Live music in Kingston this summer

By Emily Coppella

The performances you have to add to your summer 2022 bucket list

Summer is here and the limestone city is ready to charm you with a variety of musical performances. From up-and-coming bands to Juno winners, Kingston has concerts that will allow you to rock out and wind down. Read on for a list of summertime performances we’re adding to our calendar.

Musiikki Cafe

Live music at Musiikki Café

Daily, various times (check the Musiikki Instagram page)

Musiikki Café (73 Brock St.)

The music in Kingston never sleeps – Musiikki Café makes sure of it! Musiikki has live music for you every single day between 8 and 11 pm (and they’re open until 2 am). This is the best place to grab a cozy coffee, delicious cocktail, or their specialty: fine whiskey, and discover a new favourite artist at the same time. Musiikki offers an eclectic roster of local, national, and international performers. Their downstairs bar offers daytime music; their upstairs stage makes for intimate performances, and their gorgeous back courtyard completely immerses you in the musical experience. Weekly lineups are posted to their Instagram profile.

Cost: FREE


Indigenous music at the Katarokwi Indigenous Art & Food Market

Sundays 10:30 am – 3 pm

Springer Market Square (216 Ontario St.)

Every Sunday this summer, you’ll have the chance to see Indigenous performers at the Katarokwi Indigenous Art & Food Market in Springer Market Square. Community members will provide live entertainment such as dancing, drumming, and singing. While enjoying the entertainment, browse the variety of vendors offering handmade jewelry, delicious snacks, and other handcrafted goods. View the schedule to discover the amazing performers from various nations across Turtle Island.

Cost: FREE

Music made in Kingston at the Visitor Information Centre

Music made in Kingston at the Visitor Information Centre

Most Sundays, 1 – 3 pm

Visitor Information Centre patio (209 Ontario St.)

Until August 21, 2022, the back patio at the Visitor Information Centre in Confederation Park will be bustling with local performers, so bring a lawn chair and enjoy a lakeside concert. This series highlights artists from the community and celebrates a wide range of musical genres. For more information and a look at the lineup, visit the event page on Facebook. Come out and support the many sounds of Kingston!

Cost: FREE

Monday night courtyard concert series

Mondays 6 – 8 pm

Frontenac Club (225 King St. E.)

Spend an elegant evening at the Bank Gastrobar, the Frontenac Club’s gorgeous lounge. Enjoy hand-crafted cocktails and a bite to eat while being serenaded by a local musician every Monday throughout the entire summer. The patio is open from 3 to 11 pm, with dinner served between 4:30 and 10 pm. Featured performers include Spencer Evans (a singer who plays piano, clarinet, and accordion), Moira Demorest (a balanced pop and minimalist pianist), Megan Hamilton (an elegant folk musician), and Tiny Horse (a musical duo that will captivate you with their intimate acoustics).

This concert series gives you a chance to unwind, catch up with friends, and connect with the local music scene. For more information and the lineup of performers, visit the event page on Facebook. Tables are limited so make sure to reserve your spot online or by phone.

Cost: FREE

Music in the Park

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 12:30 – 1:30 pm

Confederation Park

Experience free concerts all summer long in Confederation Park. Music in the Park runs throughout July and August at 12:30 pm every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Grab a bite to eat and spend your lunch hour getting to know local musicians and enjoying a wide range of musical genres. More details and lineups are available on Downtown Kingston’s calendar.

Cost: FREE

Downtown Country Concerts

Thursdays 7 – 8 pm

Confederation Park

Make room in your schedule on Thursdays from 7 to 8 pm. Confederation Park will be showcasing local country artists all summer. From bluegrass to folk to country-pop, there will be different types of country music every week. More information can be found on Downtown Kingston’s calendar.

Cost: FREE

Music in the Gardens presented by CaraCo

Thursdays at 7pm

Lion’s Civic Gardens

Every Thursday throughout July and August, bring a lawn chair and take in a free concert at Lion’s Civic Gardens. A special weekend concert, featuring Andy Forgie, will be held on Saturday, July 23 at 2:30 pm. The full line-up can be seen on the City of Kingston website.

Big Band Fridays

Fridays 7 – 8 pm

Springer Market Square (216 Ontario St.)

Start your weekend off right by heading down to Springer Market Square every Friday at 7 pm. Big Band Fridays provide the soundtrack you need to welcome the weekend. This event is all about romance, unadulterated joy, and an eclectic mix of jazz tunes. Get ready to swing and jive! More information can be found on Downtown Kingston’s calendar.

Silly Sounds on Sydenham

Saturdays 10:30 – 11:30 am

Sydenham Street between Princess and Queen

Transform your Saturday morning with this live concert series designed specifically for kids. Silly Sounds on Sydenham takes place every Saturday from June 25 to September 3, 2022. This is a fantastic opportunity to get your kids moving. More information can be found on Downtown Kingston’s calendar.

Cost: FREE

Spearhead Brewing Company

Spearhead Brewing Company open mic nights

Various dates and times

Spearhead Brewing Company (675 Development Dr.)

Looking to kick back with a cold one and some cool tunes? Spearhead’s monthly taproom events are a vibrant mix of live music experiences. Their monthly offerings include live music Wednesdays starting at 7 pm, Friday open mic nights at 7 pm, Sunday live music from 2 to 5 pm, and more. Who doesn’t love a night out to discover emerging talent?

