It’s no secret that live music has suffered over the course of the pandemic, particularly so in more isolated areas like the north. Those events that do happen had to be small, or sparsely attended, or both.
For Kirk Gilbert, like most fans of heavier music, waiting for the return of rock and roll shows has seemed interminable… So this year, he took things into his own hands.
On July 9, Whitehorse will be treated to its first “arena rock” show in at least two years. Appropriately titled “Aftermath,” the event will happen in place of the long-deceased Dustball Dance, after the Dustball Slo-Pitch Tournament that runs July 7 to 10.
A Remax agent by day, Gilbert has always been a fan of big rock shows, and so decided to offer his community an experience of the kind he remembers from life in bigger cities.
“It’s been a long two years because of COVID-19,” he said, “I wanted to hold an event that brought the community together. An event that everyone could let loose at and have a good time and celebrate like normal. We’ve got a bunch of great acts to bring that celebration.”
The lineup for Aftermath opens with three local bands, Proscenium Arch, Rockapalooha, and Trailer Park Trash Cats, all of which will be playing a blend of original music and popular covers.
The headliner will be rock band Stonegate out of Calgary, Alberta. With a debut album, Set In Stone, released on June 10, and a single, “Victim,” nominated for ‘Rock Recording of the Year’ by the 2021 YYC Music Awards, Stonegate will be coming in hot with some new original music, as well as covers of AC/DC, Metallica, Foo Fighters, and other crowd favourites.
Presented through the Yukon Broomball Association, the event has been essentially organized and bankrolled by Gilbert, who said he has been wanting to do something like this for a long time.
“I’m looking forward to being at a live concert; I just like dancing to rock music,” he said. “I’m excited to play ball, have fun, and listen to live music!”
Gilbert hopes for better attendance than previous Dustball Dances, due to more advertising and advanced notice, as well as a new venue — the Mount Mac Recreation Centre.
This particular venue is set up for a proper party, he assures prospective attendees. There will be three bars, six bartenders, a massive stage rented from the Yukon Arts Centre, as well as lighting and sound from local sponsor Unitech.
If Aftermath is successful, Gilbert hopes it will happen with different acts every year, whether or not he’s organizing.
“It gives everyone something to do after the ball game. It gives people visiting from Alaska something to do in the evening,” he said, adding that in the future he’d like to see a two-night event, one night rock-focused and the other comprising of country acts.
As for this year’s event, Gilbert just wants everyone to come out and have fun.
“It should be a really big rock show. I just want people to come out and have a great time.”
Aftermath Festival will be held at the Whitehorse Curling Club (Mount McIntyre) on ice side, July 9. Tickets are $30 online at Yukontickets.com or $40 at the door.
Willow Gamberg is the owner of Road Dogs Music Supply and The Lab Rehearsal Studios in downtown Whitehorse.