46th annual DCMF: July 19-21, 2024!
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Festival Alumni

The Dawson City Music Festival has presented an incredible range of performers over the last four decades. We look forward to many more years of quality musical programming in Dawson City.



Andrew Laviolette, Claire Ness, Cris Derksen, Desirée Dawson, Diamond Dino, Edzi’u, Hän Singers, Happy Trails, Prospector, Kacy & Clayton, Old Man Luedecke, Partner, and Vanstones.


Begonia, Mariel Buckley, The Burning Hell, and Jeffrey Lewis.


2LIT2QUIT, Bero, Dena and the Bazuka, Calhoun, Diamond Dino, Sarah Hamilton, Ecka Janus, KEEN, Mo knight, Andrew Laviolette, LOCAL BOY, Erica Mah, Brent Maxwell, Drea Naysayer, Jeremy Parkin, Tiny Islands Brass Band, UJJY, Uncle Jimmy & the Hammerstones, Wares, Whoa Bear!
Thursday Kickoff: Song Circle & Bonfire at Front St. Fire Pit


DCMF was cancelled for the first time in over 40 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. DCMF 2020 was a quiet, sentimental weekend reminiscing of years past.


Afrikana Soul Sister, Alexandria Maillot, Aquakultre, Beverly Glenn Copeland w/ Indigo Rising, Cryptozoologists, Gigi French, Greyson Gritt, Hän Singers, Joey O’Neil, Lido Pimienta, Major Funk and the Employment, nêhiyawak, Orkestar Kriminal, PIQSIQ, Quantum Tangle, Ryan McNally & The Messarounders, The Jerry Cans, The Lucky Ones, The Sweeties, and Wintersleep.
Thursday Kickoff Concert: Tim Baker w/ Evrytt Willow & the Whip-Poor-Wills


Blue Moon Marquee, Chippy Nonstop, Claire Ness, Dena Zagi, Driftwood Holly, Elliott BROOD, Goodnight Sunrise, Hän Singers, Les Deuxluxes, Old Man Luedecke, Skye Wallace, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Snowblink, Wares,  and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan.
Thursday Kickoff Concert: Madame Gandhi w/ Dakhká Khwáan Dancers & DASH. 


Calla Kinglit, Chouk Bwa Libète, Dione Taylor, Duchess Says, Hän Singers, Helena Deland, Kaia Kater, Louise Burns, Michael Brooks, Nive and the Deer Children, Quinton Blair, Shred Kelly, Surf Dads, The Courtneys, The Dead Wild, This Way North, Ukes of Hazard, and Zachary Lucky.


Def3, Ginalina, HIGHS, Hot Panda, Jenn Grant, Jenny Berkel, Jim Bryson, Joey O’Neil, Kristi Lane Sinclair, Leonard Sumner, Major Funk & The Employment, Matt Monoogian, Merganzer, Miss Quincy & The Showdown, Mozart’s Sister, Old Cabin, Pierre Kwenders, Rob Dickson, Sarah Hamilton, Sarah Jane Scouten, Terra Lightfoot, The 24th Street Wailers, The Provincial Archive, The Wet Secrets, and Twin Bandit.


Alpha Yaya Diallo, Corb Lund & The Hurtin’ Albertans, Cud Eastbound, Declan O’Donovan, Elisapie, James Hill, Lisa LeBlanc, The Pack A.D, Pat LePoidevin, PS I Love You, Ralph Shaw, The Renaldo Domino Experience, Ryan McNally, Sandro Perri, S. Ayton, Sarah MacDougall, The Slocan Ramblers, Soda Pony, Wendy McNeill, and Wesley Hardisty.
Thursday Kickoff Concert: Colin Stetson w/ Sandro Perri


Alex Cuba, Andy Shauf, By Divine Right, Baby Eagle, Canyon Mountain, DIANA, Diyet, Driftwood Holly, Cousins, Cris Derksen, Evening Hymns, The Midnight Sons, Marine Dreams, Monkeyjunk, Feeding Frenzy, Jaffa Road, Jaron Freeman-Fox, Les Soeurs Boulay, Nick Ferrio & His Feelings, Noosa, The Naysayers, Pharis and Jason Romero, and The Rural Alberta Advantage.
Thursday Kickoff Concert: Como Mamas


