Meet Jordi Mikeli-Jones — a renaissance woman. She is the owner of the popular Triple J’s Music, Tattoos and Piercing. She is president of Kona’s Coalition, a non-profit organization that works towards improving animal welfare in the Yukon. She was the first female resident DJ in Whitehorse, and she is the founder and promoter of the annual Sunstroke Music Festival, which runs this year on June 13.
This year is extra special; it’s the final year for Sunstroke. But not all is lost.
Since its creation in 2005, proceeds from the festival have raised more than $80,000 towards the care of abandoned or injured animals. “Sunstroke is important because it’s the only music festival in Whitehorse which donates all of its proceeds to charity,” MikeliJones says. “The first six years raised money for the Humane Society, then $10,000 was raised for the Humane Society Dawson. After, the proceeds went to Kona’s coalition.”
Aside from the large contributions to animal charities, the festival itself has undergone major transformations.
The first Sunstroke had about 600 people turn up. The 2014 version saw over 2000 festivalgoers. As a result, more tents and stages were erected in the Shipyards Park area, giving it a Woodstock-like appearance.
Planning such a large festival takes a lot of time, and Mikeli-Jones is completely committed. “We start planning a year in advance, and our success is hugely dependent upon the amazing family of volunteers who come out every year.” Sunstroke also showcases some serious talent. Performers come from all over, and selecting from applicants is always tough for Mikeli-Jones. “In 2011 we had over 1300 applicants from over 20 countries.” Not too shabby for a small town in the North.
This year, the headline acts will be Bob Log III, based out of Arizona and Australia, Ryan McNally and His Red Hot Ramblers, and repeat performers, The Whiskeydicks, who deliver Celtic rock music. A total of 10 bands will take to the stage this year.
The venue for Sunstroke 2015 will be the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre. This is an all ages event, but there will be a beer garden set up outside for the adults. For those who are really in the festival spirit, there will also be a Yukon Brewing obstacle course. For those who arrive early, free t-shirts and stickers will be given out.
Tickets are $30 at the door or at Triple J’s. Children 12 and under are free but must be accompanied with an adult.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. on June 13 — Yukon’s Birthday — and the festival goes until 2 a.m.
What does life after Sunstroke have in store for Mikeli-Jones?
She plans to take a break from producing music festivals and looks forward to spending time with her daughter, Blue, and introducing her to other music festivals. Of course MikeliJones will also remain focused with her role as president of Kona’s Coalition. In the end, after the last song has been sung, it’s all about the animals and what we can do to give back.