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Sudbury Festivals 2021

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Sudbury Festivals 2021

"Always Go Full Heart" is a mural by Chantal Abdel-Nour completed for Sudbury's 2020 Up Here Festival. • Credit: Up Here Festival Facebook

A guide to what's on (and what's not) this summer

In a semi-post-Covid Sudbury, where can you celebrate your two-shot summer? From murals to downtown jazz to concerts under the stars—here's what we know so far!

Article aussi offert en français

Sudbury's festivals will feel a little different this summer, as crowd restrictions and mask requirements continue to be in effect. The good news is that most of your favourite festivals are working hard to adapt to the evolving public health situation, and many are planning to go ahead with their programming (albeit in new and creative ways.) 

Here’s a list of festivals in the Sudbury area and what you can look forward to—in one form or another—this summer. 

The status on all your favourite Sudbury Summer festivals in 2021

Northern Lights Festival Boréal

Status: Postponed until 2022

In years past, NLFB has played host to artists like Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sam Roberts, Blue Rodeo, Arkells, Joel Plaskett, and Iskwe. This year they've unfortunately had to postpone the 2021 festival—but mark your calendars for 2022: Canada’s longest consecutively running music festival will return next year for the 50th edition of Northern Lights Festival Boreal which is set for July 7-10, 2022. 

Status: A Special menu will be on offer for takeaway. Check Facebook or call for details

This annual summer festival, hosted by Sudbury’s Caruso Club, focuses on—what else?—food, with dozens of vendors, ticketed dinner events, and cook-offs anchoring a weekend of live entertainment and family fun. Dates have not been announced for the 2021 edition but according to a spokesperson, they will be featuring a special menu through the weekend but have not yet confirmed any onsite service.

Status: TBD but things are in the works. Check the website for details. 

In 2020, Jazz Sudbury presented a virtual concert series in lieu of an in-person festival. This year, according to its website, the festival is preparing some contingency plans for its 2021 calendar, including a new outdoor festival:

In the meantime, check out Jazzed Up Downtown. Jazz Sudbury, in partnership with the Downtown Sudbury BIA, will be presenting more talented local jazz artists this summer. Visit the corner of Durham and Cedar for free concerts each Saturday morning beginning at 10am, from July 10  to September 11.  Events will also be streamed live and available for viewing on the Jazz Sudbury YouTube Channel.  Keep an eye on the Jazz Sudbury Facebook page for updated information

Status: TBD but things (and murals!) are in the works. Check Facebook for Updates. 

Sudbury’s premiere arts festival, Up Here is the brainchild of We Live Up Here, a non-profit organization with the mandate of building a better community through art. The multimedia festival musicians, visual artists, and muralists, the latter of whose work can be seen year-round in and around Sudbury. Last year, Up Here pivoted to a series of online musical performances, and commissioned a series of local artists to paint power boxes around the city in a project called Power Up.

This year’s programming is TBD, but is sure to involve a thoughtful, impactful mix of music, art, and community empowerment. "We’re planning some stuff but the exact details haven’t been nailed down yet, including dates," says an Up Here spokesperson. "We’ll be putting up more murals this August, we can say that!"

Status: It's a go! This outdoor festival runs August 31 – September 19, 2021.

This outdoor concert series offers covid-safe programming under the stars. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and check out the three summer concerts on offer at Sudbury's Grotto: Through Rose Coloured Glasses (a concert exploring the life and times of Elton John); Ghosts of Broadway; and A Song to the Moon (songs and stories of change and hope). Buy tickets to the concert of your choice (or all three) here. Concerts will be limited capacity so act fast to secure your spot.

Status: It's likely a go but Check Facebook for Details. 

The Labour Day weekend festival, which takes place downtown Sudbury, is a mouth-watering celebration of slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone goodness, as pitmasters compete to earn the title of Sudbury’s best ribs. Details for this year’s festival have not yet been officially announced but according to the Ribfest Facebook page: "We expect to be back Labour Day Weekend 2021."

Status: Accepting submissions for 2021, possibly hybrid in person/digital. 

Sudbury’s premier international film fest is currently accepting submissions for its 2021 festival. In 2020, Cinéfest presented a hybrid in-person/digital festival, which allowed patrons to stream films from home, in addition to offering a number of physically-distant in-person events. The international film fest has hosted panel discussions with luminaries such as Oscar-nominated Canadian director Philippe Falardeau and Hollywood star Viggo Mortensen, in addition to screening the best films from across the country and around the world.

Status: Postponed until 2022. 

Normally held in July, this annual event is Northern Ontario's largest gem, mineral, rock, and fossil, show and sale. It’s an excellent event for rare gem and fossil collectors, as well as youngsters who may have a budding interest in geology or archaeology. Unfortunately, the 2021 show has been cancelled. Get ready to rock in 2022!

Status: TBD. Check Facebook for Updates. 

Now in its 29th year, the annual Sudbury Greek Festival includes traditional dancing, church tours, live music, giveaways, and a Greek Market in addition to a smorgasbord of authentic Greek food, from gyros to souvlaki, and roast lamb to saganaki (which is, by the way, cheese on fire!). This year’s dates are TBD.

Status: TBD. 

The Laughing Buddha and The Townehouse Tavern in downtown Sudbury partner for this festival, which is a craft beer-lover’s dream. This epic street festival closes down Grey St. and takes over the sidewalk along Elgin. Sample delicious suds outdoors from breweries such as Beau’s, Split Rail and Pommies, while enjoying live music and delicious snacks. The festival generally takes place in August, but dates this year have not been announced.

Status: Postponed until 2022. 

This annual celebration of graphic novels, comic books, independent zines, and other print mediums has featured guests such as Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics), visiting artists from Marvel and DC comics, as well as incredible cosplayers and more. Because it's still too early in the recovery process to safely host an indoor event, Graphic Con is working hard to make 2022 the best event yet! 

Status: It's a go in winter 2022! 

Mark your calendars for February 2022 when the Northern Ontario Microbrew Festival will be back and better than ever in a (hopefully) post-Covid world. 

Have an update or a new Sudbury festival listing? Email us at info@northernontario.travel 

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