A new national musical series showcasing 22 Canadian artists is on the way and Yellowknife will play a role.
From October 2021 to March 2022, a series titled Music from the Edges of Canada will showcase 11 full-production concerts live-streamed into viewers’ homes from four theatres on the edges of Canada.
Yellowknife’s Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC) will be one of those theatres.
Assuming that touring would continue to be limited during the 2021-2022 season, event producers Margot Holmes and Debbie Peters developed Music From the Edges to support Canadian artists with performance opportunities.
The other venues are in Whitehorse, Saint John, N.B., and Campbell River, B.C.
“We’ve got six Maritime artists, we’ve got four from Yellowknife,” Peters said. “We’ve got four in the Yukon, and we’ve got eight in BC. And so those four venues will be not only having the live shows, but they’re all also streaming live shows from from coast to coast to coast … we’ve got 11 concerts, they’re all double bills … then those are going to be pre-recorded and shared out in the live-streaming shows a little bit later in the year. But the concerts are going from October till the end of March.”
The series runs from Oct. 28 to March 27.
Among the scheduled performers are Yellowknife’s Carmen Braden, Digawolf, Andrea Bettger and Wesley Hardisty. Their performances will be streamed on selected dates in February and March.
For Braden, the idea of potentially preforming in front of a live audience again is certainly exciting, especially with the audience existing beyond Yellowknife.
“I can count on one hand the number of live performances I’ve done in the last 18 months,” said Braden. “One of the only ones I got to do last year was on the NACC stage — it was one of their first live-stream concerts that NACC put on.
“I did a bunch of outdoor shows: Folk on the Rocks, farmers markets, and Ramble and Ride, and things like that. But since then it’s been pretty empty in terms of being on a stage,” she said. “So of course I’m excited. It’s kind of special for me too because I like the idea that we’ll get to share it really intimately with my Yellowknife community and then to see it kind of bounce beyond that in February after I’ve done a bunch of different things and cleaned my fridge a couple times. Life goes on and then it has a second life.”
Bettger is also pumped to get back on stage and performing.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I mean, it’s been an interesting ride during the pandemic. With live performances, I do feel fortunate to have been able to perform here at the NACC theatre, though it (was) to limited audiences. I’ve had a chance to perform myself and with other groups, but certainly not as often as pre-pandemic. So, I feel like it’s a really great opportunity to really polish and prepare for a professional concert.”
As with anything during COVID, the possibility of cancellation still exists. This being something that Peters and crew are prepared for with the virtual aspect of the event.
“(COVID is) going to be different in all parts of the country,” she said. “For example, in New Brunswick, up until even two weeks ago or a week ago, they were wide open and so they could have their halls full. Then in B.C., I think it’s a little bit different again right now. In the Yukon, we’re doing not too badly. I’m not sure where it’s sitting at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre as to whether they can have an in-house audience.
“So I think that was why it became really important for us to also have a live-streaming component, so we have that virtual or that digital component to this project so we can go ahead and we can film these artists with or without a live audience.”
For those that get a series pass, not only does it include access to all 11 live-streamed concerts, it also includes 48-hour access to the replay of each concert.
The featured musicians represent all genres of Canadian music including blues, rock, jazz, folk and reggae.
This project employs more than 140 Canadian arts workers.