8 Festivals to Hit in Kingston July 2019

By Jordan Whitehouse

As always, July has some heavy festival hitters this year, including Artfest and the Buskers Rendezvous at the beginning of the month and Taste of Kingston at the end. In between are three theatre festivals and Fort Henry’s annual tattoo.   

Canada Day in Kingston

Sunday, June 30 – Monday, July 1, 2019

Downtown and Grass Creek Park

The Canada Day good times start on Sunday evening with a concert in Confederation Park headlined by Mauricio Montecinos & The Latin Beat Band. On Monday, seven artists play Confederation Park too, including local indie rockers The Wilderness at 9 pm. Elsewhere downtown, the Limestone Mile footrace returns, as does the People Parade. Out at Grass Creek Park, expect family-friendly activities like carnival games, a kite festival, and a DJ. Or you can just hang at the beach and build sandcastles. At 10 pm, head back to Confederation Park for the city’s biggest fireworks show of the year.    


Artfest Kingston

Until Monday July 1, 2019, 10 am – 6 pm

City Park

Canada Day also marks the last day of this weekend fest featuring over 200 artists from across Ontario and Quebec. Browse and buy their pottery, glass, wood, jewellery, and other creations, and then check out some live theatre and the 100-foot art mural. A few bands and poets are also expected, as is a First Nations art pavilion, a craft beer and wine tent, and programming for the kids.     


Kingston Buskers Rendezvous

Thursday, July 4 – Sunday, July 7, 2019


The acrobats, contortionists, and fire-breathers return to Kingston for the 31st time this year. Catch them in four downtown areas: Market Square, Confederation Park, Princess Street, and Ontario Street. No doubt one of the big draws will be Denmark’s DynaMike, whose comedy show includes ninja-grade machete manipulations, a ten-foot unicycle, and chainsaw juggling. Whoever you see, though, remember to fill the hat — that’s how performers get paid.  


One-Act Play Festival

Friday, July 5 – Saturday, July 6, 2019

Domino Theatre

This yearly juried theatre fest includes five short plays over two nights written and performed by local talent. Three judges choose which play goes on to the Eastern Ontario One-Act Festival in November in Perth, though you can help them decide if you see all five shows. The lineup this year includes three comedies, an improvised farce, and a family drama.   

$10 – $20 per evening


The Kick & Push Festival

Thursday, July 18 – Sunday, August 11, 2019


The second theatre fest this month really tries to push the boundaries of what theatre is, or could be. As an audience member, for instance, you might find yourself in a living room or even in a basketball game onstage. None of it’s kitschy, though. This is a professionally run three-week festival featuring award-winning Canadian performers and original, internationally award-winning works.

Prices vary

Storefront Fringe Festival

Friday, July 19 – Saturday, July 27, 2019


Like other fringe fests around the world, this one is all about un-curated and uncensored experimental theatre. Eighteen shows are on the lineup this year, and they’ll happen over eight days in three empty downtown storefronts. Some of the theatre companies are from Kingston, but others are from elsewhere in Canada, the U.S., and England. One is San Diego’s Intrepid Theatre Company, which will perform “The Thousandth Night”, about an actor who gets arrested in occupied France in 1943.    

$12 per show, plus a one-time $3 payment for a Fringe Pin

Fort Henry Annual Tattoo

Saturday, July 27, 2019, 7:30 pm

Fort Henry

Tattoos were once known as evening drum or bugle signals recalling soldiers to their quarters, but now they’re big musical and drill showcases open to the public. This annual one at Fort Henry’s Parade Square features various fife, brass, pipe, and drum acts, including the HMCS Ontario Band, The Band of the Royal Regiment of Canada, and The Commissioner’s Own Pipes and Drums of the Ontario Provincial Police. The evening will culminate in a massed band grand finale with fireworks.

$17 – $25 (free for kids 4 and under)    

Taste of Kingston

Sunday, July 28, 2019, 10:30 am – 3:30 pm

Confederation Park

Here’s your most efficient way to get a taste of Kingston’s award-winning food scene. Dozens of food vendors will be at this annual food fest offering up bite-sized creations that have, in the past, included everything from grilled cheese paninis to butter chicken to roasted garlic bruschetta. Tasting tickets are $1 each, but samples could require multiple tickets. All proceeds go to sending kids living with diabetes to Diabetes Canada’s D-Camps.

Free entry