The Solstice Festival is the Perfect Storm of parties.
It is three festivals – one right after the other – that will keep Shipyards Park booming and bopping from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28.
Kicking things off on Friday will be the fourth annual Sunstroke music festival that will be raising money for Humane Society Yukon.
Then, on Saturday, Association franco-yukonnaise will be bringing the fun side of French culture to Shipyards Park. It is not a Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebration, since that was on the 24th, but the festival doesn’t have a name yet. There is a contest underway to help find one for next year.
On Sunday, the second annual Whitehorse Heritage Festival will showcase many of the different cultures that are found in the Yukon. Each will be celebrated in song and dance … and food.
Each of the Solstice Festival events will be free during the day and families will be encouraged with many activities for children.
There is face painting and a Bouncy Castle along with craft and food vendors.
AFY is adding a French favourite, Pètanque, which is similar to lawn bowling; and Bringing Youth Toward Equality will be offering juggling classes.
Jordi Mikeli-Jones, vice-president of Humane Society Yukon, says a theme of reunification has emerged with her Sunstroke festival.
Local bands, Pegasus Wing and Death in Venice, are getting together again along with Fishhead Stew, formerly of the Yukon.
“I went after Fishhead Stew,” says Mikeli-Jones. “They were all here at the same time.”
More information on Sunstroke can be found in The Yukon Sound, which is on this page.
If there is a theme for AFY’s festival on Saturday, it would be the fact that none of the French performers are from Québec.
“We decided there are so many artists in all of Canada,” said Maryne Dumaine, project manager of AFY’s Cultural Sector.
“We want to promote them and enjoy them.”
They come from near (the Yukon’s Furia Nova, an experimental, reggae-rock band that sings in Spanish, English and French) and they come from far (Damien Robitaille, famous in Ontario for his eclectic styles of music).
“He has family in Dawson City,” says Dumaine, “so we used that to get him here.”
And, from Manitoba, there will be Johnny Cajun, a group that plays Cajun-funk-soul in French and English.
Dumaine says she appreciates seeing more and more non-francophones at the festivals each year.
“Francophone culture is not just for francophones.”
For even more culture, Sunday’s Whitehorse Heritage Festival will showcase dance, music and food from around the world by those who have chosen the Yukon as home.
The food tents include those from Japan, Germany, China, India and possibly Jamaica.
From 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., there will be multi-cultural showcases of each culture.
But the highlight will be children, dressed in traditional clothing of other countries, walking around a world globe and singing a song of unity and peace.
This performance, that includes the globe manufactured by Yukon College, will be first seen the night before at the Yukon Arts Centre.
On this evening, Saturday, there will be welcoming speeches and a fashion show — “The clothing is art in motion,” says Deb Jutra, vice-president of the Whitehorse Heritage Festival Society – beginning at 4 p.m.
Jutra says the decision was made to use the Yukon Arts Centre for its professional sound and lighting.
Schedules and more information on these events can be found in the four-page middle spread of this paper.