Festival season in Hamilton is in full swing — and that means music, open fields and open streets, gorging yourself on food truck sandwiches and sun (hopefully).

To get you in the swing of things, CBC Hamilton has created a playlist of songs from acts set to hit the stage this summer at Supercrawl, The Festival of Friends and The Greenbelt Harvest Picnic — three of Hamilton's biggest festivals.

Click here to poke around the playlist. You'll find songs from big names like producer Daniel Lanois and tunes from local acts like Young Rival.

And while we're at it, here's ten acts you should watch for this summer in Hamilton:

Neil Young and Crazy Horse (Greenbelt Harvest Picnic)

Few Canadian singer-songwriters carry the weight and extensive back catalogue of Neil Young. Far removed from Buffalo Springfield, Young is still touring some four and a half decades later.

Young is in the middle of his first tour in eight years with Crazy Horse, and the show promises to include the prolific kind of pre-grunge style the band invented.

Airbourne (Festival of Friends)

Like AC/DC? Then you’re in luck buddy, because these guys are the second coming of Angus Young and co. – and they’re Australian, to boot. They also manage shades of Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest, for those yearning for big hair and pyro.

No word on if they’re planning on writing the same song for the next 30 years. But Airbourne is world renowned for great festival shows and big parties.

Diamond Rings (Supercrawl)

John O'Regan’s synth-drenched pop-rock is proving to be a hit three albums in. His pseudo-androgynous Diamond Rings persona riffs on Bowie at least a little bit, but the music is a somewhat more straightforward.

O’Regan’s star is growing - but he’s still in that magical in-between phase where he can play for millions on the Late Show and the Tonight Show one week and play in a small Hamilton Club like This Ain’t Hollywood the next.

The Dirty Nil (Supercrawl)

If you’re into punk rock, grunge or Nirvana, check out The Dirty Nil. This local punk rock band plays sleazy, hard and fast. Always promises to be a party.

Daniel Lanois and friends (Greenbelt Harvest Picnic)

World-renowned producer and local guy Daniel Lanois will no doubt play a lot at the Harvest Picnic this year, if the last couple of years are any indication.

It’s a safe bet that Emmylou Harris will join him at some point – though he may also just end up jamming by the soundboard, like in the video above.

Dragonette (Festival of Friends)

Synth-pop outfit Dragonette rounds out the pop night for the Festival of Friends. The band is touring on the back of Bodyparts, which was released back in September.

If you’re lucky, maybe the band will break out their cover of Mr. Roger’s Won’t You Be My Neighbour?

Young Rival (Supercrawl)

Hamilton’s Young Rival gained worldwide notoriety last year when the video for Two Reasons from Stay Young became a hit on YouTube.

The song was a collaboration with Michigan face-painting artist James Kuhn, and was one of 10 finalists for the Prism Prize back in February. Come see it live at Supercrawl.

Chubby Checker (Festival of Friends)

This might be the last chance you have to go twist with Chubby Checker, so best take advantage of it. The rock and roll throwback’s biggest song was named Billboard’s biggest chart hit of all time in 2008.

According to his website, he’s still going strong – and now selling Checker-brand steak and beef jerky, too!

Fucked Up (Supercrawl)

Toronto’s Fucked Up has received widespread critical acclaim on their three studio albums and host of 12-inch records – most recently, the rock opera David Comes to Life.

The band has gotten a nod for the Polaris Prize twice – winning it in 2009. Even if you’re not into melodic hardcore, they deserve a look.

Maestro Fresh Wes (Festival of Friends)

Hip-hop icon Maestro Fresh Wes gave us the one of the best-selling Canadian hip-hop singles of all time with Let Your Backbone Slide.

He’s touring on the back of his new album, Orchestrated Noise – his first in over a decade.

Festival info:

Festival of Friends:


  • When: Sept. 13-14
  • Where: Downtown Hamilton, James Street Area
  • Admission: Free
  • Website: www.supercrawl.ca

Greenbelt Harvest Picnic:

  • When: Aug. 31
  • Where: Christie Lake
  • Admission: $139.50 plus service charge general admission, $19.50 plus service charge youth admission (11-15), children 10 and under get in free
  • Website: http://www.harvestpicnic.ca