The Dawson City Music Festival, A Festival For Locals But You Are Invited

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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!

Dione Taylor on the Main Stage at the Dawson City Music Festival

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 at the Dawson City Music Festival

I've got my Dawson City Music Festival Wrist Band on

A little fun at the Parks Canada Booth

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.

Under the Gazebo performance in Dawson City

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.

A another small but popular outdoor stage of the DCMF

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.

Under the big tent at teh Dawson City Music Festival

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.

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Disclosure: General

Thanks to Travel Yukon for their support in making this trip possible, along with Aeroplan for providing 25,000 miles that I used to redeem for flights from Toronto to Whitehorse. My views and opinions are 100% my own


About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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