NXNE: North By Northeast Festival

  • June 17 – 21, 2015
  • Various venues
  • NXNE.com


North by Northeast (NXNE) has become the Canadian festival destination for emerging artists and major-label headliners, for music filmmakers, and for digital interactive innovators bridging the gap between technology and the arts. Consisting of five event-packed streams – NXNE Music, NXNE Film, NXNE Interactive, NXNE Comedy, and NXNE Art – the festival creates an essential gathering spot for artists, industry professionals, and fans.

Over the course of 10 sleepless days and nights, NXNE Music offers the hottest music and the freshest music-related ideas-all within a few kilometres of each other. NXNE 2014 presents over 1000 international, national and local musical acts at 46 official festival venues in downtown Toronto. No wonder it’s the most anticipated summer music event in Canada!

For film aficionados, NXNE Film will be screening 17 of the year’s best music-themed features, documentaries, shorts, and experimental films from around the world. Directors, producers, actors and musicians often attend the screenings – many of which are world or Canadian premieres.

NXNE Interactive (NXNEi) is a digital interactive media conference like no other. Bringing together content-creating artists, tech entrepreneurs, digital marketing gurus, web business experts, and social media aficionados for four days of workshops and presentations, it explores the newest ideas about the intersection between creativity and the interactive world.

Finally, NXNE Comedy and NXNE Art are the two most recent streams to be recognized at the festival. Check out more than 100 standup, sketch, and improvisatory comics representing the best of contemporary comedy. Then admire countless art exhibits, projections, and installations at a dozen different locations around the city.

Top 10 Acts to Check Out at NXNE Music 2014

Music fans know that NXNE is the place to be this summer. With 10 concert-filled days featuring hundreds of international, national, and local artists, NXNE Music has long been recognized as a must-attend festival for music lovers of all stripes.

While it’s impossible to choose a “best of” list from among the 1,000+ talented performers, here are 10 highly anticipated musical acts we recommend checking out at NXNE Music 2014.

  1. Dan Croll: British rocker Dan Croll is one of this year’s most anticipated acts from across the pond. A graduate of the prestigious Liverpool Institute for the Arts (where he was one of a handful of students selected to meet the school’s founder Sir Paul McCartney), Croll released his debut album Sweet Disarray back in March.

    Blending classic pop melodies with electronic beats, guitar hooks, and African folk rhythms, Dan Croll’s sound has been described as “Paul Simon jamming with Prince.” You can catch him twice at NXNE this year, at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern and Wrongbar.

    Where: The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern | 370 Queen Street W.
    When: Wednesday, June 18th @ 1AM

    Where: Wrongbar | 1279 Queen Street W.
    When: Thursday, June 19th @ 1AM

  2. Future Islands: American synthpop trio Future Islands have been gaining a lot of recognition this year with the release of their fourth album, Singles. An energetic mixture of ‘80s synth, driving bass, and pop hooks, this band’s music is guaranteed to get you moving.

    If you aren’t able to make their first show on VICE Island, you can catch them again on June 21st at Tattoo.

    Where: VICE Island: House of Vans | 333 Lakeshore Boulevard E.
    When: Thursday, June 19th @ 9:30PM

    Where: Tattoo | 567 Queen Street W.
    When: Saturday, June 21st @ 12AM

  3. Army Girls: Andy Smith and Carmen Elle of Army Girls won’t have to travel far to get to NXNE, as this band is based in Toronto. When the duo first played NXNE in 2012 they topped numerous “must see” lists, and for good reason. Well-known in the Toronto music scene, Andy Smith and Carmen Elle embrace a minimalist garage pop sound, embellished with some Motown flare.

    Their concert at Lee’s Palace this year is free of charge – another good reason to check them out.

    Where: Lee’s Palace | 529 Bloor Street W.
    When: Friday, June 20th @ 9PM

  4. St. Vincent: American musician Annie Clark, better known by her stage name St. Vincent, has been lauded for her unique musical style that features a wide array of instruments and complex musical arrangements. Having previously been a member of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens’ band, Clark released her debut album as St. Vincent, titled Marry Me, in 2006.

