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1990 headliner back in 2013
Grapes of Wrath announced as main performer at Folk on the Rocks

Nicole Garbutt
Northern News Services

It has been 23 years since Tom Hooper and band The Grapes of Wrath were in Yellowknife. One thing he noted last time he was here was how small the trees are. While they may still be small compared to the rest of Canada, the city's love for Folk on the Rocks Music Festival is not.

NNSL photo/graphic

Grapes of Wrath circa 1985. The folk rock band, made up of Tom Hooper, Chris Hooper and Kevin Kane, is scheduled to headline the Folk on the Rocks music festival for the second time. The band last played Yellowknife in 1990. - photo courtesy

The Grapes of Wrath, a folk rock band originally from Kelowna BC headlined the festival in 1990 and is back to do it again for the festival this summer.

Hooper said the experience last time, was great. "We had a great gig and met some awesome people," he said.

"I remember going to a bush party on the rocks. It was pretty awesome, the sun didn't go down. It's one of those things you hear about but never think you'll experience."

The Grapes of Wrath is scheduled to be joined at the festival by Toronto singer-songwriter Hayden and Vancouver-based indie band Hey Ocean!

"It will be one of those festivals that, when people walk away, their favourites will be people they never heard of before," said Folk on the Rocks executive director Penny Ruvinsky.

The Grapes of Wrath had a long period of popularity and success in the early 1990s. Since the last appearance in Yellowknife, the band has released three albums, including a new recording called High Road just a few weeks ago.

"We received an offer from Aporia Records in Toronto, who took a chance on us and signed us based on our name," said Hooper. "It was a great leap of faith from them but we recorded last April or May and have been having good success from it so far."

Hooper said that Yellowknife fans will be hearing music from this new album but they will play some favourites from years gone by, as well.

"We will be playing all the hits," he said.

Two other bands on the bill for the festival are from Edmonton one named Yes Nice and the other Owls by Nature. George Leach, an aboriginal musician from British Columbia, is expected to perform, as is a band called The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer from Vancouver.

The festival is scheduled to offer no shortage of local talent as well.

Singer-songwriter Natasha Duchene is scheduled to grace the stage, along with band The Poor Choices, Erebus & Terror, Wolfgang, Kelly Clark and a show by the collective,The Orderless Art Movement (B.A.M!).

Visual theme

Ruvinsky said things will be done a bit differently for the festival this year in terms of theme.

"There is no byline this year, it is a visual theme," Ruvinsky said. "The festival stands on its own two feet.

"Folk on the Rocks is about fun, it's about summer, and heat, sand, partying, music. It's about children. You will see it in the visuals.

"The festival grows itself and becomes more standalone."

Folk on the Rocks is scheduled to be held from July 18 to 21. More of the lineup, and the launch of ticket sales, is scheduled to happen at the Yellowknife Spring Trade Show on May 11 and 12.

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