Al Simmons, Art Johns & Nola, The Beauties, Bill Stevens, Bonnie “Prince” Billy & Dawn McCarthy, The Brass Knuckle Society, Cadence Weapon, Fanny Bloom, Hannah Epperson, The Jerry Cans, The Klondike Sons, The Naysayers, Old Cabin, Owen Steel, Rachel Sermanni, Samantha Marten & The Haggard, The Sojourners, Susu Robin, Vision Quest, Working Dogs, and Zeus.
Thursday Kickoff Concert: Wanda Jackson w/ The Trilliums


Andre Williams & The Goldstars, Blue Hibou, Born Ruffians, Brandon Isaak, Bruce Peninsula, The Bryant Crooks, Canailles, Cris Derksen, The Dakhká Khwáan Dancers, The Deep Dark Woods, Doug Paisley, Drea Naesager, George McConkey & Annie Avery, Gordie Tentrees & Hill Country News, Hooded Fang, Jennifer Castle, Kunda African Culture, Larry & His Flask, Molly Sweeney, Old Time Machine, Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three, Tomas Kubinek, The Weather Station, and Zipline.
Thursday Kickoff Concert: Ron Sexsmith


Amelia Curran, Brenda Lee Quartet, Carlyle Watt & The Sugar Strings, Chic Gamine, Coole & Downes, David Essig, Dennis Allen & The Hellhounds, Done Gone Trio, Etran Finatawa, Fish & Bird, Grey Kingdom, Jeremy Strachan, Kaska Drummers, Major Conrad Flapps, Mamma Yamma, Minotaurs, Mr. Something Something, Rich Aucoin, Ryan McNally, Sarah MacDougall, Shotgun Jimmie, Shout Out Out Out, The Stampeders, Steve Gates, Tanya Tagaq w/ Zubot & Martin, The River Bends, Tim Hus, Whitey Houston, Willie Gordon Trio, and Yukon Blonde.
Thursday Kickoff Concert: Owen Pallett w/ Jean Martin, Jeremy Strachan


A Young Linthead, Bette & Wallet, Boyd Benjamin, Broken Deer, The Burning Hell, The Constantines, Coolooloosh, D Rangers, Dan Mangan, Diyet, Dolly Varden & The Daredevils, Elliott Brood, Elfin Saddle, Fred Penner, Good Lovelies, Hamilton Old-Time Duo, Harbourcoats, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Kevin Barr, Matana Roberts, The Mountain Avens, Pat LePoidevin, Puppets of Destruction, Sasquatch Prom Date, Shakura S’Aida, Steve Slade, tUnE-yArDs, and Ukrainia.
Thursday Kickoff Concert: Buffy Sainte Marie


The Acorn, Alma De Espana, Bend Sinister, Chad Van Gaalen, Coeur de Pirate, Crash The Car, Luke Doucet & The White Falcon, Eekwol, Elena Yound, Gadji Gadjo, The Handsome Family, Headwater, Iskwew, Johnny & The Moon, Lana Rae, Melissa McClelland, George McConkey, Katie Moore, Mother Mother, The Persuasions, SoCalled, Sunset Rubdown, Three Chords & The Truth, and Triple Forte.
Thursday Kickoff Concert: The Persuasions


Bell Orchestre, Black Mountain, Basia Bulat, Calm Down It’s Monday, Julie Doiron, Done Gone String Band, Nicole Edwards, James Gordon & Sons, The Good Brothers, Gold Diggers, Hayden, Immaculate Machine, Wayne LaVallee, The Magic, Out of the Blue, Plaid, Justin Rutledge, The Sadies, Mike Stevens & Raymond McLain, Soir de Semaine, Snailhouse, Threat From Outer Space, Torngat, and Ken Whiteley.
Thursday Kickoff Concert: Hayden


Jill Barber, Kim Barlow, Kim Beggs, Beolach, Jim Byrnes, Chirgilchin, Steve Dawson, Didier Delahaye, Digging Roots, e.s.l., Fleur de Swing, Great Lake Swimmers, Jon-Rae and the River, Ladyhawk, Annie Lou, Amy Millan, Old Man Luedecke, Ndidi Onukwulu, Indio Saravanja, Kelvin Smoler & the Groundwork Sessions Crew, and Zubot & Dawson.


