Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of Bell Park coming alive for the summer season! Northern Lights Festival Boréal is ready to hit the city with FOUR jam packed days of music July 6th-9th! This year with Max Merrifield taking the reins as Artistic Director for the first year the fest will kick off with a Thursday night celebration of Indigenous culture with a multi-disciplinary art projects and a headlining performance by none other than Buffy Sainte-Mare. Rounding out the weekend are Friday headliners Yukon Blonde, Saturday featuring A Tribe Called Red, and Sunday with Whitehorse. And that’s just the headliners, there’s always a tone of great acts to check out at the fest, vendors to browse, food to sample… What we’re basically saying is Bell Park is the place to be this weekend! We hope we’ll be seeing you down at NLFB this weekend, to get you prepared to truly make the most of your festival experience we’ve put together a few recommendations for ultimate enjoyment.

Arts Village

NLFB is changing up the format of its long standing arts village. Always looking to improve the experience for festival goers artists will present installations, perform, display exhibition pieces and play video. If you want to get in on the action check for drop in classes and learn something new. This is your chance to meet and observe some of our city’s most talented artist at work. Hands on projects will be available in a relaxing family area where you can catch some shade and create!


While we might not be able to see the actual northern lights a video and laser installation just might do. Clayton Windatt (Sturgeon Falls, Ontario) and Chris Cirelli (Sudbury, Ontario) will set off a display to dazzle festival goers once the sun goes down. Adding their unique touch to the festival is free-form art collective heARTworks who have been had at work creating up-cycled décor and installations to capture the vibrancy of the fest. Local installation artist Nico Glaude will take us on a trip in time with a contemporary installation featuring childhood artwork of festival artists.  Chris Thériault and his band of jugglers will be wandering the grounds entertaining as well as Myths and Mirrors new group Bwaajigiwin with stilt walkers and giant puppets!

Film Presentations

Video works from local filmmaker Darlene Naponse (Atikameksheng Anishawbek, Ontario) and Amanda Strong (Vancouver, British Columbia) will be presented in the evening at the Grace Hartman Ampitheatre. Their works help to illustrate the issues faced by contemporary Indigenous artists of our time. Lifeblood: that which connects us created by Naponse explores our innate connection to water. Presenting two short films Strong’s animated Four Faces of the Moon explores reclamation of language and Nationhood, and stop-motion piece Hipster Headress takes on headfirst issues of cultural appropriation.

Off-site shows

The Townehouse Tavern is the host for NLFB afterhours every night. That’s right, the party doesn’t stop when the park shuts down! Thursday features Mob Bounce, Bryden Gwiss Kiwenzie, Leonard Sumner, Nick Sherman & Bboy Redsky for an ultimate kick off. Friday Bixiga 70 with Stephanie Fyfe, Saturday The Turbans and Miss Sassoeur, and Sunday Louis-Philippe Gingras and friends.  If late nights aren’t your style catch the Party Cannon Pirate Cruise at the Science North dock, Saturday at 3PM SHARP! This musical cruise will take you out on the William Ramsey to groove to the sounds of indie rock super-group TUNS and all-girl garage-punk group The Ape-ettes.  Special tickets available for this intimate voyage just $10 for all-day/weekend pass holders and $15 without, don’t miss out!

Musical Roulette

One of the best things about any music festival is catching an act you’ve never heard of and having a blast! NLFB is no exception and with so many stages to choose from you just never know what you might run into. Pick a show on the schedule that sounds interesting, take a recommendation from a friend, maybe even just pick a stage and set up camp for the day! Whatever your preference get ready to embrace the experience and get whisked away for a day of musical bliss.


Jessica Lovelace is a Public Relations and Communications grad, musical theatre enthusiast, lover of live music and part-time unicorn tamer. Some have said that the Big Dripper from Sub City is a regional delicacy and the perfect end to a Sudbury Saturday Night – Jessica is definitely one of those people. No, the hair is not a perm.

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