Do Festival-Goers Dream of Electric Beats?

As the end of August approaches, and leaves are changing colour, it is time to say goodbye to festival season. From August 19-21, hundreds will gather at Kettley’s Canyon to send it off in style.

Over two days, 20 DJs, local dance troupe BoSo and a live painter will perform at the 11th annual Paradise Electronic Music Festival. The festival takes place on an old gold mining site and blends the history of Yukon with its natural landscape.

“A beautiful creek (comes) through it, and when you are standing on stage, you overlook the marshes of Marsh Lake draining into the river – it’s pristine, it’s magical, it’s why we call it paradise,” says festival founder and organizer Kevin Jack.

There will be some changes from last year. Paradise will last two days instead of the usual one – a change that the organizers feel makes sense given the work it takes to put on a festival. The property will also look slightly different as each year organizers move things around to keep it fresh.

Headliner Kraig Docherty will be returning to the Yukon for the fourth time to bring his blend of breaks, hip hop, funk and soul peppered with house and drum and bass to the large log stage.

Docherty heads up Twisted Productions in Vancouver and will be playing two sets during the weekend. He keeps coming back because of the festival’s community and the organizer Kevin Jack himself: “I know the heart and soul that Kevin (DJKJ) pours into everything he does, which will make Paradise something special for everyone, including myself.”

Local DJs will take their sounds and sets to the stage over the weekend. Long-time DJ veterans, such as DASH and Sickophant will play alongside up-and-coming DJs that are new on the scene. Shannon Mallory, Jeremy Parkins and Purple Teeth will make their festival debuts.

The festival aims to give these new artists, such as 18-year-old Usagi Forest, a chance to create and express their own sound, Kevin Jack says.

“It’s important for people to feel that they can come as an artist and from their heart play what they want to play and there is no judgement,” he says.

The festival is as much about community for Jack as it is about the music. He credits the community, which spans age groups from 20 into the 50s, for keeping the festival going. The festival is funded entirely by ticket sales and volunteer work. Although Jack has lost money in the festival over the years, he finds motivation in the community to continue to organize and build it.

While music festivals are becoming known for the garbage-filled fields festival goers leave behind, Paradise’s aftermath is different. Jack credits the community feel for his easy clean-up efforts. At last year’s festival, Jack said festival goers for the most part cleaned up after themselves and that he found “the effort people put in to keep the ground clean (so) rewarding. I feel so blessed that we have built this community that goes beyond a party scene – it’s a whole culture out there.”

The Paradise Electronic Music Festival takes place Friday, Aug. 19 from 5 p.m. to Sunday, Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. You must be 19 and over to attend this festival, ID is required.

Tickets are available at Triple J’s Music, Tattoos and Piercing, or at the gate.

There is a free shuttle service all weekend long between Whitehorse and the festival grounds.

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