Counting down to the Buffy Sainte-Marie concert that will be the prologue to this year’s Dawson City Music Festival, producer/artistic director Tim Jones is feeling very satisfied with what he and the board have assembled for this year’s event.
“I’m really happy about the lineup,” he says. It’s the first one I’ve gotten to program myself and I think it’s a really accessible festival this year. We’re not trying to be arty or weird or alternative. We’re trying to make people as happy as we can.”
The lineup isn’t necessarily mainstream or commercial. It’s not all bands people know, but Jones is convinced it’s bands that have an appealing live stage show.
“They’re bands people will latch onto immediately. My approach was about the quality of live performance – first and foremost.”
He is also really happy about the board’s commitment to a family friendly event. In this case, booking Fred Penner as the showcase of the Kids Fest shows that.
“Hopefully we’ll get a ton of people in the tent just because Fred Penner is performing at it. I’m really looking forward to seeing the tent at 11 a.m. on Saturday with more families than usual and the 20- and 30-somethings that grew up with him.
“We’re talking about the possibility of fashioning some kind of hollow log on stage for all our acts to enter through.”
Jones is pleased that the current DCMF board has shown such a commitment to both the present year and the future of the organization. After 32 years of festivals, many of the founders are closing in on or have reached the age the Beatles used to worry about when they sang “Will you still need me? Will you still feed me?“
“This is the youngest board we’ve had in some time,” Jones said (and since at least one of them is a former student of mine, I know he’s right).
The festival prepared a strategic plan in April and now has more of a sense of what it wants to be: not necessarily bigger or more famous; definitely home grown; part of the larger effort that markets Dawson to the world.
“The drive to be recognized is so that Dawson will be recognized,” Jones tells me. “This allows me to focus less on being ‘cool’ and on making sure the people I see every day have a really fun weekend.”
Musical highlights should include JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound from Chicago; Coolooloosh a hip hop/jazz/fusion band from Tel Aviv; and there are 10 Yukon acts, most of whom have not been on the stage in those particular configurations before.
“There’s so much freshness in the Yukon music scene right now,” Jones says, noting that familiar faces will mostly be serving in the interests of the new talent.
An outline of the festival program can be downloaded from the DCMF website at www.dcmf.com/schedule.html. The programs will be available during the festival.
You can only buy tickets online through the festival website, though there may be some left over at the box office during the weekend.