Vikki Quocksister was still booking mainstage performers for Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous the week before the festival’s kick-off, but, after six years of being in charge of the stage, she was pretty calm about the last-minute confirmations.
“I find that part of the beauty of Rendezvous is the struggle,” she said. “When things are too easy, is it really a Yukon thing?”
And with the mainstage performances taking place indoors this year, one of the most difficult pieces of the Rendezvous puzzle is off her plate – trying to figure out how to keep everyone comfortable in an outdoor tent.
The cold isn’t always the main concern – though a concert at 30 below needs more than just a couple heat lamps. Believe it or not, sometimes Rendezvous has the opposite problem. If it’s even a little bit warmer, the combination of weather and dancing bodies can make the mainstage tent a gooey, wall-sweating mess. So moving indoors will be a bonus in terms of temperature regulation,
“(Being inside) is definitely a change and I hope that people embrace it,” said Quocksister, noting that Yukoners are a pretty adaptable bunch, and she thinks the move to the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre is going to be one they’re excited about.
“It may be the way of the future or maybe we’ll go back,” she said. “It can’t hurt to try.”
Some of the performers that have confirmed for the mainstage shows, which take place from Friday, Feb. 22 to Sunday, Feb. 24, include local acts such as Paris Pick and the Pricks, the Midnight Sons, Shagadelica and Roxx Hunter. There’s also going to be a lot of dancing, including the Rendezvous debut for the junior can-can line, which will appear along with the standard can-can line.
Quocksister is also excited to have the Whitehorse Chamber Choir, which is something new for the festival. Another brand-new addition, not just to Rendezvous, but to the Yukon’s musical landscape is the Kwanlin Dün First Nation Traditional Song and Dance group. Quocksister said she’s excited to have booked the group, which was established in 2018.
On top of that, there will be performances from standard Rendezvous favourites including the Snowshoe Shufflers, as well as a diversity of music from the all-city jazz band, Man from El Dorado, Swing Street and the Royal Canadian Artillery Soul Band Orchestra. The weekend will even see its own supergroup when Fiddelium – a B.C.-based band – appears onstage with the Yukon’s Fiddleheads, creating, for one day only, a 40-piece fiddle band.
The performances will be emceed by a handful of hosts (some yet-to-be-confirmed) including MP Larry Bagnell, city of Whitehorse councillor Jan Stick, musician Rick Sward and more.
Quocksister said the daytime events, which run from 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. to about 5 p.m., depending on the day, won’t be licensed, but the evening events will be. These include the lip sync competition and the queen crowning.
For the full schedule, visit YukonRendezvous.com.