The Music Fest Two-Step

Are you ready?

Have you done your lunges?

Assembled a method of attack?

Bought your tickets?

Studied the various MySpace sites?

Another music-festival month has arrived in the Yukon and, while you don’t necessarily need to be a yoga master or have a stringent preparedness plan, it is highly recommended.

After all, you don’t want to pull any muscles darting from venue to venue; or worse yet, find out that while you were eating lunch, your favourite artist was leading musicians in a workshop belting out acoustic cover songs within the halls of a historic building.

The recent Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival is an excellent example.

For one, it sold-out in mid-January, meaning if you missed the “purchase-tickets train” you were left on tenterhooks hoping for a festival pass-holder to not show.

Or riskier yet, forced to arrange for a late-night congregation behind the giant muffin for some good old-fashioned ticket-scalping – Haines Junction style.

But even as a much-coveted ticket holder, you are still tasked with trying to get a seat at cozy venues such as the St. Elias Convention Centre or the intimate wooden church.

I fell victim, myself, this year, to poor time management, electing for a morning pick-me-up, courtesy of Bean North, over a seat at the church.

And while I was still able to listen to the music from the front steps as I enjoyed my Americano, it wasn’t quite the same as being squished together on a pew, listening to bluegrass female vocalist of the year, Dale Ann Bradley, belt out Tom Petty’s Won’t Back Down, while backed by a local choir.

Do not get me wrong … I love venue-hopping, and it is what makes Yukon music festivals so unique, but it also makes for quite the challenge if you have a number of performers you are eager to check out.

You see, rather then cram all the acts into one arena with the same stage, the same acoustics and the same backdrop, local organizers opt for more-unique locales.

And that is where preparation becomes so key.

As the popularity of the various Yukon music festivals gets out more and more, big-name acts are vying to be involved … hence the dilemmas.

Do I go with the heritage venue or the chart topper under the big tent?

Gospel jams or rock-ballad workshop?

The choices are not easy.

That is why a visit to the respective festival websites, early on, is essential along with the purchase of a program and a reliable highlighter.

After all, you wouldn’t hike the Chilkoot in stilettos, nor should you embark on the festival scene ill-prepared.

And for those of age, it is best to properly time your visits to the beer garden because, once you enter, you most likely will embark on numerous conversations which, combined with the consumption of wobbly pops, can result in the uttering of that infamous, yet oh-so-common statement of, “What! They already played?”

This all sounds funny, but make no joke: when it comes to music festivals in the North, it can be an all-out war.

Kluane Bluegrass, Sunstroke, Atlin, Dawson City … it doesn’t matter.

The tickets will sell out, the merchandise will sell out and most likely the beer will sell out, too.

Consider yourself warned and make like a boy scout.

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