For three days in July, Sunfest explodes in downtown London’s Victoria Park. Over 275,000 open-minded music lovers gather for this free, all ages multicultural celebration, which boasts one of the most eclectic, globally focused festival lineups in Canada.
Since 1994, founder Alfredo Caxaj has made it Sunfest’s mission to foster diversity — an understandable goal, as the Guatemala-born Caxaj immigrated to Canada as a political refugee in the 1980s. Since then, Caxaj has been recognized by Folk Alliance International with a “Spirit of Folk” award for the festival’s diverse and inclusive range of musical acts.
Dozens of performers from all over the world are featured on several stages throughout the weekend. Global acts, ranging from singer-songwriters like Cape Verde’s Elida Almeida to Nigerian Afrobeat legend Orlando Julius to Ukraine’s experimental “ethno-chaos” group DakhaBrakha, have been notable festival highlights. Sunfest has also featured some of Canada’s most danceable bands, including Delhi2Dublin, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, and frequent returning act Five Alarm Funk.
The festival also curates an impressive array of over 275 food, craft and visual art exhibitors. Some non-musical festival highlights include the range of ethnically diverse dining options and a shade garden featuring a great variety of Ontario craft beer.
Sunfest also sponsors a series of world music concerts at London’s historic Aeolian Hall throughout the year.