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 “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 superstars 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:
Bruce Cockburn, Andre Williams, the Barenaked Ladies, Blue Rodeo, the Constantines, the Rheostatics, The Deep Dark Woods, Jane Siberry, Born Ruffians, Sylvia Tyson, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Elliott Brood, Sharon, Lois & Bram, the Weakerthans, Fred Penner, Owen Pallett, Pokey Lafarge & The South City Three,the Good Brothers, the Sadies, Natalie Macmaster, Bell Orchestre, Sunset Rubdown, Rich Aucoin, Shotgun Jimmie, the Skydiggers, Doug Paisley, Tomas Kubinek, 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.