Art Turner, Les Batinses, Christine Fellows ft. Shary Boyle, Cuff the Duke, Death in Venice, Done Gone String Band, Donné Roberts Band, Edith Tankus, Final Fantasy, Fishead Stew, Gramma Susie & Cash Creek Charlie, Jowi Taylor & the Six String Nation Guitar, Hank & Lily, Hungry Hill, The Hylozoists, Klondike Funk Association, Tomás Kubínek, Mihirangi, Pit Blues Band, Wyckham Porteous, Raw Element, John K. Samson, Scotch, and Boone Webb.


The Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, Blood Meridian, Creaking Tree String Quartet, Constantines, Leela Gilday, Marieke Hiensch, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Greg MacPherson, Carolyn Mark, Eivør Pálsdóttir & Bill Bourne, The Sadies, Rick Scott, Shotgun & Jaybird, Rae Spoon, Swingin’ Fish Nuggets, Buddy Tabor, Tanya Tagaq, Tons of Fun University (TOFU), and Whammer Jammer Blues Band.


Eliott Brood, Burt Nielson Band, Chirgilchin, Creaking Tree String Quartet, Digging Roots, Joel Plaskett, Jon-Rae and the River, Ladyhawk, Old Man Luedecke, & more.


Aboubacar Camara & Doundounba, Alexis O’Hara, Ben Mahony & The Big Eyed Beans From Venus, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Boy, Chris McNutt, Clavé, Dave Haddock, Gord, Gordie Tentrees, Jenny Orenstein, JT King, Kate Hammett-Vaughan, Kim Beggs, Laura Dowdell, Marieke Hiensch, Michael Brooks, Mike Plume, Old Reliable, Pro Decibel, Revelators, The Robert Minden Duo, Rory Merrit Stitt, Slainte Mhath, Tippy Agogo, The Wailin’ Jennys, Wauntid, and Xlomaniacs.


Geoff Berner, Bill Hilly Band, Barbara Chamberlin, The Corn Sisters, Guy Davis, Deering & Down, Kris Demeanor, The Farrell Brothers, Floyd Favel Starr, Anne Louise Genest, Thom Gossage, Lawrence Graf Trio, Hawaii Two-O, Manfred Janssen, Knob, Amanda Leslie & The Cobalt Connection, Mad Bomber Society, Alex Murdoch & The Polyphonics, North of Nowhere, The Pointer Brothers, Rembetika Hipsters, Sandy Scofield, Aylie Sparkes, and The Weakerthans.


Bodra Aliyah Band, Be Good Tanyas, Bearfoot Bluegrass, Chuck Brodsky w/ Doug Cox, Robert David, Dixie Dreamers, Downing Turcotte Zubot Dawson, Nicole Edwards, Fishead Stew, Anne Louise Genest, Glamour Puss, Jazzberry Ram, Juan-Tid, Paul Lucas Trio, Harry Manx, The Mighty Popo, The Moir Brothers, National Dust, Pointer Brothers, Rheostatics, Saskia & Larry, Something Else, Undertakin’ Daddies, and Simon Wilcox.


Kim Barlow, Mike Battie, David Berger, Donkeysmell, Fred Eaglesmith, Ali Eisner, David Gogo, Manfred Jansen, Joe & Kendall, KILT, Eileen Laverty, Carolyn Mark & Her Room Mates, Matapat: Music, Song and Dance of Quebec, Painting Daisies, Paulo Ramos Group, Route Jazz Ensemble, Peters Drury Trio, Pocket Dwellers, SwingSoniq, Valle Son, and Washboard Hank.


Annie Avery, Big Band Trio, Joe Bird, Joe Bishop, Tim Doyle, Nicole Edwards, Fishhead Stew, Sandra Hall, Brandon Isaac, Ecka Janus, Kubasonics, George McConkey, Brian McDonald, Danny Michel, Wendy Perry, the Pointer Brothers, Amelia Slobogean, Kendall Sullivan, Rick Sward, and more.


