Standout artists from years past will return to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Folk on the Rocks this summer.

The festival board made the first of line up announcements in a news release on Thursday and what people can expect at this year’s annual musical event on the shores of Long Lake, July 17 to 19.

Joel Plaskett performed at the Beer Gardens at the Folk on the Rocks in 2016. He will be returning this year with his band The Emergency.
NNSL file photo

East coast indie rocker Joel Plaskett will take the main stage for the first time since playing in 2016 with his band The Emergency.

Children’s entertainer Fred Penner and last year’s sleeper hit, 11-year-old DJ Kilo November, will also be returning to grace the festival.

Hip hop artist and 2019 Polaris Prize winner Haviah Mighty will be making another key appearance. An additional early announcement to watch, RIIT, is a “Nunavut-based singer who blends traditional Northern sounds with a captivating contemporary flare,” according to a Folk on the Rocks news release.

Celeigh Cardinal, a Metis singer-songwriter from Northern Alberta, will also make the trek to Yellowknife for the festival. Beyond that, and for any attendees looking to dance, British Columbia’s Shred Kelly and Toronto’s Lemon Bucket Orkestra will appear.

The latter “is the act you want to see if a sousaphone gets your feet tapping,” according to the news release.

The rest of the line-up will be announced on March 19 and April 2, while early bird tickets are on sale until May 10th.

“We suggest the community get those early-bird tickets because it is such an amazing deal,” said Sarah Frey, marketing manager for the festival. “The best thing you can do support arts is to buy your tickets and buy early.”

Frey said Yellowknifers can expect bigger acts to be rolled out at those future dates.

“Because it is the 40th anniversary we want to make sure it hits it out of the park and also that we are giving thanks to residents for their ongoing support,” Frey said. “Forty years is a big thing and we are so proud and honoured to have existed in this community for this long.”

Frey said the event will be a line up with “recognizable” acts that try to evoke some of the “best memories” among festival-goers from the last 10 years.

“All of the biggest and best of the past few years,” she added.

“There are more acts to be announced and probably about three or four big Canadian names to come, for sure.”

Frey said there will be an attempt to “extend arts beyond music” and try to ensure that the festival site celebrates past stories and experiences at the festival and how it has complemented life in the city.

“There are more details to come and all celebrating stories and what folk means to the community and memories made in the community,” she said. “We have heard stories of people getting engaged or meeting people at our festival.”

Frey said food vendor applications will open the first week of April and proposals will be accepted from the community based on space and diversity and the festival’s overall direction.

– with files from Simon Whitehouse

Nick Pearce

Nick Pearce is a writer and reporter in Yellowknife, looking for unique stories on the environment and people that make up the North. He's a graduate of Queen's University, where he studied Global Development...

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