    Variously described as blending elements of indie pop, art rock, chamber rock, and cabaret jazz, St. Vincent is one of a kind. However you characterize her sound, you can expect to find a large crowd grooving to it at Yonge-Dundas Square.

    Where: Yonge-Dundas Square
    When: Friday, June 20th @ 9:10PM

  5. Mac Demarco: Born in British Columbia but currently based out of Brooklyn, Mac Demarco has frequently been called the king of “slacker rock.” His latest solo album Salad Days met with widespread critical acclaim for its laid-back, guitar-driven psychedelic pop jams.

    Mac Demarco’s live shows have been described as “raunchfests” so be prepared for some racy jokes and off-the-wall antics mixed in with the music.

    Where: The Opera House | 735 Queen Street E.
    When: Friday, June 20th @ 11PM

  6. Ryan Hemsworth: It seems like Ryan Hemsworth is the name on just about everyone’s lips these days. The young Halifax DJ and musician picked up a JUNO earlier this year for Electronic Album of the Year for Guilt Trips and has been called “the DJ to represent the generation known as The Millennials” by The Huffington Post.

    Apart from his original albums and EPs blending electronic music with hip-hop, Hemsworth has produced music for several artists and remixed tracks by Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Lana Del Rey, among others.

    Where: Adelaide Hall | 250 Adelaide Street W.
    When: Friday, June 20th @ 2AM

  7. Zeus: Another local Toronto band, Zeus draws off influences such as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Queen to achieve a classic-yet-modern rock sound. Complete with catchy guitar riffs, thundering drums, and tight harmonies, this is music that hearkens back to the “good ole days” of rock and roll while still appealing to a contemporary crowd.

    Where: Cameron House – Kind Snacks Stage | 408 Queen Street W.
    When: Saturday, June 21st @ 9PM

  8. Rhye: Mike Milosh’s high-pitched and breathy vocals, combined with the eclectic and funky instrumentation of Robin Hannibal, characterize this popular duo’s soul-meets-R&B sound. The pair has frequently been compared to British band Sade. Their debut album Woman was well received by critics and longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize.

    If you long for the days of ‘70s and ‘80s soul music, you’ll find much to love in Rhye’s modern take on the genre. Plus, any concert that takes place at the historic Massey Hall is a treat.

    Where: Massey Hall | 178 Victoria Street
    When: Saturday, June 21st @ 10PM

  9. Joel Plaskett Emergency: One of the most innovative and celebrated Canadian songwriters around today, Nova Scotia native Joel Plaskett has experimented with a number of genres over the course of his musical career. He earned a Juno Award nomination for Best New Artist with his 2001 album Down at the Khyber, on which he introduced his band The Emergency.

    Joel Plaskett Emergency has toured with such notable Canadian artists as The Tragically Hip and Sloan. The band’s style can best be described as a fusion of alternative pop, indie rock, and country-rock. Be sure to catch them at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern – a fitting venue for a band that is surely a legend in the making.

    Where: The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern | 370 Queen Street W.
    When: Saturday, June 21st @ 11:30PM

  10. Juicy J: A recognizable name for people more familiar with Top 40 hits than indie gems, Juicy J is one of this year’s biggest headliners. As one of the founders of rap group Three 6 Mafia in 1991, Juicy J has been a major force in the hip-hop scene for over two decades. He recently collaborated with Katy Perry on the hit single “Dark Horse,” which charted at number one in both Canada and the U.S. He’s also collaborated with such major pop icons as Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj, and will.i.am.

    His style is heavily influenced by Southern Hip-Hop, as can be heard in Three 6 Mafia’s Oscar-winning single “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” Wrapping up the festival at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 22nd, Juicy J is sure to give an unforgettable performance.

    Where: Yonge-Dundas Square
    When: Sunday, June 22nd @ 9PM