Jerry Alfred & The Medicine Beat, Bourne & MacLeod, Rebecca Campbell, Bruce Cockburn, David Essig, Lennie Gallant, Dave Haddock, Inconnu, Manfred Janssen, Jayne West, Daniel Lapp, Lennie & the Lapstrakes, Laura Love, Ellen McIlwaine, Scott Merritt, Lynn Miles, Peppersands, The Pointer Brothers, Wyckham Porteous, Quartette, Lester Quitzau, Rawlins Cross, Scott Sheerin & John Steins, The Skydiggers, Ian Tamblyn, Uncle Dirt, and Undertow.


Rosario Ancer, Average Joe, Annie Avery, Kim Barlow, Bruce and Deb Bergman, Bill Bourne, Annie Davis, Glacial Erratics, G*psy Soul, Alex Houghton, Lenny and the Lapstrokes, Malaika, Natalie McMaster, La Poudre Acoustique, Lonnie Powell, Scared Weird Little Guys, The Smalls, Sundog, Undertow, and more.


Average Joe, Annie Avery, Niko Beki, The Big Band, Big Yellow Taxi, Central Nervous System, Ray Condo & his Ricochets, Jack Grunsky, Lorne Elliot, Cate Friesen, HOOP, JackSOUL, Daniel Janke, Matthew Lien, Main Street Buskers, George McConkey, Orealis, the Pedestrians, John Steins, Sun Dog, Buddy Tabor, Undertow, Jayne West, Tim Williams, and more.


Ad Vielle Que Pourra, Beautiful Losers, Buddha Style, Burma Road, The Diviners, Lennie Gallant, Vida Hille & Band, Daniel Janke & Paul Lucas, Mike Jenkins, Sonja Anderson Loeks & Rosalyn Young, Danielle Martineau, George McConkey & Kevin Barr, Rockabayou, She Stole My Beer, Soulstice, Jayne West, Nancy White, and more.


Cabin Fever, Clyde Roulette Band, Patti Dahlquist, Dobb & Dumela, Djole, Fat Man Waving, Norman Foote, Daniel Janke, Kim Rogers Band, Laura Love Band, Matthew Lien, Paul Lucas, George McConkey, Rawlings Cross, The Return, Ian Tamblyn, Weenie Tatoes, and more.


Annie Avery & Friends, Barnacle Bob, Bruce & Debbie Bergman, Brash Monkeys, Dale Cooper, Crawfish Fiesta, Kent Greentrio, Willie Gordon & DIKDHU, Dave Haddock, Grant Hartwick, Gregory Hoskins & the Stick People, Daniel Janke, Matthew Lien, Pete Menzies, Lynn Miles, Mother Tongue, Wendy Perry, Al Simmons, Skydiggers, John Steins, Sundog, Weenie Tatoes, and more.


Barenaked Ladies, Ralph Benmergui, Bill Bourne, Circumpolar Swing Band, Paul Gould & Ike Eidness, Hard Rock Miners, Harmonica George, Mike Jacobs, Matthew Lien, The Main Street Buskers, Art Napoleon, Wyckham Porteous, Rusty May & Kevin Barr, Nouveau Station Wagon, Old Crow Fiddlers, Rusty Mae, Tamarack, The Wolf, and more.


Bourne & MacLeod, Children’s Songs of the Midnight Sun, Crash Test Dummies, Ecka Janus, Paul Lucas, Old Crow Fiddlers, Rick Perry & Matthew Lien, Pick of the Litter, Poultry in Motion, Rocky Rolletti & The Junior Noodle Wave, Laura Smith, Wynona Sue and the Turnpikes, Ralph Towner, Zumac, and more.


Trish Barclay & Annie Avery, Bruce & Debbie Bergman, The Checkerboard Guy, Daisy DeBolt, Dizzy Grizzly, Marie Gogo & Herbie Bowman, King Frog, Gerald LaRoche, Dave Haddock, Jacques Lucier, Melwood Cutlery and the Fashion Plates, New Wine, Nyetz, Lucy Blue Tremblay, and more.


