Hillside Festival: A Guelph Tradition

If you live in or near Guelph, Ontario, you are no doubt familiar with the Hillside Festival. The yearly get together attracts many people from the city and surrounding area, as well as neighboring cities like Toronto.

Hillside debuted in June 1984 as a one day, 11-hour music festival. Admission was free! The festival gradually grew in size, moving to Guelph Lake Island in 1987. The festival continued to grow in popularity, with its artistic and cultural value recognized via Ontario Arts Council and City of Guelph grants. The following year, Hillside had its first sold out Saturday night.

The festival is now a major Guelph event that attracts many well-established and upcoming acts. This year’s dates for Hillside are July 14-16 at the Guelph Lake Conservation area, as per usual. The act list is now up and includes some very talented performers, including Sarah Harmer, The Jerry Cans, Lisa LeBlanc, Common Deer, and Chastity.

If you haven’t done Hillside before, it’s not just sitting and listening to music and spoken word performances. You go for the day or for all three days, camping on the site. The event is family friendly and even includes a kids’ stage, so you don’t have to worry that the kids will get bored. There are also vendors and workshops you can participate in, if you don’t feel like listening to the acts performing at that time.

You can book your campsite space either over the phone or online. As of this writing, we are getting very close to the start dates, so you may only be able to go on a daily basis at this point. Regardless, while camping is fun, it’s not a necessity: you can still have a great time at Hillside if you just come for the day.

Check out the official Hillside site here.