Party in Paradise

The territory’s sole electronic music festival is back — and this time for an entire weekend.

The territory’s sole electronic music festival is back — and this time for an entire weekend.

Paradise Electronic Music Festival is set to rock August 19 to 21 at Kettley’s Canyon, at Marsh Lake.

For the 2015 edition more than 250 people took part in the festival, which only lasted a day.

But as organizer Kevin Jack and the volunteers were taking down the site’s installations last year, they realized they should extend it, given the amount of effort that went into it.

It’s now set to start Friday afternoon, ending in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Paradise is in every way a Yukon festival.

As with any good electronic music festival, there will be laser shows, live-painting, and a sound system so powerful that people on the other side of Marsh Lake will feel the bass.

But there is also the log stage volunteers have built and improved over the past years.

There’s the black sand used for the dance floor, allowing for barefoot dancing.

“The atmosphere itself is very much of a Yukon home-grown field,” said Jack.

The festival itself is about showcasing Yukon talent in the electronic music scene.

Besides the occasional show at a local bar, Paradise is the only venue for the crowd.

Of the 20 acts scheduled to take the stage, 18 are from the territory.

“There is an amazing scene here with the electronic music,” Jack said.

Coming from Vancouver, DJ and event organizer Kraig Docherty will headline the festival.

Docherty has been DJing for the past 16 years.

His roots, he said, are in old school hip-hop and funk.

“It’s a familiar groove but done in a different way,” Docherty said.

“It re-approaches the likes of Snoop, Jay Z.”

There’s even some disco — to a certain degree — in his music.

“It’s done in a way the kids love,” he said. “That’s because it’s a got a groove, it’s familiar, it’s got a great bassline.”

Here and there he adds some vocals and live percussion.

“I tend not to play the artificial-sounding music,” he said.

Some artists, “take the fast road,” he acknowledged, giving the genre a bad rap with low-quality, mainstream music that paints electronic music in a bad light.

“With the advent of technology, across all genres we’ve seen some really shit music come out,” Docherty said.

But more and more, artists and producers have recognized the need to make quality music.

It will be Docherty’s fourth visit to Whitehorse, and he is excited to show Yukoners what he’s got.

The choice of late August allows festival-goers to enjoy the return of the darkness and to dance under the stars.

Organizing an outdoor music festival in late August in the Yukon can also be a bit of a gamble.

Last year, hours before the festival was set to open, Jack was sitting under a tarp drinking his coffee, hoping for a third straight day that the rain would stop.

“Why am I doing this ?” he thought to himself.

The rain stopped, the people started pouring in, and the festival was a success.

The event itself is funded only by ticket sales, and last year Jack had to cover upfront costs himself.

Putting on the festival is a labour of love, so as long as he breaks even, Jack is happy.

“When you see (the festival) in its prime, that’s the biggest payoff,” he said.

The crowd itself was a far cry from the stereotype of drug-addled teenagers.

Festival attendees were of all ages and backgrounds, many dressed up for the occasion.

There were steampunk outfits, big onesie suits and even people dressed like construction workers.

“The enthusiastic crowd blew me away,” said Jack. “I felt so proud to look down and see all of that happening.”

Camping spots are included in the festival pass for the weekend.

On the Sunday morning of last year’s festival, Jack realized most people had stayed to camp.

“It was dead quiet — the entire party had camped out,” he said. “Everyone was just nestled down.”

The campground itself was spotless, he said.

For more info, visit the event’s Facebook page, Paradise Music Festival 2016.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at