Festival of Friends

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The Festival of Friends
Festival of Friends Afternoon Crowd August 2009.jpg
A seated audience at The Festival of Friends
Genre Music Festival
Dates Second Weekend in August
Location(s) Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Years active 1976-present
Attendance 250,000-300,000
Official website

The Festival of Friends is an annual three-day free summer music festival held on the second weekend of August at the Gage Park in Hamilton, Ontario. The 35th year saw it at Ancaster Fairgrounds. It is the largest annual event of its kind in Canada.[1] It is a major tourism draw for the region[2] and regularly sees weekend attendance in excess of 250,000.[3]


The Festival of Friends started in 1976 as an independent folk festival in Hamilton's Gore Park. The festival was moved to a larger venue- Gage Park in 1977. Performers for the first event at Gage Park included Willie P Bennett, Ray Materick, and Sylvia Tyson. Over the next 35 years, the festival continued annually in Gage Park, and evolved into a world showcase for arts and music featuring musicians, crafters, and food from around the globe.

In January 2011, the Festival of Friends announced that it would be moving from its current home, in Gage Park, to a new permanent home at the Ancaster Fairgrounds.[4]

The Event[edit]

The Festival of Friends weekend includes three stages of music that run from 12:00pm – 6:00pm each day of the event. An evening mainstage concert series begins at 6:00 and runs until 11:00pm.

Over 100 crafters, artisans and other vendors are available for shopping throughout the weekend, as well as a large varied "Foods of the World" area, a beer garden and a midway.

List of past performers[edit]

The music presented at the Festival of Friends represents a wide range of musical genres. Notable past performers include:


  1. ^ "Mayor Won't Fight for Festival". Hamilton Spectator. 
  2. ^ "Celebrate Ontario 2011". Government of Ontario. 
  3. ^ Baulcomb, Andrew. "Festival of Friends Draws Thousands on Weekend". 
  4. ^ Morse, Paul. "Festival of Friends Moving to Ancaster". The Hamilton Spectator.