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Dawson City Music Festival postponed

Postponement puts new date for Dawson City Music Festival up in the air
Festival goers as seen in Dawson 2010. The festival was cancelled for 2021. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)


That’s how the news release from the directors of the Dawson City Music Festival (DCMF) Association framed the decision to delay the 2021 music festival that was scheduled to get underway in about two weeks’ time.

Last year’s festival was cancelled outright; this years’ event was ‘scaled for COVID’. But when Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Chief and Council reached out to the board of directors last week to request a postponement until at least July 31, the board agreed.

DCMF organizers work closely with Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, the City of Dawson, the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture and other partners and volunteers to put on each years’ festival. This event would have been the 43rd festival in the 44-year history of the Dawson Music Festival.

The festival’s reputation is built on decades of volunteer hospitality, food, professional music technicians and the unique character of the town. It is not unheard of to hear unknown performers who become household names afterwards (case in point is the 1992 performance of the Barenaked Ladies).

COVID-19 has altered the shape and presence of many events around the territory. The June 18 joint release from the City of Dawson and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in demonstrates a shift in the culture and traditional spirit of the town.

It states, “Right now, we are only open to respectful, responsible visitors.”

That same messaging is likely to be in place if and when, the rescheduled Dawson City Music festival takes place in August, September or later. It is a chasmic shift in values for what was once a frontier bastion of partygoers and wild ones.

Contact Lawrie Crawford at