The Burners, Dizzy Grizzly, Cathy Elliott, Dave Haddock, Daniel Janke, Josephine, King Frog, Gerard Laroche, Meter Maids, Pied Pumkin, Soul Vibrations, John Steins, Shari Ulrich, and more.


Alaska Button Accordion Gang, W. Allemen, Juanita Barr, Kevin Barr, Bruce Bergman, Deb Bergman, Donny Cartwright, Celtic Trio, Chill Factor, Laura Cove, Djembe Berra, Marvin DuBois, Great Western Orchestra, Kathi Elliot, MA Fletcher, Roy Forbes, Bob Hamilton, Lava Hay, Bohdan Hzurslo, Jailhouse Joe, Kit Johnson, Tony Kenny, Jim Kerr, Klondike Fuel, Lester Quitzau, Phil Lloyd, Karen Melady, Pete Menzies, Ellen McIlwaine, Mikel Miller, Matt Minglewood Band, R. Mombourquette, Mondo Mando, Native Drummers, the Razorbacks, Scott Sheerin, Steve Slade, John Steins, Mike Stockstill, Nathan Tinham, D. Wilkie, and more.


Lillian Allen & the Revolutionary Tea Party Band, Bergman-Barr Band, Arthur Black, Julio Cabrera & Brasil, Gig-a-Musique, Kent Greentree, Daniel Janke Band, Orealis, Marc Paradis, The Rinkbinders, The Romaniacs, Steve Slade, and more.


Mark Paradis & Tim Keenan, Seth MacMillian, Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, Fred Penner, Arlin MacFarlane, Steve Slade, Themba Tana & African Heritage, Bruce & Debby Bergman, Monic Foisy, Daniel Janke, B.B. Gabor, Alyx Jones, Lorraine Segato & Lori Conger, Tom Rush, Sue Ellenton, John Steins & Scott Sheerin, Alison Hogan, and Parachute Club.


Heather Bishop, Bottom Dollar Band, Compass, Kathi Cross, Ferron, The Jane Siberry Band, Daniel Janke, Manfred Jansen, Alyx Jones, Joe Loutchan & Friends, Tracey Riley, John Steins & Scott Sheerin, and more.



Sue Ellenton, Jacques Girouard, Goin’ South, Daniel Janke, Manfred Janssen, Alan LaMontagne, Sharon Lois & Bram, George McConkey, Scott Merritt, The Original Balkan Jam, Jim Page, Colleen Peterson, Steve Slade, Scott Sheerin, John Steins, The Vacationers, Karen White, and more.



Doug Atkinson, Barbershop Quartet, Fred Bass, Paul Bergman, Heather Bishop, Rev. Chumleigh, Hillary Craig, Chris Crilly, Kathy Cross, Teresa Doyle, Janine Dudding, Mike Gates, Jacques Girouard, Grizzly Frank, Eileen Hart, Daniel Janke, Manfred Jansen, Tim Keenin, Pasha Klein, Spence Laycock, Bo Light, Paul Lucas, George Mason, Steve Matthews, Dean McKenzie, Peter Menzies, Ozone Rangers, Jim Roberts, Windy Scott, Scott Sheerin, Rosemary Silverstein, John Steins, Paul Stevens, Brent Titcomb, Karen White-McNevin, and more.


Holly Arntzen, Conrad Boyce, Peter Boyer, Kathy Cross, Andrea Davidson, Val Dean, Teresa Doyle, Fred J. Eaglesmith, Paul Hahn, Tom Hawken, Jan Henderson, Manfred Jansen, Alyx Jones, Brian Lendrum, Annie McCutcheon, Nakai Players, Fergus Neville, Fawn Ross, Gordon Ross, Larry Saidman, Scott Sheerin, Eva Stehelin, John Steins, Satoru Suttles, Bruce Valee, Tim Vautour, Karen Waite, Rob Wallinger, Ted Wesley, Dwayne Wheeler, Richard White, and more.


