At this point, the number of events that have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic are countless. The signature concerts, festivals and activities that define summer continue to be postponed or cancelled. A few fortunate ones have been able to be reimagined and presented in a new way or new format. Now that limited crowds can gather, other events are assisted by bringing together a small, intimate audience. Here are our top picks- both virtual and live- for the month.

#CanadaPerforms at the RBC Bluesfest Drive-In

Ottawa’s National Arts Centre was one of the first to offer an online concert series when the pandemic began to shut down live venues. When Ottawa’s Bluesfest was cancelled, it was a natural collaboration for the two organizations to come together to present a new type of event. #CanadaPerforms at the RBC Bluesfest Drive-In is a live performance for those who are in the Ottawa/Gatineau area, and an online event for those who may be farther away. The final weekend of the Drive-In, August 7-9, features an incredible line-up over two stages, including Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, Zaki Ibrahim, Blakdenim, Kira Isabella and more.

Hamilton Theatre Speaks: The Invitation (Femmepire)

The final virtual conversation around theatre in Hamilton culminates with The Invitation on August 7 from 7-9pm. Following three other events exploring what it meant to be building a career as a Hamilton theatre artist from a variety of perspectives, the final advertised event in this series brings past participants together to reflect and have a conversation on the future of the city’s arts community and accountable care. Streamed online and organized through local collective Femmepire, this dialogue is one worth attending for any artist interested in the future of Hamilton.

If there was ever a festival that was made for online consumption, Photophobia is it. Started in 1999, the free festival is hosted by the Art Gallery of Hamilton and Hamilton Artists Inc., and features short-format contemporary media, film, video and moving images that test the boundaries of each medium. With so much interest in online consumption, this will be an intriguing year for the festival and its artists. Taking place from August 6-8, the entire festival has moved online this year, with links made available prior to each screening, and each program available to view online for 72 hours after its initial premiere.

Stories in the Stones: Art Crawl Tour Part One

There isn’t a city in the world that doesn’t have an interesting past, and cemetery tours are an insightful way to learn all its secrets and bring the city to life. In the case of Hamilton, one tour on August 8 at the Hamilton Cemetery (across from Dundurn Castle) promises to bring to life artists, poets and musicians of the past that have had an impact on the city’s artistic development. Run by the City of Hamilton, tours begin at 11am and are two hours long- leaving lots of time to spend the afternoon at open galleries and sharing your newfound knowledge like an expert.

Sunday Music at the Gardens

The weekly summer series is a tradition at the Royal Botanical Gardens, and with the increased popularity of outdoor events (not just due to the weather, but also for public health reasons), the Sunday series was reintroduced in July; but August is where the lineup really shines. On Sundays in August between 1 and 4pm, Hendrie Park will be filled with live music, courtesy of SteelRiver Duo (August 9); Michael Maguire (August 16); Lady Be Good (August 23) and Scott Whittington (August 30). Admission to the park, and the Sunday series is included in RBG admission tickets. In the interest of physical distancing, seating is not provided.

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