Canstage’s Shakespeare in the Park
New festivals seem to pop up willy-nilly in this city, and while the fresh-arriving events spruce up the calendar nicely, there’s something to be said for the old standbys. One of them is the al fresco, family-friendly Bard bash at High Park, where the amphitheatre this summer is the best place on alternating nights for the revenge tragedy Titus Andronicus and the the pastoral fable As You Like It, which was reviewed in 1765 as “wild and pleasing,” with comic dialogue that was “very sprightly.” Isn’t it wonderful, then, how some things never grow old? June 26 to Aug. 31, 8 p.m. Free for children 14 and under; PWYC for adults ($20 suggested minimum donation, or $25 for advance tickets). High Park Amphitheatre, 416-368-3110 or https://www.canadianstage.com/online/1314shakespeare.
Toronto Urban Roots Fest
At the second annual jubilee of blues, folk-rock and indie-Americana music, fans of the alt-rock stalwarts Wilco will see another side to their hero Jeff Tweedy, a songwriter with a gift for introspection, unpredictability and melodic freshness. His solo band includes his drumming teenage son, and the hope is that his featured set Sunday evening includes a healthy portion of the 20 songs which will make up his forthcoming album Sukierae. Other stars of the three-day event include Neutral Milk Hotel and Jenny Lewis on Sunday, and Hey Rosetta! and Sam Roberts Band on Saturday. July 4 to 6. $67.50 to $107.50 (passes, $149.50 to $329.50), Fort York Commons, 100 Garrison Rd., torontourbanrootsfest.com.
Concerts in the Music Garden
Taking place on most Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. and most Sunday afternoons at 4 p.m., the summer music series of 18 free concerts on the waterfront offers a relaxed setting and an eclectic, international schedule of talent. July 6, the group Lalun with Dreams from Andalusia and the Silk Road; on July 31, the all-female fiddling troupe Panache!, coincidentally a quality which the Music Garden programmers do not lack. July 3 to Sept. 14. Free. 479 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000 or harbourfrontcentre.com.
Toronto Fringe Festival
If you can’t wait for the king-sized Elvis Presley jukebox musical Return to Grace (July 8 to 20, at the Ed Mirvish Theatre), this year’s offbeat theatre carnival of 150 shows shakes things up with Elvis and Dick, a musical comedy based on the infamous fandango of 1970 when Elvis Presley visited the Oval Office in the hopes of convincing President Richard Nixon to appoint him as a federal drug agent – a tricky proposition, to say the least. Other festival attractions include the Joan Rivers-approved intermarriage play She’s Black, He’s Jewish, They’re Married, Oy Vey! and Chasing Margaret Flatwood, a CanLit comedy. To July 13. $12 (passes, $45 to $85). Various venues. 416- 966-1062 or fringetoronto.com.
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
Of late, Nathan Phillips Square has been been a beehive of activity, what with all the construction, the WorldPride week and Toronto Jazz Festival concerts and the return of a misbehaving magistrate. This weekend things stay busy, but with much less noise and hullabaloo. The annual fresh-air alternative to conventional art shows and galleries brings some 400 artists in more than a dozen mediums, all showcasing their work in a sea of white cabana-like huts. July 4 and July 5 (10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.) and July 6 (10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.). Free. 100 Queen St. W., torontooutdoorart.org.