We build this festival for the locals. That is how past board member and volunteer Yasmine Renaud describes the Dawson City Music Festival to me. It is a private party for the community, but one we welcome all to attend. I can’t think of a better way to describe the music festival that celebrates 37 years of amazing musical talent. It is an impressive feat when a town that boasts a population of 1700 people hosts a festival that attracts performers from as far away as Australia, Haiti, Greenland and those closer to home from Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and lots from the Yukon. You may not live in Dawson City but when you are here they welcome you with open arms to the Dawson City Music Festival. Get your wristband and be ready to dance!
Attending the Dawson City Music Festival or DCMF for short can be done two ways. The big tent requires you to buy a ticket, aka wrist band. They are good for single day access. I had one for each day which gave me access to the big tent which had the largest stage, beer gardens, food trucks and some other fun booths like an info booth from Parks Canada.
The big tent was not the only place to catch the music though. A short walk away you could sit on the grass near the Yukon River and enjoy a variety of acts performing under the Gazebo.
Or if that wasn’t your cup of tea head over to the Danoja Zho Cultural Centre and enjoy a concert in the natural amphitheatre.
I split my time amongst all three venues and chances are good that you’ll see someone perform under the big tent and then the next day at one of the other venues. It truly is an accessible festival open to everyone.
I spent most of my time under the big tent Listening to Chouk Bwa Libete from Haiti and Dione Taylor from Regina/Toronto.
I’m didn’t know a single song perform they sang but that didn’t stop me from dancing, moving and joining in with the raucous applause after each set. The Dawson City Music Festival may be small but it is mighty.
I only discovered too late that there were three other venues as part of the festival. I can’t believe I missed them and am sad I missed those performances. I think next time I need to plan out a performance schedule so I catch as many performers as possible.
If you ever get the chance to attend the Dawson City Music Festival DO IT. It really is a festival for the locals and that energy makes it special. In one way or another, every resident of Dawson City is part of the festival and they welcome you to come enjoy it with them.