The Dawson City Music Festival Association is a non-profit charitable organization established in 1979, after a summer barbecue full of music and dancing in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. The organization is led by a dedicated Board of Directors, one year-round Producer, a summer Production Assistant, and of course, the best volunteers in the world!
The Dawson City Music Festival will remain “Canada’s tiny, perfect Festival” by consistently and collaboratively delivering high-quality, diverse musical experiences. By doing so, the Dawson City Music Festival Association will be recognized as a significant contributor to both the quality of life and the cultural economy in Dawson and Yukon; and the DCMF will be understood as a celebration of Dawson’s spirit, hospitality, volunteerism, and community life.
The Dawson City Music Festival Association celebrates and supports its local environment by presenting world-class grassroots musical programming in Dawson, including but not limited to the annual Dawson City Music Festival.
Currently, the Association carries out this mission by producing its namesake summer music festival, providing educational outreach and tourism development via a songwriter-in-residence program and a youth Rock Camp; and by advocating for the development of the local, regional, and national arts sector.
The following values are intrinsic to our Association and our work.
- Honouring our legacy
- Accountability and transparency
- Community engagement and community ownership
- The grassroots spirit
- Audience and performer diversity
- Intergenerational engagement
- Economic development
- Local, municipal, and national pride
- Support and development of Yukon, Northern and Canadian musicians, at multiple stages of their career.
- Excellence in programming, administration, and conduct
The first Dawson City Music Festival took place in 1979. It was an intimate, two-day affair among friends, comprising a jam session on a West Dawson farm and a dance at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s. Quickly realizing that the Festival was too good a secret to keep, an enterprising band of local volunteers incorporated the Dawson City Music Festival Association in 1980, and received charitable status in 1986.
Since then, the event Vancouver’s Georgia Straight dubbed as “Canada’s tiny, perfect Festival” has developed a reputation as one of the nation’s premiere musical events, but its strengths have remained the same: unparalleled intimacy, grassroots spirit, fabulous Klondike hospitality, and the best concerts North of 60!
DCMF is famous for presenting Canadian artists shortly before they develop into household names. We are deeply proud of our Festival alumni, many of whom have gone on to receive the highest of national and international accolades. A selection of past performers includes:
Basia Bulat, Black Mountain, Tanya Tagaq, Leonard Sumner, Kaia Kater, Elisapie, Andy Shauf, Pierre Kwenders, The Weather Station, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Cris Derksen, Julie Doiron, Jen Grant, Jennifer Castle, Cousins, Cadence Weapon, The Jerry Cans, Diyet, DIANA, Baby Eagle, Bruce Cockburn, Blue Rodeo, the Constantines, the Rheostatics, The Deep Dark Woods, Jane Siberry, Born Ruffians, Sylvia Tyson, Elliott Brood, the Weakerthans, Fred Penner, Owen Pallett, Pokey Lafarge & The South City Three, the Sadies, Natalie Macmaster, Bell Orchestre, Sunset Rubdown, Terra Lightfoot, Rich Aucoin, Shotgun Jimmie, the Skydiggers, Doug Paisley, Colin Stetson, Corb Lund, The Pack A.D., Wanda Jackson, and more.
Dawson-based performers receiving early acclaim at DCMF and proceeding on to national infamy include the Undertakin’ Daddies, Old Man Luedecke, and Shotgun & Jaybird.