Andrea Davidson, Aurora Borealatones, Banjo Jim, Hamilton Brown, Crazy Gene, Kathy Cross, Dealen & Stojan, Teresa Doyle, David Essig, Paul Hann, Steve Hites, Jim Hodgkinson, Barry Richardson, Larry Saidman, Susan Shewan, John Steins, Pete Stewart, Wayward, and more.

Alumni Love

[2018] Skye Wallace

I was the Dawson City Music Festival Songwriter in Residence in January 2018 and coming back to play with a full band at the festival later that year felt really special.

DCMF has a super unique setup where, due to there being so few flights into and out of Dawson, all the musicians on the lineup stick around for the entire weekend. They all hang out in the same small — but amazing — backstage area. They all collaborate and perform in new band configurations drawn from a hat. It made for a rare opportunity to get to know other people playing the festival that you wouldn’t necessarily get otherwise.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Elliott BROOD, Les Deuxluxes, Goodnight Sunrise, Yamanataka // Sonic Titan and many other amazing acts all blew my mind with their performances, but were also incredible hangs. I made some long-term friendships that weekend under the midnight sun.

Exclaim.ca, 2022.

[2018] Elliott Brood

By far one of the best [festivals] in the country. If you have the means and a sense of adventure, you should get yourself up there.

Elliott Brood/Facebook, 2019.

[2017] Louise Burns

I loved playing Dawson City Music Festival in the Yukon. It is one of the most beautiful places in Canada, filled with amazing people and true music lovers.

The AU Review, 2017.

[2016] Mozart’s Sister

I love how very extraordinary lives are lived so casually here

Weird Canada, 2016.

[2014] Canyon Mountain

Thanks to Jenna and everyone else at the Dawson City Music Festival. What a great event.  We had a wonderful time and the pot luck band scramble on Sunday was a total blast!

Canyon Mountain Band, 2017.

[2014] MonkeyJunk

I remember a couple summers ago when we performed at The Dawson City Music Festival at midnight while a couple thousand people raged as the sun still shone. I believe we had three separate sets of ladies’ unmentionables hucked at us during our set, which gave us a good laugh! There really are too many great stories to mention. Maybe one day I’ll write a book.

FIY Music News, 2017.

[2013] Hannah Epperson

I played up in Dawson City at the Dawson City Music Festival. It was the first time I’d gone to play at a festival without any connections. I didn’t know anyone there and Dawson City is far from home.

It’s pretty alien up there and I think I had the most intensely visceral performance of my life in the Palace Grand. It’s this incredible old building, old theatre, in Dawson City. It’s probably the coolest venue I’ve ever played in.

I had an insane physical and emotional experience playing that show. I felt like everything that’s informed my music, for the first time in my life I felt like I was attached to my music and that I wasn’t just a vessel, this passing through point, which is often how I feel. After that show I went backstage and just started sobbing. I felt like I was puking. I have no idea why. It was crazy. It was a really, really incredible experience.

Rags Music, 2013.

[2012] The Bryant Crooks

Dawson has a great community, people seem to want to be really involved. I’ve also been really impressed by the arts scene in Dawson; like how a town this small and remote has managed to put on so many events. I think it’s because the people are so receptive and willing to help out, and that can also be said for the festival.
The Concordian, 2012.

[2011] Shotgun Jimmie

The Dawson City Music Festival has all the small festival perks. There is usually a welcome BBQ for performers featuring freshly-caught salmon from the Yukon river. So many businesses and groups in town are involved making that happen. It feels as if the festival is put on by the entire community.

A Side, 2019.

[2010] Dan Mangan

Dawson City holds a special place in the Vancouverite’s heart. He said “the festival is unique because you know a lot of people travelled a great distance just to be there. It’s funny how every festival has its charm but it’s a special thing when you can go to a tiny place. You get a sense that you’ve been somewhere a bit wild, outside of the urban framework and you experience something special.
Before leaving the area he remembers being taken to a scenic spot overlooking a vast expanse of land, and being truly impressed by the view.
“That’s when you get smacked with a dose of humility, of just how small you are in the scope of all things.”

Yukon News, 2014.

