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Dawson City Music Festival makes a return

The Dawson City music festival will feature a variety of artists, shows, music and dance
Participants enjoy music in a packed auditorium during previous Dawson City Music Festival (Courtesy/Melissa Naef)

The Dawson City Music Festival will be taking place July 21 and 22 in Dawson City and will feature dance, music and a variety of shows.

The event will take place in three venues: the Front Street Gazebo (with free programming), St. Paul’s Anglican Church and the Palace Grand Theatre.

The event is organized by the Dawson City Music Festival Association, a non-profit charitable organization established in 1979.

“It’s been quite a journey since 2020; cancellations, pandemic restrictions, re-scheduled festivals,” says a post on the festival’s website. “But our board and this amazing community has pulled together and the future is looking bright.”

Corbin Murdoch, the executive director of the association, said it’s been a busy couple of weeks getting ready for the festival.

“We are optimistic that people will come out and celebrate great Canadian music with us and see amazing artists perform,” he said. “We are in a period of rebuilding and are inviting people to come out and help build the momentum for next year’s event with a full-blown festival experience.”

Murdoch said a lot of effort and resources have been committed to planning the event. He said the festival is going to be an expression and celebration of that sustained effort.

“It’s a really an exciting moment for the organization,” he said.

This year’s event is the festival’s 45th anniversary.

Organizers are promising two days of incredible music under the midnight sun. The schedule will allow festival-goers to attend every single show, if they wish.

Emily Farrell, the former executive director of the board, who has been key to planning this year’s event, said the group has been working on the event for several months.

Farrell said this year’s festival is not as elaborate as the shows put on before the pandemic, when the event was held in six venues over a three-day period.

“We call it a mini-festival but it feels like a medium festival,” she said. “It is smaller than our normal pre-pandemic events. But we have a line-up of incredible artists and there is a lot of music and shows packed in these two days.”

Back in 2020, the festival was cancelled just like most events and outdoor gatherings due to the pandemic restrictions. In 2021, the festival was held in September instead of July due to COVID-19 concerns. In 2022, there was no disruption to the timelines of the festival.

Farrell said she is expecting to see more vibes and excitement, and people celebrating music and hanging out, enjoying the different places in Dawson City.

“We are excited and our hope is that our audiences do return in their numbers and come out to enjoy the event. I believe the music will be incredible.”

A line-up of artists for the event has been released. It features Andrew Laviolette, a singer and songwriter; Kacy and Clayton, Canadian folk duo partners from Wood Mountain, Sask.; Partner, a rock band from New Brunswick; and Old Man Luedecke, a musician and songwriter from Nova Scotia.

Other artists headlining the event include Cris Derksen, an Indigenous cellist and composer, and Desirée Dawson, an award-winning recording artist, songwriter and producer; Edzi’u, a Vancouver-based Tahltan and Tlingit artist; and Happy Trails, Prospector, a Canadian band with members from B.C., Alberta, the Yukon and Ontario.

Others are Vanstones, a Yukon-based Americana trio specialized in bluegrass-inspired harmonies; Diamond Dino, a Whitehorse-based artist; Elijah Bekk, a pianist, vocalist and songwriter from Yukon; the Hän Singers; and Claire Ness, a singer, songwriter and artistic director of Yukon Circus Society.

Tickets are currently on sale and are priced at $25 or $20 for youth and seniors. Each show is ticketed individually. Per the website, there are no weekend passes to guarantee audience access to each performance.

Contact Patrick Egwu at

This year’s Dawson City Music Festival will take place from July 21-22 in Dawson City (Courtesy/Melissa Naef)

Patrick Egwu

About the Author: Patrick Egwu

I’m one of the newest additions at Yukon News where I have been writing about a range of issues — politics, sports, health, environment and other developments in the territory.
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