It’s festival season in Halifax—here are our favourite summer celebrations
By Trevor J. Adams
Celebrating the city’s music, varied cultural communities, military heritage, and rich architecture, Halifax’s festival calendar offers something for every taste this month. No matter when you’re visiting, in fair weather or foul, you’ll find an exciting event.
Photo: MIT Photography
The annual Cedar Festival continues through June 3. Fun for the whole family, this Lebanese festival offers live music and dancing, mouth-watering Middle Eastern cuisine, cultural demonstrations, plus a cooking competition and fashion show. And just for the kids, there’s a bouncy castle, magic show, carnival games, and face painting. Our Lady of Lebanon Church on Joseph Howe Drive hosts.
Photo: Tony Hauser
MASTERS OF MUSIC
Continuing through June 10, the Scotia Festival of Music celebrates chamber music with 50+ events, including concerts, recitals, open rehearsals, and master classes. The festival attracts top talents from around the world: this year’s headliner is acclaimed composer and pianist Philip Glass. He performs concerts on June 3 and 5, and takes centre stage for an intimate chat about his craft on June 4 and 6. The concluding gala, this year on June 10, at the Dalhousie Arts Centre is always a highlight. This year Johannes Debus conducts works by Glass, Bach, and Bartok.
On June 2 and 3, Doors Open Halifax lets you explore some of the city’s unique architecture. Visitors can explore buildings that are normally closed to the public, and behind-the-scenes spaces in local landmarks. Organizers were still finalizing the venue list at press time. Highlights include Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery, Government House, Halifax City Hall, Cathedral Church of All Saints, and the Old Burying Ground.
Halifax Greek Fest, running this year from June 7 to 10, is one of the city’s most beloved festivals of the season. Thousands flock to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcell’s Cove Road for live music, traditional dancing, art and cultural exhibitions, language workshops, religious artifacts, tasty Greek cuisine, and vendors aplenty. While noshing on souvlaki, watch dancers take the stage with their high-energy moves. Kids will love the Olympic area that includes face painting, an inflatable ride, cool treats, and balloons.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
Running from June 14 to 16, the OutEast Queer Film Festival celebrates queer independent cinema from local, national, and international filmmakers. It showcases a range of films, including documentary, fiction, and animation, that will challenge, educate, and entertain audiences.
For many local families, Bedford Days is the unofficial kickoff to summer. The schedule includes lots for all ages: fireworks, rides, live entertainment, games and competitions, and a beer garden for the grown folks. DeWolf Park, just off the Bedford Highway, hosts from June 28 to July 2.
POMP AND PAGEANTRY
Taking place June 26 to July 2, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type. Known for its pomp, precision, and music, the event brings together military and civilian performers from around the world, including pipe and military bands, acrobats, trapeze artists, gymnasts, choirs, drill teams, comedians, and more. See it at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.