Vancouver-based Bend Sinister brings their progressive-indie rock style to this year’s Frostbite Music Festival

The Frostbite Music Festival returns in 2018 after going on hiatus in 2014, 2015 and 2017. The 2016 Frostbite Music Festival was a scaled down event, with only local musicians participating. This year, on a new date, the festival has embraced the theme of rising from the ashes and a phoenix-like creature is featured on their promotional material. That vision is inspired by the event itself having been reborn as a full-scale event that will feature a mix of both local musicians and those from Outside.

Frostbite has a history of re-inventing itself, according to Frostbite Music Festival Society President Amos Scott. “It’s interesting how often changing location helps change identity,” Scott said. “We’re excited to be back with a full-scale Frostbite at a new location, the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre.”

Frostbite has used different venues throughout Whitehorse since it got its start back in 1979. According to Scott, the first festivals were held at the old Whitehorse Rec Centre, before it burnt to the ground. It was located at the current Yukon Transportation Museum location. Frostbite volunteers helped rebuild as the Ice Palace, where a few more festivals were held before the planned transfer to the museum was completed.

“The festival bounced around down the hill after that,” Scott said. “There was a year at the Riverdale Plaza, the current Heart of Riverdale space. And there was a year in a helicopter hangar, which was unique.”

The event eventually settled at the Yukon College gym, where it has been held for well over a decade, before the move this year to the KDCC. The change in venue will help reduce the work for volunteers to put on the show.

“The College was great and very accommodating, but it was a lot of work to convert the space into a concert setting,” Scott explained. “There are staff on hand to help at the new venue and our tech staff don’t have some of the same difficulties to overcome. For example, they used to have to run a power cable from another building to help power the equipment.”

The resulting changes have reduced the required volunteers. This year’s festival will have about 60 volunteers helping to put on the show, when in the past they’ve needed as many as 100 to put on the event.


Iskwé performs at the 2018 Frostbite Music Festival

The musical acts are of course the key feature of the festival and there are five named Outside acts currently scheduled to attend throughout the festival, which takes place March 2, 3 and 4. These include Iskwé, a rock/alternative act with Indigenous influences; Bend Sinister, a progressive-indie rock band from Vancouver; Adrian A. Nation, a classical guitarist; and Johnny Bourdeaux, a space-rock type act on two theremins. Theremins are light organs that activate as the players move their hands over the lights. According to Scott, it is a great act for kids who are fascinated by the instrument.

There was one concern of moving downtown according to Scott, and that was not being able to use the Yukon Arts Centre. However, the Arts Centre was very supportive and has partnered with Frostbite on their Friday night performance: the musical duo Kane and Potvin.

Ticket holders to the Kane and Potvin show will have Friday access to the Frostbite acts at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, and Friday ticket holders to Frostbite will have the same privilege at the Arts Centre show. (Ed. note: A preview of the Kane and Potvin show can be found in this issue of What’s Up Yukon.)

The organizers are also looking forward to the new date. “Frostbite has traditionally been on the third weekend of February, but we’re now two weekends later,” Scott said. “It gives us more light and is warmer. It lets us do more. For example, we will have the firepit going at the cultural centre and people can go outside.”

Tickets are available at Arts Underground. A full list of performers and contact information Frostbite can be found on their website,

Frostbite has gone back to what works