Riverfest Elora

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Carly Rae Jepsen at Riverfest Elora 2018
Dear Rouge at Riverfest Elora 2018

Riverfest Elora is an annual 3 day outdoor music festival in Elora, Ontario hosted on the banks of the Grand River.[1]. The festival began in 2009 as a 1 day fundraiser for the Elora Centre for the Arts[2]. Since then the festival has expanded to 3 days, multiple stages, and is now hosted across the street from the arts centre at Bissell Park.


In addition to music, the festival boasts art, food trucks, a kids zone, arts and craft vendors, and community. Riverfest provides shuttle busses to and from Guelph, Fergus, and the Grand River Conservation Area campground, where many ticket holders choose to camp for the weekend [3][4]. The song "Fast Cars" by Tracey Chapman is favourite of Riverfest manager and artistic director Spencer Shewen[5].


The festival began in 2009, founded by local artist Marilyn Koop who signed her work with a capital "M". Koop passed away in 2012 but the festival continues in her memory. A giant green “M” painted on canvas is displayed on the festival grounds in honor of Koop[6][7][8].

2021 "Wish You Were Here" mini-fest physically distant booths.

Riverfest did not run in summer 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.[9] In summer 2021 Rivefest Elora presented the physically distant "Wish You Were Here" 3 day 'mini-fest'.[1][10]

The Festival took steps to curb the use of plastic products in 2012, and has taken other steps to have a smaller environmental footprint, since then.[11] Instead of paper programs attendees can view the upcoming lineup via a cell phone app.


Riverfest Elora primarily showcases well known Canadian artists[12].

Past artists include The Flaming Lips, The Boo Radley Project, Carly Rae Jepsen, MGMT, July Talk, Gogol Bordello, Chromeo, Metric, Blue Rodeo, Walk Off The Earth, Serena Rider, Sam Roberts Band, Wolf Parade, City and Colour, The Sheepdogs, Monster Truck, Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Bruce Cockburn, Hey Rosetta!, DJ Jazzy Jeff, The New Pornographers, Mother Mother, Shakey Graves, 54 40, Matthew Good, K.Flay, Bahamas, Hollerado, Sloan, Elliott Brood, Mix Master Mike, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Tokyo Police Club, Ashley MacIsaac, Dan Mangan, Yukon Blonde, Born Ruffians, Weaves, Rich Aucoin, Kardinal Offishall, Alan Doyle, Cuff the Duke, Wintersleep, Shad, Rawlins Cross, Kevin Breit, The Slackers, Prairie Oyster, Danny Michel and others[13][12][14]



  1. 1.0 1.1 "Riverfest Elora to hold in-person concerts, but on a much smaller scale". CBC News. 2021-07-21. Archived from the original on 2022-01-25. https://web.archive.org/web/20220125014824/https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/riverfest-elora-brings-back-their-annual-festival-in-august-1.6111172. Retrieved 2022-05-08. "Organizers describe it as a "mini-festival", which will take place for three days in the Yard at the Elora Centre for the Arts, where Riverfest first began in 2009." 
  2. "Riverfest Elora music celebration update: Ashley MacIsaac, Born Ruffians, Rich Aucoin headline". http://1tanktrips.blogspot.com/2013/08/riverfest-elora-music-celebration.html. 
  3. "Camping + Places to Stay" (in en). https://riverfestelora.com/pages/camping. 
  4. "Riverfest Elora 2017" (in en). 2017-08-16. http://grandandgorgeous.com/riverfest-elora-2017/. 
  5. "spencer shewen". https://www.instagram.com/spencer_shewen/. 
  6. "Riverfest Elora is turning a corner" (in en-CA). https://www.guelphmercury.com/news-story/4764193-riverfest-elora-is-turning-a-corner/. 
  7. "About Riverfest" (in en). https://riverfestelora.com/pages/about-the-festival. 
  8. "Elora's Riverfest hits new high water mark" (in en). 2014-08-12. https://www.therecord.com/life/2014/08/12/elora-s-riverfest-hits-new-high-water-mark.html. 
  9. "Riverfest Elora cancels August festival due to COVID-19". CBC News. 2020-05-20. Archived from the original on 2021-06-01. https://web.archive.org/web/20210601130815/https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/riverfest-elora-cancelled-2020-covid-19-1.5576723. Retrieved 2022-05-08. "Organizers of the annual August event said there are "too many unknowns" about what this summer will bring due to COVID-19." 
  10. "Riverfest Elora hosting ‘Wish You Were Here’ mini-festival Aug. 20-22 – Wellington Advertiser". https://www.wellingtonadvertiser.com/riverfest-elora-hosting-wish-you-were-here-mini-festival-aug-20-22/. 
  11. Kate Bueckert (2019-07-12). "Music festivals strive to be more environmentally sustainable in a throw-away society". CBC News. Archived from the original on 2020-11-08. https://web.archive.org/web/20201108011804/https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/hillside-riverfest-elora-music-festivals-green-initatives-1.5208492. Retrieved 2022-05-08. "They've turned to tech when it comes to telling the audience about the artists. Rather than having paper pamphlets with a schedule and information about the musicians, there's an app." 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "River Fest a total community experience". https://www.guelphtoday.com/local-news/river-fest-a-total-community-experience-349290. 
  13. "MGMT, Gogol Bordello top Riverfest Elora 2017 lineup". https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/riverfest-elora-2017-lineup-1.4090044. 
  14. "Riverfest Elora Announces 2014 Edition with Blue Rodeo, Dan Mangan, Charles Bradley, Serena Ryder". https://exclaim.ca/music/article/riverfest_elora_announces_2014_edition_with_blue_rodeo_dan_mangan_charles_bradley_serena_ryder. 

Category:Music festivals Category:Ontario