A rainy start wasn’t enough to dampen the fun at the 2017 Atlin Arts and Music Festival. Ben Caplan lit up the main stage on Friday, followed by a powerful performance by DJ Dash and the Dakhká Khwáan Dancers.
After the night’s performances were done, a few dozen people braved the ongoing downpour for a late-night campfire jam in the not-so-quiet camping area.
The jam was organized with the blessing of the festival, which made sure there was enough wood to keep everyone (somewhat) dry.
“There was no jam the last couple years, so we talked to the organizers to make sure something would happen,” said one volunteer as he dropped a few logs into the blaze. “This is a really important part of the festival.”
No one is really sure when the jam ended, but those who persevered through Friday’s rain were rewarded with blue skies and sun on Saturday.
Taking advantage of the chance to dry off, festival goers crowded around the lakefront Atlin Mountain Inn stage to catch the likes of Gordie Tentrees and Rose Cousins.
“This is one of the top folk music festivals in the country,” said Tentrees, who has played at Atlin the last several years. “This is the bar I hold other festivals to. It might be the most family-friendly festival out there.”
Tentrees performed multiple times over the weekend, usually with Jaxon Haldane, who was in Atlin for the first time.
“Just look at this backdrop,” said Haldane. “It’s simply stunning.”
As day turned to evening, the crowds started trickling toward the Air North stage for performances by Declan O’Donovan, Joel Plaskett & The Emergency, Speed Control, and finally the eight-piece Major Funk and the Employment.
Festivities continued Sunday, with arts, food, and music, all culminating in the closing ensemble performance and blessings from Taku River Tlingit First Nation.
As the campers started to clear out that evening, clearing the field of their tents and trailers, the muddy grass finally got to breathe again, free to grow… until next year.
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