Sound Check: Picking the Winners at Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival

Friday June 11th to Sunday June 13th, the 8th annual Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival will be held in Haines Junction. The festival will be held in multiple locations around the Junction this year, and will feature events and performances for people of all ages. Ticketed events takesplace in two different locations—the Grand Hall in the St. Elias Convention Centre and the St. Christopher’s Anglican Church, but a number of free events, including jam sessions and workshops, will be held at outdoor venues and in the Village Bakery.

Official weekend passes for Kluane Mountain Bluegrass sold out way back in December 2009, but not to worry—there’s still plenty to do if you missed your chance to snap up tickets. A number of mainstage performers will also perform smaller shows and workshops at free events outside, and the Saturday evening barn-dance and Sunday morning gospel jam session are ticketed first come, first serve at the door.

This years festival will feature some of the best acts in bluegrass music, including Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, the Claire Lynch Band, Blue Highway, and Cody Schuler and Pine Mountain Railroad to name a just few.

Saturday morning, free workshops starting at 10 a.m. will feature performances and instruction on banjo, flat-picking guitar, mandolin, and harmony singing. Sunday morning workshops, also starting at 10 a.m., will focus on bass rhythm guitar and fiddle. The aforementioned gospel jam at St. Christopher’s Church is also a great place to pick up some bluegrass skills. The ticketed event, which begins at 11 a.m. is by-donation, with all proceeds going to the Church. This event is a fan favourite, so be sure to get to the church early to avoid disappointment.

For lucky pass holders, festivities will begin in the Grand Hall of the Convention Centre on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m, starting with a performance from the Yukon’s own Kevin Barr and Blue Eagle. and closing down with a hotly anticipated show from Tennessee’s Blue Highway.

Saturday, performances begin at 10 a.m. and go until midnight. While many performances at the Church and Convention Centre are limited to pass-holders during the day, at 6 p.m. the festival will pull up the chairs in the Grand Hall for a family barn dance, with the Dog Gone String Band, the Bergman Family Band, and Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper providing the entertainment. Free events during the day include Simple Messengers at the Atrium (11 a.m.) and a Showcase Stage at the Village Bakery (12:30 p.m.), which will see local acts compete for a headline spot in next year’s fest.

Sundays performances are set to begin at 10:30 a.m., with Whitehorse-based duo Annie Lou offering a free show at the Atrium. For pass-holder, Sunday offers a great line-up of highly regarded bluegrass acts, including Sierra Hull and Highway 111, Anna Somerville and Marc Ladouceur, Flamekeeper, and Claire Lynch. Blue Highway will closelead the festival finale on the Grand Hall stage at 3 p.m.

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