[2010] Constantines

I actually have no system for writing songs. It often takes a long time. The few times I’ve been able to write a song quickly or in the moment, were pretty unique. On this record, Rivers of Gold, it involved having taken a trip to Dawson City in the Yukon Territory to play music at the music festival up there. I had a great feeling up there, hanging out with incredible people, doing what I wanted to be doing. I knew in that moment that I was completely free. So writing the song, “Rivers of Gold” just kind of came out in a moment of thinking back on that experience.

Bry Webb/BlogTO, 2012.

[2010] Good Lovelies

It was like going to camp. All the performers were on this small plane, including Fred Penner and the fellows from Elliott Brood. We flew up to Dawson, and it was so much fun. And, of course, the midnight sun was unreal. It was so beautiful.

Apt 613, 2016

[2009] The Acorn

Which would you say is your favorite Canadian festival?

Well, for pure novelty and a very, very surreal experience, I would definitely say the Dawson City Music Festival e, close to the Arctic Circle. It’s quite a trek, and there’s only about 1,000 people in the city there to attend and help the festival, but the lineup is always phenomenal, and they treat you like a million bucks.

It’s really amazing because you really get immersed in the town. You’re in the Yukon, in “gold rush” country. The city looks relatively unchanged since the 1860s; it’s absolutely incredible. We were there last summer. You’re so far up north in late July, you’re basically looking at 24 hours of daylight. You could literally just see shows and have bonfires all day.

Prefix Mag, 2016

[2009] Bend Sinister

You’ve played at the Dawson City Music Festival in Dawson City, Yukon before, how was that for you guys?

That was awesome. We did that with Mother Mother and Chad VanGaalen. Yeah, it was a great line-up. It was kind of funny because most of the bands played two sets. They kept us for the very end, I think we were the last band to play for the whole festival, and we just did one longer set.

It was awesome to hang out in Dawson for the five days. The really nice thing about that festival is that, usually during festivals you’re kind of in and out — you roll in, you do your set, and you’re done — but with this festival you get to meet everybody on the set. They fly everybody in on the same plane from Whitehorse and you’re all there. Those weird stereotypes between bands just break down and by the end everybody is just hanging out together.

The Scene Magazine, 2014

[2008] Basia Bulat

I had always wanted to go there and when I finally did it, I have to say it was incredibly therapeutic. The Yukon was very necessary after all the time on the road. The silence could be very intoxicating. At the same time, I still played like five shows while I was there, so it wasn’t all quiet times.

Yukon News, 2010.

[2008] Bell Orchestre

I met Dallas Good (The Sadies) in Dawson City, Yukon at the Dawson City Music Festival there in 2008. We got paired together with Geordie Gordon and Bobby Bulat on a workshop stage and with about 5 minutes to rehearse, threw together an echo-saturated, billowing, dreamy version of All I Have To Do is Dream by the Everly Brothers.

It was honestly the singular musical performance highlight of my lifetime. Perfect and thrilling in the way that only something unplanned can be.
We fell deeply musically in love with each other at that moment and have been dear friends ever since.

Dallas and I have been slowly writing and recording a record together ever since that Dawson moment.

Richard Reed Parry/StereoGum, 2022.

[2005] Joel Plaskett

I’m not the type to camp out at festival. Sleeping in a tent kind of freaks me out. Having said that, I do like festivals that feature what my wife calls magic dancers. They’re the hippyish gals with hands in the air letting loose and swaying to the tunes. A great festival for this was the Dawson City Music Festival in the Yukon, a territory in the north of Canada. It was the summertime and the sun would just dip below the horizon for a few hours between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.

I was there with my band The Emergency and we were up pretty much for four days straight. The whole experience was incredible. We rocked an epic show on the Saturday night to packed tent and the magic dancers went nuts. When we were flying home, we stopped to change planes in Whitehorse and picked up a copy of the local paper. There was a huge picture on the front of us playing the show, with a giant unrelated headline above the photo that read, “GUNMEN ROB LOCAL STORE”. It was a classic.

Five Dials, Issue 13. Summer 2010.

[2005] Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir

What have been some of your most memorable moments as a band?

Playing the Dawson City Music Festival definitely comes to mind. It’s in Yukon, Canada. Look for it on a map. It’s so far north that it is daylight for a good twenty-one hours when the festival runs in July. It’s a small festival, but it has one of the best, warmest, yet wild atmospheres anywhere. 

