A long-time favourite for local families, the Atlin Arts and Music Festival is an institution. Now in its 11th year, the event draws visitors and performers from across Canada and beyond. 

Taking place July 11 to 13, this year’s festival will feature guest performers like Gord Downie and The Sadies, David Francey, Danny Michel, and Steve Poltz, to name a few. There are also many established Yukon acts on the roster, including Old Cabin, Speed Control, Gordie Tentrees and the Hill Country News, Ryan McNally and more.

As with previous years, there will be visual art and film aspects to the festival.

Producer Kim Winnicky describes a particularly intriguing new art installation: “We have an interactive community art project by Paul and Jeanine Baker, which is a life-sized metal skeleton of a stand-up bass… festival-goers can bring small pieces of metal or wood or whatever they want, and they’ll weld or attach it to the bass, and we’ll have that to display year after year. I think that will be really special.”

For Winnicky, the festival is about community, music, and fun for all ages.

“I love how everyone’s smiling,” she says. “I like the synergy of the huge range of music, then add in art and film to that and it makes something really magic.”

As in previous years, all-ages activities are a focal point; there will be a giant sandbox, and hula hooping and craft workshops, as well as a few new additions. This year will see a youth stage, and an all-ages family writing workshop. 

After a decade of development, the Atlin Music Festival is right where the organizers want it.

“We sort of arrived at this place that we all wanted to get to,” Winnicky explains. “We’ve achieved our goals – we’re making all our ticket sales and maintaining our family-friendly outlook. We love the calibre of talent that we’re attracting in both music art and film components, and we like that families still rate it as one of their favourite events of the year.”

Invariably well attended, the festival sold out very quickly this year — every advance ticket was gone by the middle of June, and there will be no tickets available at the door. 

Winnicky explains that the need to limit tickets arises from sheer containment issues — the small town of 450 people plays host to 2000 more over the weekend, and there is only so much space. 

Luckily, the Atlin Arts and Music Festival has an excellent team of directors and leaders from both Whitehorse and Atlin, which helps to distribute the workload and make things run smoothly.