Festival magic comes to Atlin

Some may consider "family oriented" to be a code word for "buzz kill," but that certainly isn't the case when it comes to the Atlin Arts and Music Festival. Children and adults gathered this past weekend to camp out, play in the dirt, and bust a move on the stunning shores of Atlin Lake.

ATLIN

Some may consider “family oriented” to be a code word for “buzz kill,” but that certainly isn’t the case when it comes to the Atlin Arts and Music Festival.

Children and adults gathered this past weekend to camp out, play in the dirt, and bust a move on the stunning shores of Atlin Lake.

The normally sleepy town steeped in gold rush history lights up during festival weekend. Fans arrive on Wednesday and Thursday to secure prime spots for their RVs and tents in the park-turned-campground.

By Friday, you have to really squeeze in if you want to sleep near the festival grounds where the action is. But that’s alright, because it’s being packed close together with friends and strangers of all ages that makes the Atlin festival such a special place to be.

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It seems unfair to mention only a few of the performers, since they all brought immense talent and open hearts. But let’s single out a couple shining stars.

Yukoner Declan O’Donovan wowed the crowds with his soulful voice and jazzy roots/rock piano tunes. O’Donovan is set to launch his debut solo album and a cross country tour.

Don’t miss his CD release party at the Yukon Arts Centre in August. This guy is going places; let’s just hope he comes back to visit.

Headliner Elage Diouf brought the crowd to their feet with his percussive dance music inspired by Senegalese rhythm and sound. The talented performer grew up with music from a young age in Senegal before he moved to Quebec in 1996.

His infectious rhythms inspired a few enthusiastic spectators to climb on stage and face Diouf for a dance-and-drum-off, each time to thunderous applause from the audience.

Beyond the music, the festival offered children’s activities, art showings and workshops, storytelling, and films to satisfy the diverse tastes of the crowd.

And, not to be outdone by any of the other performers, the spectacular views over Atlin Lake seemed to occupy a stage of their own, eliciting gasps from anyone who happened to look up, as if surprised that the snow-streaked mountains over shining waters continued to steal their breath.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com