Not only did we get to hang out for a week in a former gold rush metropolis, play music, and have a great time, we were asked to close the festival. This was a bit intimidating for us because The Sadies were there, too. We hold them in high regard. The closing set went off like lightning, though. It was a confidence builder and a monumental cultural experience.

Other than Ethiopia, where are you going to find a festival that cooks its musicians and volunteers an Ethiopian meal? In the Yukon? Get outta town. Yet it happened. It was no dream. That’s not even half of it.  

Bob Keelaghan/No Depression Mag, 2011

[2005] The Constantines

The Dawson City music festival was amazing last year (2005). Dawson City is up in the Yukon Territory, and it was probably the best week as a band we’ve ever had. All these people come from all over the territory, and from B.C. and Alaska, it’s sort of this one cultural event that happens in that area.

Dawson city was just a small, beautiful little town by the Yukon and the Klondike rivers, it’s just…immaculate. It’s all dirt roads, everybody has a dog, there are no franchises, and it’s all old storefronts. Everyone knows everyone in the city, and everyone’s friendly and has a silly sense of humor. It was incredible.

Bryan Webb/Pitchfork, 2005

[2005] The Constantines

We arrived in a small plane. The town, recently surrounded by forest fires, smelled of smoke. As can happen at festivals, we were divided and scheduled into various workshops. I was put in a songwriter workshop called “Songs I Wish I Wrote,” which for me might have better been called “Out of My League.”

Some of the other guys were placed in mix and match bands with other musicians for a workshop on the main stage. A very tired Dallas showed up late and found himself unexpectedly and perhaps unhappily performing “Big Yellow Taxi.” Our own shows went well.

During our headlining set, we were happy to see the mother of the family we were billeted with crowd-surfing. I celebrated my 25th birthday at the big closing night party.

Steven Lambke/Toronto Star, 2005

[2004] Eliott BROOD

The Dawson City Music Festival has everything, from the way you travel to get there by flying in with all your fellow musicians on what feels like a 70-year-old prop plane to the sights and smells of this historic town. Every time you step into Dawson City, it feels like a throwback to the turn of the 19th century.

My most memorable time there was our first time performing at the festival in the summer of 2004. We played the Pit in the Westminster Hotel to crazy wild crowds for two nights. We followed that up by opening the festival stage and, finally, we played a set in the beautiful Palace Grand Theatre. Our stay in Dawson was topped off by singing Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” with the wonderful Constantines as they closed out the festival, and all this while under the constant threat of evacuation from wildfires.

Exclaim.ca, 2022

[2002] Neko Case/Corn Sisters

I’d never been to the Yukon before. It’s like a beautiful nature preserve. There’s only 30,000 people in the entire territory, which means that everybody in the town can go to Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto and watch a hockey game.

Everybody there is totally amazing: most people have three different jobs and a PhD. We met this amazing lady named Glenda early in the day; she was in her park-ranger outfit. Later, we saw her dressed like a turn-of-the-century madam, leading a tour. And then later on, she was selling merch at the music festival booth, just because she’s such an enthusiast.

Everybody there is like that. They’re amazing people. I was there for two days; I’m going back there as soon as I possibly can.

During the time I was there the sun never went down because it’s so far north—it just sort of ping-pongs back and forth across the horizon. There’s no timber industry there, either, because the trees are too short. So there’s hundreds of miles of virgin timber, and it looks f*&ing incredible.

Dawson City is right where the Yukon River and the Klondike River come together, and the Klondike is clear and the Yukon is milky, so when you see them come together there’s these ribbons of milky and clear water. It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.

Neko Case/Perfect Sound Forever Magazine, 2002

[1998] Lester Quitzau Band

The Lester Quitzau band spent 5 days driving from Winnipeg to get here. I didn’t think I could have fun after that, but this is by far the best festival in the world.
Chris Byrne, direct quote

[1997] Bill Bourne

The experience was intense. It was the kind of weekend where you can;t sleep because you’re afraid you’ll miss something. There is amazing energy in that place.
Bill Bourne, direct quote