Canadian rock heroes take centre stage at Burlington festival this weekend


Published June 12, 2024 at 3:14 pm

Anthony Urciuoli/ photo
Kim MItchell will be a headlining performer at the Sound of Music Festival.

More than 450,000 people are expected to cram into Burlington this weekend for the Sound of Music Festival.

Starting tomorrow (June 13) and running straight through Sunday, musical acts of every genre will take the stage at Spencer Smith Park with special emphasis this year on classic Canadian rockers in what is billed as the country’s largest free music event.

Kim Mitchell, famous frontman for the band Max Webster whose solo career has garnered a loyal following, will be headlining the festival on Saturday night.

A Canadian music icon who has been part of the music landscape for six decades, Mitchell has created several rock anthems including Go For Soda. Rock N Ron Duty, Patio Lanterns, Am a Wild Party. Easy TO Tame and All We Are as well as those from his days with Max Webster.

As well, Jim Cuddy has been added to the mix when he takes the stage on Sunday.

One of the founders of Blue Rodeo, Cuddy is another highly recognized voice in the Canadian music scene selling more than five million records worldwide that have included hits Try, 5 Day In May, and Bad Timing. As a group Blue Rodeo won countless JUNO Awards, been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame and was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada. As a solo artist, Cuddy has released several highly acclaimed records.

They will be joined by other classic Canadian artists such Trooper, Chilliwack, Strange Advance, Northern Pikes and Lowest of the Low but other headliners include Tyler Shaw, Priyanka, 4Korners, Kathleen Edwards, Ash Malloy and the Spin Doctors.

“This is it, we are ready, if the weather holds up we are in store for a great weekend,” said Dave Shepherd, chair of the festival’s board of directors who points out the event is entirely run by local volunteers.

Shepherd said the focus this year has been on bringing in Canadian talent, names that the public knows, and trying to appeal to a broad audience.

He said arranging a festival of this size is a large undertaking and that booking top acts can be a challenge as the Sound of Music has to compete with other festivals and tours.

However, he said the artists recognize the significance of SOM and make time to work it into their schedules.

“We’ve been around for 44 years and it attracts a lot of people,” Shepherd explained. “The artists know this, they know that it is an important part of the festival season, and those that want to play here make sure they are here.”

While many of the headliners saw their hitmaking days back in the ’70s or ’80s, Shepherd said the music they offer is no less viable and the talent is still evident.

“These bands sounded great 20 years ago and are even better now,” he said. “They are great musicians and they love to perform.”

Aside from the musical performances, Shepherd said several family-friendly events will be featured throughout the four days.

The Streetfest will take over Brant Street from Caroline Street to Lakeshore Road which will closed off from traffic on Saturday and Sunday. There will be street musicians, dancing, shopping opportunities and plenty of opportunities to dine and local restaurants.

As well, the Grande Festival Parade takes place Saturday morning where marching bands, whimsical floats, and unique and vintage vehicles take over the downtown streets.

While parking is at a premium in downtown Burlington, Shepherd urged those who don’t live in the area to take the shuttle bus to the site, carpool or take a taxi.

“It’s going to be crowded,” he said, “but this is what you do in Burlington at this time every year. You come to the Sound of Music and you have fun.”

A complete line-up of events, schedules, performers and transportation information can be found at





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