Spearhead’s taproom is welcoming, and the airy patio is perfect for a sweltering summer day. You don’t have to be a beer-drinker to relax here either. Spearhead offers their own non-alcoholic sparkling water, Akwa, as well as a list of wines, spirits, and other beverages. Stay up-to-date with who’s taking to the stage next by consulting the Spearhead event webpage for July and August.

Cost: FREE (weekly events)


Various dates and times

Home venue for the Kingston Blues Society, the RHCA Club offers a variety of live music, from rock to blues to jazz, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Check their website for the latest listings.


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JP Saxe at The Spire

July 12, 8 pm

The Spire (Sydenham St. United Church, 82 Sydenham St.)

JP Saxe is a Grammy-nominated artist ready to play his heart wrenching and soul-soothing music to a Kingston crowd. His music combines R&B and pop for catchy, heartfelt tunes. JP Saxe has also partnered with PLUS1 so that a portion of proceeds from the show will go to organizations that provide humanitarian care in conflict zones.

This show is one stop on his The Feelings are Stupid ’22 Tour with Alexander Saint. Saint is a must-see, multi-instrumentalist who’s carving a space for himself in the Canadian music scene as an alternative acoustic soul musician.

These are two phenomenal lyricists you don’t want to miss, so make sure to purchase your tickets online before they sell out.


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Relatively Minor

July 15, 10:30 pm

The Toucan (76 Princess St.)

New on the scene, Relatively Minor is a seven-piece jazz-funk ensemble – inspired by Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder. This band has the energy, talent, and soul to give you an unforgettable night. You can find more information on The Toucan website.

The Toucan hosts many local and up-and-coming bands, offering you the chance to enjoy traditional pub food, Irish classics, and good tunes in a venue that’s been around for over 30 years. They host live music every Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can view their upcoming music events on their website.

Cost: FREE

Cost: General admission $31.06; VIP meet–and-greet $76

The National Youth Orchestra of Canada

July 20, 7:30 pm

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts (390 King St. W.)

Discover the sounds of Canada’s premier training institute for orchestral musicians. This July, the Isabel hosts the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO). The NYO is made up of young musicians who competed for a place in the orchestra, participated in a six-week residential training institute, and are ready to impress Canadian audiences. More information and tickets can be found on the Isabel website.

Cost: General public $40; faculty/staff $36; students $10

Sounding Thunder

August 2, 7:30 pm

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts (390 King St. W.)

Experience the amazing acoustics at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts and journey into the life of Francis Pegahmagabow, a member of the Ojibwe nation, a military sniper in the First World War, and a highly decorated member of the Canadian military. Sounding Thunder is a unique piece of art that combines Ojibwe oral history, historical record, and Pegahmagabow family stories. The performance is composed by Tim Corlis and written by Ojibwe poet, Armand Garnet Ruffo. You can purchase tickets on the Isabel website. The show is part of the Human Rights Arts Festival series which also features ECHO: Memories of the World on August 5, an international multi-media project that contemplates knowledge-sharing in Canada, Norway, Austria, and Canada, Norway, Austria, and Mali.

Cost: General public $40; faculty/staff $36; students $10

The Sweet Caroline tour: a tribute to Neil Diamond

August 11, 8 pm

Kingston Grand Theatre (218 Princess St.)

Celebrate the best of Neil Diamond at this tribute tour starring Zac Coombs. Celebrate this Grammy-winning rock-and-roll legend who produced music you can’t help but sing along with. Diamond’s classics will be performed by a world-class international band.

Cost: Admit one $56.64; group of 6+ per ticket $52.51; children 13 or under $30.97 (+ HST and handling fee)

Back to the Farm Festival

August 2, 10:30 am to 10:30 pm

MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Company

This popular music and beer festival returns with headliners The Strumbellas, supported by Born Ruffians, Miss Emily, Rocket Surgery, The Gertrudes, KaKaow, Julia Finnegan, Tiny Horse, and The Reds. As well as all-day live music, Back to the Farm features craft beer, food trucks, local wine and cider, games, and more.

Cost: $45; free for kids under 12

Limestone City Blues Festival

Limestone City Blues Festival

August 25 – 28, various times

Throughout downtown

Kingston’s legendary Limestone City Blues Festival returns this year to tug on your heartstrings and get you grooving. You can catch numerous performances throughout the downtown area at small bars, larger music venues, and outdoor locations. Did you know this year the main stage will be mobile? You can find the lineup and headliner information on the event webpage. We’re excited for Crystal Shawanda’s fiery vocals and HOROJO Trio’s rich melodies.

Want access to all three nights of main-stage performances, as well as participating club shows? Make sure to purchase a wristband! Wristbands are $20 when bought in advance and $25 when bought at showtime. Wristbands will be available for online purchase on July 1 at 10 am. They can also be purchased in person at participating clubs and the BIA office (353 King St. E. Suite 200) beginning July 18.

Cost: In advance $20, At the gate $25

Motel Ben’s Strike the Anvil While the Iron is Hot tour

August 28, 8 pm

The Mansion

Check out Motel Ben at The Mansion and experience funky, shoe-gaze folk music from this unique Ottawa band. The Mansion has live music nearly every weekend in their upstairs “Living Room,” and on their patio many afternoons. Keep checking their event list on Facebook for updates on acts.

Cost: $5

Kingston has a reputation for nurturing musical artists, and with so many supportive venues and excited audiences, it’s no wonder why. Enjoy a live music event this summer and perhaps you’ll glimpse a few rising stars.