Arts & Culture
Your Go-To Event Guide for a PEI Summer
There’s a certain kind of magic that comes over the Island in the summer. Windows fly open, letting in the warm ocean breeze. The fields, water, and sky come alive with colour. And a buzz of summer activity can be felt around every corner! There’s an ever-growing list of fun things to do and see during a PEI summer, and you don’t want to miss a thing. If you’re looking for a good place to start, here’s our bucket-list events you don’t want to skip!
PEI is a total food lover’s paradise and we love celebrating the Island’s bounty and local producers every chance we get! Celebrate PEI lobster with a wide variety of entertainment and a thrilling midway at the annual Summerside Lobster Festival, a tradition since 1958. Of course Canada’s Oyster Coast has it’s own festival – Tyne Valley Oyster Festival invites oyster shuckers from across the country come together to compete in the Oyster Shucking Championships held in Tyne Valley. Indulge in the culinary delights of the PEI International Shellfish Festival, a thrilling four-day festival packed with culinary demos, celebrity chefs, delicious dining experiences, the best of East Coast entertainment, and competitions! The award-winning PEI Fall Flavours Festival features the absolute best of our land and sea through unique culinary events and authentic Island experiences. From a deep-sea expedition to a lobster party on the beach, tap into Island flavour all month long! Fancy a brew? Beer enthusiasts come together at the PEI Beer Festival to sample beers, ciders, and seltzers from local breweries and beyond.
2023 Dates: Summerside Lobster Festival July 6-8, Tyne Valley Oyster Festival August 2-6, PEI International Shellfish Festival September 14-17, PEI Fall Flavours TBA, PEI Beer Festival TBA.
Week after week (actually, more like day after day), there’s new music to listen to, learn, and love in concert halls, community theatres, and event grounds all across the island. Don’t miss the magic of hearing music within the walls of St. Mary’s Church with different concerts all summer long at the Under the Spire Music Festival. The Festival of Small Halls has an awesome two-week line-up at more than 40 charming small venues across the Island, and it doesn’t get more quaint than home-made treats served at intermission! The Cavendish Beach Music Festival brings out the country-singing, boot-stomping, fun-loving side of everyone with the largest multi-date country music festival in the Maritimes. New this year is SOMMO Festival, which promises to be a feast for all senses, as it celebrates good music and great food. Rock out in Tyne Valley at Rock the Boat Music Festival featuring rock bands from PEI and beyond. And whether you’re a fiddle player or not, the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival brings people from all over the world to the Eastern end of the Island to celebrate PEI’s rich music history.
2023 Dates: Under the Spire Music Festival June 16-September 10 *select dates, Festival of Small Halls June 9-18, Cavendish Beach Music Festival July 6-8, SOMMO Festival July 14-15, Rock The Boat Music Festival Aug 2-6, Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival July 21-23.
The Charlottetown Festival
As if you could even think of being entertained without visiting the Confederation Centre of the Arts! All summer long there’s an incredible lineup of music, art, and theatre (and more), so a visit to this Charlottetown hub will never disappoint. Don’t miss out on the brand new musical, Maggie, which was co-written by country music star, Johnny Reid, or enjoy the smash-hit comedy, The Play That Goes Wrong. Over at The Mack theatre, catch a performance of The Songs of Johnny & June, a show following the lives of the iconic country duo, and I’m Every Woman a musical celebration of women who changed the face of music. Don’t forget the free live shows in the amphitheater beginning in July, including performances by the Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors and Island performers. Pair your music-filled night with a walk through the displays at the Art Gallery, and voilà! – you have an art-filled evening you won’t soon forget!
2023 Dates: June 14-Sept 23 *select dates
DiverseCity MultiCultural Festival
Atlantic Canada’s largest cultural festival, Charlottetown’s DiverseCity MultiCultural Street Festival, is 100% on our list! Not only is this event filled with energy, colour, positivity, and fun, but it’s also family-friendly and completely free! This party takes to the streets to make room for entertainment, cuisine, games, handcrafts for purchase, and cultural education that all takes place in the heart of downtown. Check out their 5 festivals taking place across PEI in Charlottetown, Alberton, Evangeline, Summerside, and Montague!
2023 Dates: June 25th (Charlottetown), July 9th (Alberton), July 23rd (Summerside), July 30th (Montague), August 6th (Souris)
PEI Pride Festival
What started as an annual march for equal rights back in 1994 has turned into a week-long celebration of love, inclusion, and the Island’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community! Attend fun events like an all-Island drag Kings and Queens show, connect with others and educate yourself through various talks and seminars, and join PEI’s most colourful and inclusive parade! For a full schedule of events, visit Pride PEI!
2023 Dates: July 21-July 30
Stompin’ Tom Centre
After a lifetime devoted to singing about the places and people that he loved, Stompin’ Tom Connors’ legacy will live on as long as toes are tappin’ in Skinners Pond! The Stompin’ Tom Centre is a tribute to the iconic legend himself, and what better way to remember him than through song, laughter, and legendary memorabilia? Revel in the music at concerts, dinner theatres, open mic nights, and tap into song writing, performing workshops, storytelling and more. A trip ‘up west’ is incomplete without this musical stop!
The River Clyde Pageant
The River Clyde Pageant is a one-of-a-kind spectacle that takes place by the beautiful Clyde River in New Glasgow. Each summer’s Pageant features giant puppets, stilt-walkers, musicians and performers of all ages with no limits on creativity. Built around conversations centred on PEI’s waterways and environmental stewardship, the performance is collaborative, engaging, imaginative, fun, and all together truly a magical experience. After the event, performers and audience members get to dine together at a free community supper held at The Mill.
2023 Dates: July 28-30 & August 3-6
Village Musical Acadien
Head west to experience the vibrant French Acadian culture by visiting the Evangeline Region along the North Cape Coastal Drive. Just one stop guarantees you a warm Acadian welcome and an invitation to a kitchen party! Abrams-Village takes the cake when it comes to a raucous, musical good time at their Village Musical Acadien’s Dinner Theatre. Enjoy all the laughs, music, and delicious food you could dream of July through August as you check out their Summer Cabaret, or their dinner and show, La Veillée au Village, for an evening you won’t forget!
Old Home Week
First celebrated in 1888, Old Home Week is one of PEI’s longest standing celebrations. The beloved Island tradition is 9 days of non-stop fun for all ages, all while shining the spotlight on the bounty of P.E.I.’s agricultural sector and deep history of harness racing. Old Home Week concludes with the Gold Cup and Saucer Race, where the top standard bred horses from all over North America come to compete in one of the most celebrated harness racing events in Eastern Canada!
2023 Dates: August 11-19