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Folk on the Rocks 2021 is happening; here's what you might expect

Meaghan Richens/NNSL photo. A sign from Folk on the Rocks 2018.
A sign from Folk on the Rocks 2018. NNSL file photo.

Over the last 12 months, Yellowknifers have watched festival after festival, event after event, be cancelled, postponed or face drastic adjustments. 

The possibility of outdoor celebrations this summer is still conceivable. One such festival – the longstanding and renowned Folk on the Rocks (FOTR) – is committed to delivering a weekend of music. 

Folk on the Rocks, the well-known Yellowknife summer music festival, is committed to running a weekend of concerts this July, one way or another. NNSL file photo

FOTR is set to take place July 16-18. Though what exactly this year’s FOTR will look like is yet to be determined, organizers have announced that some version of the festival will proceed, one way or another.  

Executive director Carly McFadden said FOTR's board is hoping to celebrate this year’s concert weekend with the same lineup that was set for the event's 40th anniversary in 2020.

Names like Tegan & Sara, The Jerry Cans, Digawolf, Kilo November, and dozens of others booked for last year’s cancelled event have been rebooked, pending public health’s green light. 

McFadden said the team should know more about the likelihood of hosting out-of-town performers by May. 

As numbers on vaccine uptake continue to climb in the NWT and across the country, she said another consideration would be to have a Northern music festival if the three territories were to form a travel bubble. 

“It might not be as big, but the point is to get together,” McFadden said of the 16-month viral disruption as of this coming July. “We’re ready to celebrate with everyone after a long year and a half." 

Based on the timing and the fact that the festival is outdoors, she said organizers are confident that some version of the festival will go ahead, although the group is still in talks with the Department of Health and Social Services (HSS). 

Following its annual general meeting in December, FOTR announced that the festival would be a go and put early-bird tickets up for sale until May. McFadden said sales are still plugging away, though demand is understandably not on par with previous years. 

Acknowledging that some people may be hesitant to buy tickets, organizers promised refunds “in the unlikely event we do have to postpone due to Covid-19.”

Ticket prices range from $75 for a youth or senior day pass to $400 for VIP weekend passes, with adult weekend passes priced at $130. 

In its announcement, the FOTR team said that since many members of the community have been financially impacted by the pandemic, those hoping to attend who may not have full-priced tickets in their budget, can inquire about obtaining tickets at reduced price at

“We’re really proud of the way that the North and the GNWT has handled themselves in the last year,” McFadden said. “It speaks volumes to the level of love and care this community has for each other.

We’re really proud to call Yellowknife home and are really looking forward to being in the sun and the sand, whatever that looks like.”