Good music, good cause

For 20 bucks, you can enjoy 12 hours of live music at Shipyards Park this weekend and support the Yukon Humane Society.

The Sunstroke Music Festival, one of three weekend festivals that make up the Solstice Festival, first ran in the summer of 2006 as the brainchild of Jordi Mikeli-Jones, also the proprietor of Triple J’s Music. Initially, a fairly grassroots smaller-scale show, the festival has grown since its inception.

“The first year, we had like 600 people and last year we had 1,800,” says Mikeli-Jones.

The festival shows no sign of slowing down, either, garnering acclaim locally and throughout North America. Says Mikeli-Jones, “I’ve got people contacting me from Florida; from Maine, U.S.A; from Saskatchewan.

“These people are coming to us.”

Music festivals are nothing without a strong lineup to support them, and Sunstroke does not disappoint. Running the gamut of local talent, one can expect to see the likes of local rockabilly heroes such as Sasquatch Prom Date, metal powerhouses Nemesis – and, fresh off a recent tour with Fred Eaglesmith, The Gordie Tentrees Band.

Sunstroke 2009 is also the summer of reunions, with Pegasus Wing, Death in Venice and Fishhead Stew all back together and ready to hit the stage.

And this is only a taste of the local flavours involved, let alone the out-of-town talent; namely, former locals and now Vancouver-based, The Whiskeydicks; Toronto folk singer, Andrea Ramolo and garage-band/blues duo, The Pack A.D., currently signed to Vancouver-based record label, Mint Records.

With the appearance of larger names, in not just local but Canadian music, one wonders if the trend of a headliner dominating the stage will rear its ugly head at Sunstroke.

Not the case, explains Mikeli-Jones, “I’m not necessarily looking for that bigger act.

“I don’t want people to say ‘Oh, it’s the Pack A.D. show’ or ‘It’s the Nemesis show.’ I want it to be fair for everyone that’s playing.”

Speaking of flavours … In addition to the music onstage, there will also be a slew of local vendors selling their wares.

Recognizable local names, such as Tony’s Pizza, Taste of India and Compadres Burritos will have booths set up on the grounds, to name but a few of the diverse food styles available.

Local artisans will also be selling homemade craft products, as well, with clothing, jewellery and other crafts available. A major sponsor, Yukon Brewing Company, will have its beer tent set up.

But, lest you think this event is purely for the consenting, drinking-aged adult, think again. Kids under 12 get in for free, and bouncy castles, face painting, ice cream and cotton candy during the day ensure that it is every bit the family affair.

Expect to see Lana Rae, award-winning children’s performer, onstage, as well.

Sunstroke 2009 is shaping up to be an event not to miss out on.

Says Mikeli-Jones, “Take the day off work; it’s worth it. You can literally get there at noon and not have to leave until midnight.”

Sunstroke Music Festival is Friday June 26, starting at noon and running until midnight. Tickets are $20 and are available only at the event. For more information, check out

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