Festival season is in full swing, and every weekend sees crowds descending on another Yukon community for a bit of all-night sun revelry. My personal favourite, and often my only festival of the summer, is the Atlin Arts and Music Festival.

This year’s festival had an impressive array of food vendors who seemed to be doing a booming business.

Grueling late nights to service the drungry (drunk and hungry) merry-makers, and hugely busy spurts between the big acts in the main tent, didn’t stop most of them from smiling out from under their awnings as I walked by, perusing menus. For me, it’s mostly window shopping.

Some of my friends take festivals as an excuse to do absolutely no cooking and to indulge in every culinary offering proffered.

I have very much enjoyed this route in the past, but this time around I opted for doing some prep at home to try and avoid the tempting carts and save a bit of money for CDs. With only one festival a year, I had to get my brain to rehearse all the possible hunger scenarios.

The Quick Sustain

For those short breaks between bands you don’t want to miss, or when you only have a few minutes while someone else covers a volunteer post, things that require no prep are ideal. Homemade granola bars are my favourites here.

The “Where did you get that?”

Take-out that can be made at the campsite and then transported to the music tent; stuff that looks so good everyone around you is craning their necks to try and figure out which vendor you went to.

In Atlin this one was my ‘sushi rolls’ of nori wrapped tightly around packed greens, wasabi mayo, fresh basil, cucumbers and home-smoked fish, eaten like a burrito. Bonus points for smugness, but can be a little messy. Bring napkins.


For hanging out at the campsite, it’s great to have homemade snacks to share. Crackers made in the dehydrator with hummus or pesto are alternatives to the ubiquitous chips and salsa; popcorn is also a hit and can be whipped up oh-so-quickly on a campstove provided you bring a big enough pot. And of course you’ll be welcome at every campfire if you bring a pie.

The Late Night Gourmet

Whether or not you’ve been indulging in anything besides the heady energy of music, lakes and mountains, the late night return to camp after the last band is a key mindset to remember when packing food.

This is often when I find myself most tempted by the delicious smorgasbord of carts, and only the foreknowledge of a fantastically satisfying meal gets me out of the grounds with my wallet intact.

This year grilled cheese with kale and salami on homemade sourdough bread easily took home the prize.

The Brekkie

This is one meal I often miss with volunteer gigs coming much too early in the morning. The stovetop espresso maker gets to shine in the bleary period between rolling out of my tent and checking out my radio, and a muffin is usually as elaborate as I get.

However, if you have the wherewithal to do proper breakfast I have it on good authority that a skillet of eggs from your own chickens, decked out with garden veg and smoked trout, might be just what the doctor ordered.

A slightly fizzy rosehip-rhubarb soda makes a great pick-me-up, on the off chance you need it.

Happy festival-hopping!