Burlington's Sound of Music Festival

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Sound of Music Festival

Sound of Music Festival is one of the summer’s most popular community attractions and over the course of its 35 year history, it has grown to become Canada’s Largest Free Music Festival. The event attracts over 225,000 visitors annually. The Festival features a unique blend of new and emerging artists, Canadian icons and returning fan favourites, located on several stages throughout our waterfront and downtown area. Complete with a Carnival, Downtown Streetfest, Parade, Family Zone, and a free music education program for children, the event offers something for everyone and appeals to a wide demographic.

Key Messages[edit]

• Free, award-winning music festival (as well as events throughout the year) • Over 100 acts, 10 performance areas, Grande Festival parade with over 25 marching bands, Downtown Streetfest, Carnival, Craft, Merchandise and Food marketplaces • Takes place every year on Father’s Day Weekend • Volunteer Based Organization (Not for Profit, City supported, not City run) • Award-winning “Simply Green” environmental program (waste diversion, shuttle, bike corral) • Safe, family-friendly and fun • High calibre music for all tastes and ages


• Sound of Music Festival has been added to the list of Festivals & Events of Distinction, a group selected by Festival and Events Ontario which represent some of the most well-known and respected celebrations in the province; celebrations which draw both an international and domestic audience. The list includes festivals such as Luminato, Toronto International Film Festival, TD Jazz Festival Toronto and RBC Ottawa Bluesfest. • Sound of Music Festival was awarded the Grand Pinnacle by the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA). Pinnacle Awards are the most prestigious awards in the special events and festivals industry and reflect the highest quality in event management, programming, content, promotional programs and marketing materials. The Festival was also recognized in various other categories.


The Festival began with a modest vision by the City of Burlington establishing a parade to salute its musical ambassadors to the world, the Burlington Teen Tour Band. Within a few years, the "Sound of Music Festival" became a one day, and then a four day community affair, featuring the Parade, and a showcase of local musical talent. A new separate entity, "Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival Inc." was formally established on February 27, 1997 with the challenge of raising sufficient funds to operate the Festival and enhance its reputation. The Festival has steadily grown to become Canada’s Largest Free Music Festival.

Sound of Music Festival is a longstanding, enduring event that has become a defining element in the community. It is steeped in tradition and much of the community has grown up attending the Festival. The organization has added events throughout the year such as concerts, children’s free music education workshops and expanded Festival programming. With so much to see and do for all ages, the event draws attendees from across Canada and the United States.

The organizers are a Volunteer Board of Directors: 18 people with experience in several disciplines. Each Director chairs one of 13 operational committees such as Programming, Logistics, Environmental, Education and Volunteers. Committees are made up of an additional 150 volunteers, many of which meet and plan throughout the year. The Executive leads the team working with staff to ensure the organization is successful. The Festival currently has three staff members to assist in administration and support of the committees: an Executive Director, Sponsorship Manager and Marketing Manager. Over 800 volunteers participate during the Festival week.

The Festival takes pride in fairly compensating our entertainers and minimizing ecological impact through improved recycling and waste management. Committed to maintaining and continually improving the calibre of the event, Sound of Music Festival remains free and hosts quality entertainment in a family friendly and safe environment year after year.

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