Cover Me Badd VII is back this summer for another evening of rocking good fun in Dawson City. On June 5, from 7 to 11 p.m., Dawson City Music Festival (DCMF) and the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC) will co-host this evening of music and entertainment.

Emily Farrell, Executive Director of DCMF, emphasizes its inclusiveness. “You don’t need lots of experience to participate,” says Farrell. “Anyone can sign up and that makes it really accessible to everyone.”

The premise is simple. People get a band together. There is no limit to how many members are in a band or what instruments they play. They must then contact KIAC to register. Each of the eight groups must choose two cover songs and be ready to perform them on June 5.

What makes this event so fascinating, says Farrell, is that the bands are a collage of people that don’t usually play together. “It’s an opportunity to see what you normally wouldn’t see in bars,” she says. “These bands probably won’t ever play together again — it’s a once in a lifetime event.”

Farrell also says that considering the circumstances, the quality of the music is impressive. “You wouldn’t know that most of them don’t have a lot of experience.”

Some bands play their songs asis and some turn them into something completely different, she says. But they all take it seriously. And that’s what makes it good quality. “They try to deliver.”

Along with the two cover songs the bands have chosen, they must also learn and perform a third cover song which is assigned to them by the Cover Me Badd organizers.

The bands then have a couple of weeks to work on their assigned cover song. “We look at the type of instruments that are in the band, their style, who the band is, and then we assign something completely different,” says Farrell with a chuckle.

There are usually three judges at the event, chosen by DCMF and KIAC. They have the freedom to make their own criteria for the handful of prizes that are given out.

But the prizes are not the point, says Farrell. “People do it for the challenge, for the excitement of a random song. They also do it for the spirit.”

The names of bands and who’s playing are not advertised before the event. “The appeal is that you never know who’s going to be up there,” she says.

And if the audience doesn’t like a band or their choices of music, it’s over in 15 minutes — about as long as it takes to play three songs. “There’s no risk to the audience,” says Farrell with a smile. “It’s better than the same band all night long in a bar.”

Cover Me Badd is all about trying different things, playing music, and having a good time. But it’s also about the cover songs themselves. “You might not know the people on stage, you might not know the bands, but the audience still recognizes the songs,” says Farrell. “There’s something for everyone.”

Funds raised go towards hiring local musicians for DCMF and KIAC events year-round.

Cover Me Badd VII wil take place on Friday, June 5 at the KIAC ballroom. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.