cross.


Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival
August 9–12
Spend a couple of days on the South Shore this summer and take in performances by performers like Martha Wainwright, Ruthie Foster, and Earle and Coffin.


Chester Race Week

Chester Race Week 2018
August 15–18 
This one’s so popular you’re probably already going. Race Week’s got it all: sailing, food trucks, and live music performances that go on until the wee hours of the morning.


Rock the Hub
August 2426 
If you love rock, you need to go to Truro this summer: I Mother Earth, Big Wreck, Sloan, Adam Baldwin, Jessie Brown, Matt Mays, Christine Campbell. Seriously. Just go.


Wharf Rat Rally
August 29September 2
Last year alone, 21,870 visitors rolled into Digby on 8,020 motorcycles. If you ride, you don’t want to miss the biggest Atlantic Canadian motorcycling event of the year.   

CORRECTION: In an early version of this story, singer David Bradshaw’s name was misspelled. The text above has been corrected. Halifax Magazine regrets the error.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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