Camera Obscura's new album, Desire Lines, comes out June 4.

Preview: Toronto Urban Roots Festival

The Toronto Urban Roots Fest kicks off this Thursday, July 4th, 2013 at Toronto’s historic Fort York Garrison Common, and runs until Sunday, July 7th. Filled with an exciting line-up of feel-good, down to the roots indie and folk artists, this is the first year for the festival, which will hopefully set blaze to an annual celebration.

With the city’s harbour front to the south and its moniker CN Tower looming overhead, Fort York provides the perfect venue for many of these acts, as it’s not only rustic, but interesting and thought-inspiring. A selection of bands will also perform at the Horseshoe Tavern and Lee’s Palace.

Travelling from both near and far here are some artists you can look forward to catching among many, many more:

Hamilton’s own Arkells will take to the stage on Friday, July 5 at 9:30 PM on Fort York’s East Stage. Catchy and clever, their music boasts a range of appeal that earned them the title of “best live act” from CBC Radio 3’s 2011 distinctions. In-your-face and unassuming, this band spins tunes that will please those looking for both a rockin’ good time and soulful event.

Glaswegian exports, Belle & Sebastian, (who contrary to the Disney references of a French beauty and singing crab are actually named after a children’s book by Cécile Aubry), will play on Sunday evening at 8:30 PM on Fort York’s East Stage. Churning out happy indie-pop tunes, this seven-piece group has been around since 1996, and holds an impressive eight studio albums. Soft and upbeat, this band is bound to play a set that will leave you feeling warm and cheerful.

Travelling from the heart of deep roots country, Nashville, Tennessee, Justin Townes Earle will take the East Stage at Fort York at 7:00 PM on Friday, July 5. A member of two bands before going solo, Earle combines folk, blues, and country to create a raw sound that goes straight through to the bones. This is honest-to-goodness soul paired with an acoustic guitar.

Glasgow’s Camera Obscura is coming to town and playing Thursday, July 4 at 6:50 PM on Fort York’s East Stage. Made up of six members, this group offers an upbeat, indie-pop vibe that at times borders on dream-pop and evokes feelings of free-wheeling cartwheels and cream soda. With their recently released album, Desire Lines, this group will undoubtedly offer a variety of songs, new and old.

Zoeey Deschanel and M. Ward’s musical venture, She & Him, will also play TURF, taking front and centre on Thursday, July 4 at 9:30 PM at Fort York’s East Stage. Creating dreamy, lounge-indie sounds, this pair present a sweeter-than-apple-pie appeal that is solidified by Deschanel’s sultry vocals.

Stepping onto Fort York’s West Stage at 5:30 PM on Saturday, July 6, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls will play TURF amongst a myriad of other summer festival stops. Clever and sincere, this band creates stomping good sounds that are both heavy and light, and reminiscent of East Coast sailors. Front man Frank is both charming and passionate, and takes his craft serious enough to dominate the 2011 AIM Independent Music Awards, along the likes of Adele.