Music

5 incredible moments from past CBC Music Festivals that blew us away

Tributes, reunions, collaborations and more!

Tributes, reunions, collaborations and more!

Hey Rosetta's Tim Baker on the CBC Music Festival stage. (Cathy Irving)

The CBC Music Festival is about to enter its seventh year and while we have lots to look forward to this year — including performances by Alvvays, Stars, Buffy Sainte-Marie and more — we also want to take a moment and look back. Over the years, we've had some incredible musicians take our stage and moments that completely blew us away. 

Scroll down to revisit five CBC Music Fest moments that we will never forget. What were your favourite CBC Music Fest memories? Share them with us @CBCMusic

The 2019 CBC Music Festival will take place on Saturday, May 25, at Toronto's RBC Echo Beach. Tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster. For full coverage of the event, head over to cbcmusic.ca/festival.


2015: Jenn Grant brings CBC host up for collaboration 

Each year, CBC Music hosts show up for the big festival, but they rarely get to flex their own musical muscles onstage. In 2015, East Coast singer-songwriter Jenn Grant invited Drivehost Rich Terfry, who also releases music as Buck 65, to perform their collaboration, "Spades," off Grant's 2014 album, Compostela. While Grant's soft folk-pop doesn't share a lot of commonalities with Terfry's hip-hop sound, the two pulled off a beautiful moment together that was a joy to hear on record and live onstage. 

Jenn Grant and Buck 65 perform "Spades" at the 2015 CBC Music Festival. 4:31

2015: Bahamas teams up with Choir!Choir!Choir! 

To kick off his set at the festival, Toronto singer-songwriter Bahamas enlisted the help of local musical group, Choir! Choir! Choir! The result was an almost spiritual experience that elevated the harmonies of his 2012 song, "Lost in the Light," to heavenly heights. 

Bahamas performs "Lost in the Light" at the 2015 CBC Music Festival. 4:13

2016: Hey Rosetta! cover the Tragically Hip

Just days before the 2016 CBC Music Fest, Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie announced that he had terminal brain cancer. The news was devastating to Canadian music fans across the country, but East Coast band Hey Rosetta! took a moment during their headlining set at the festival to pay tribute to Downie. As Hey Rosetta! kicked into their cover of the Hip's "Ahead by a Century," singer Tim Baker told the audience: "This one's for Gord."

Hey Rosetta! perform "Ahead by a Century" at the 2016 CBC Music Festival. 3:36

2017: Walk Off the Earth's fireworks finale 

Burlington, Ontario band Walk Off the Earth capped off their festival performance with their song, "Sing it All Away." Not only did the crowd sing along to the uplifting number the entire time, but just as the sun went down, the band unleashed fireworks into the sky. Also, musician and friend of the band, Scott Helman, ran up onstage to dance with the band!

Walk Off the Earth perform "Sing It All Away" at the 2017 CBC Music Festival. 4:13

2018: Northern Touch All-Stars reunion 

2018 marked the 20th anniversary of Rascalz's hit single, "Northern Touch." To celebrate this big milestone, the rappers behind the big Canadian hip-hop anthem reunited, first at the 2018 Juno Awards and then a month later at the CBC Music Festival. The group's performance was energetic, fun and nostalgic — everything you'd expect while witnessing some of Canada's greatest rappers.  

Northern Touch All-Stars perform 'Nothern Touch' at CBC Music Fest. 4:52

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