The long-awaited Folk on the Rocks weekends opens today, Friday July 16, with several acts throughout the day leading into the main festival lineup on Saturday and Sunday.

Carly McFadden, executive director for the festival this year said that after FOTR was suspended last year and as the event takes place in the dwindling weeks and months of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be several unique features that people can look forward to.

The weekend will see 38 musical acts this year on five stages. Five of those performers – the Jerry Cans, Cartel Madras, Partner, Celeigh Cardinal and Joey O’Neil – are from outside of the territory.

The Warm the Rocks event opens festival weekend at Somba K’e Civic Plaza on Friday at noon and will run to 8 p.m., featuring Abe Drennan, Joey O’Neil, Land and Heart Yoga, Noah Giang, Miranda Currie and Jay Gilday.

The show will continue at the Long Lake site at 8 p.m. and include Laurie Sarkadi, Partner, The Jerry Cans and will close with DJ Flora, Sunaïra and Puppy.

Among the unique acts that will take place on Friday night will include Glam on the Rocks at 10:15 p.m. a first time Folk on the Rocks version of Brrrlesque.

Kayla Cooper, organizer and performer said most are excited about performing the festival’s iteration.

“It is a six-act show and there are eight performers and really it kind of just fell together,” Cooper said. “Brrrlesque has never happened before at Folk on the Rocks and so we think this is exciting.

“Performers that people will see have performed in Brrrlesque before in Yellowknife which is great and should make it a lot of fun.”

The lineup of stage performers will include Wanda Weisswurst, Handsy Coppafeel, Lee Van Cleevage, Stella Gams, Lucy Caboose, Jolie Fromage, Detention Donna, Georgette Silhouette and Coop D’étatas.

The Friday night schedule had been slightly reschedule this week after it was revealed on July 13 that performer Young Dene was being taken off the bill due to allegations by the festival of sexual interference.

McFadden refused to comment on the issue on Thursday and reference to the allegations were removed from Facebook and the festival’s web page by Friday morning.

NNSL Media attempted to reach Young Dene through his booking agent but could not contact him by press time.

Saturday will see a whole lineup all day of events starting shortly after with the main act being Cartel Madras at 10:45 p.m. at the Canadian North Main Stage.

Other acts throughout the day on Saturday will include the Yellowknives Dene Drummers, Miranda Currie, One North Recordings Showcase, Rainbow Coalition with Partner, Kilo November, Patrick Jacobson, Jimmy T and the Sociables, Joey O’Neil, Bella Beats, Lana Gilday, Remords de Renards, Ciaran Whittle, Grace Clark, Wesley Archie Peter Hardisty, Quantum Haze, Flora and the Fireweeds, Partner, Ryan McCord, Leela and Jay Gilday, Celeigh Cardinal, Crook the Kid and Cynergii.

On Sunday, the festival grounds will open at 12:30 p.m. with acts all day and the main act being the Jerry Cans at 10 p.m. at the Canadian North Main Stage.

Other acts throughout the day will include the NWT Creative Collective, Aurora Fiddle Society, Abe Drennan, Miranda Currie, Taiga Yoga, Quantum Haze, DJ Flora Sunaira and Puppy, Absurd Turd Media Presents Big Folkin’ Laughs, Grace Clark, Baby Brian, Kilo November, Remords De Renards, Laurie Sarkadi, Carmen Braden, Celeigh Cardinal, Andrea Bettger, Jay Gilday, Leela Gilday.

The event will close with a performance by the Yellowknives Dene Drummers.

More information and the full schedule lineup can be found on the Folk on the Rocks 2021 app.

Artisan and Non-Profit Vendors

Many artists will also be on display that will include new tables with Beaded Little Things, Mermaid and Moon and Aurora Clay Boutique, Rita’s- Arts & Crafts, Twin Otter Clothing Company, John Sawyer Designs, Wild Creative Studio, and RKV Blades from Inuvik.

Beaded Little Things, Taiga Blossom, Yakeleya Creations, Maybe Somewhere and Gerri Sharpe.

Music NWT, the Green Party of Canada and the NWT Outstanding Volunteer Awards will also have a presence.

McFadden said that throughout the weekend, artist Maddy Tetreault will be developing mural painting throughout the weekend across from the Beer Garden.

“The live mural painting will be happening throughout the festival starting on Saturday, up near the beer garden and the vendor tents. It will be completed and ready for festival goers to take photos in front of it by noon on Sunday,” Tetreault said.

“The idea behind the live mural painting is to give the public the chance to watch a large scale piece of art happening from start to finish. It gives them an idea of what goes into the process of creating and is also something more visual to watch at the festival.”

Festival-goers will also get to see a new mural painted by Tetreault on the main stage, which is a work commissioned by Canadian North to celebrate its 75th anniversary and which depicts northern sunsets.

Food vendors

McFadden said there there will be nine food vendors this year, which is lower than past years that have seen between 11 and 14. However, she said there should be a great selection of bites with new offerings from The Mantle Food Truck, Ace’s Specialty Catering and Cai’s Kitchen. Booster Juice will also have a new presence.

Other familiar favourites will include One of a Thai, Big Guy Fries and Wrap and Roll.

Although rain was heavy on Thursday, the rest of the weekend was looking clear weather-wise as of press time, with sunny skies predicted on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to Environment Canada.

McFadden said the festival has about 350 volunteers but could use about 50 more, including in areas at the Beer Garden, for ticketing and to provide safety through the SubArctic Safety Squad.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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