In what has been two weeks full of concerning news, we are excited to be able to provide our patrons with some very good, and very exciting news. At this time, Folk On The Rocks is optimistic that we will be able to move ahead for our 40th Anniversary festival on July 17-19, 2020. At the time of writing, the risk of COVID-19 is low in our community, and we are confident that the current social-distancing precautions being taken will have alleviated in time for Folk On The Rocks this July. That being said, our staff and board are closely monitoring the situation with the health and safety of our patrons and artists being top of mind, and we are prepared to take direction from the Northwest Territories Public Health Officer closer to festival season. In the event that Folk On The Rocks 2020 is cancelled due to COVID-19, patrons would receive an automatic refund on their ticket.
For the 40th Anniversary of Folk On The Rocks, the board and selections committee have been determined to make this year bigger and better than ever. For this reason, we are beyond excited to this second wave of artists that we'll be welcoming to our stage this July 17-19, 2020.
First up, we are proud to announce one of the North’s biggest acts: PIQSIQ. Hailing from Nunavut’s Kitikmeot and Kivalliq Regions, sisters Tiffany Kuliktana Ayalik and Kayley Inuksuk Mackay, come together to create a powerful Inuit style throat singing duo. Performing ancient traditional songs and eerie new compositions, they leave their listeners enthralled with the infinity of possible answers to the question “what is the meaning of life.”
Track to check out: Akuglugu: Then You Stir
Continuing on some of the best from the North, we’re excited to welcome NWT’s own, Digawolf. 2019 has been a great year for Digawolf. Coming off the release of their all-new album “Yellowstone”, Digawolf was JUNO nominated for Indigenous Artists of the Year. Inspired by his Tlicho culture, Diga’s music is fused with the land and culture of Canada’s North.
Track to check out: Northern Love Affair
We can say with the utmost confidence that it would not be Folk On The Rocks without kicking up some sand while we dance. In that spirit, we know Yellowknife will be moving to the fantastic sounds of Delhi 2 Dublin. The beautifully supercharged complexity of their sound flows from high-level folk and alternative-pop, blended and delivered across an array of acoustic instruments—dhol, tabla, violin, guitar—and electronic beats——and immersed in smart, heavy, sometimes gritty, and almost invariably joyful beats.
Track to dance in your kitchen to: TumbiWOW
Hailing from Canada’s east coast, we are also welcoming Mo Kenney this year. Her second album “In My Dreams” hit the Canadian indie music scene hard with hits like “Telephone”, and “I Faked It” getting her ample radio play on CBC. With her third album, The Details, Mo Kenney traces her own strange, devastating, and ultimately hopeful trip through the trials and tribulations of booze-fuelled breakdowns, clouds of depression, and disintegrating relationships. On each of its 14 tracks, she unflinchingly confronts her annihilation and eventual redemption, leaving nothing out.
Track to check out: Telephones (trust us, major earworm)
Ramping up to one of our headlining acts, Folk On The Rocks is ecstatic to welcome North: Donovan Woods and the Opposition. Perhaps without even knowing it, Woods has explored that feeling with quiet grace throughout his celebrated career, starting with his 2009 debut, The Hold Up. On his latest song, “Grew Apart” (released on March 6), Woods lays bare yet again his penchant for showing us the soft underbelly of love’s vagaries. Throughout his career, Woods paints his themes – of heartache and joy, connection and redemption – in such vivid hues that we all see ourselves in his narratives.
Track to check out: Truck Full of Money
And finally, the act that we are the most excited for, as we’re sure will also be felt by our festival-goers, Canadian Icons: Tegan and Sara. Tegan and Sara have accomplished what few Canadian acts have managed to do: make it in America. They are international icons, recognized for their chart-topping hits, and for the contribution to 2014’s The Lego Movie title track “Everything is AWESOME!!!”. Since hitting the Canadian music scene in 1999, the duo has gone on to win multiple JUNO awards, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, and received a Grammy nomination in 2013. Tegan and Sara are icons in their own right, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to rock out to them under the midnight sun.
Track to check out: Where Does the Good Go
Additional performers that we're excited to welcome to the Folk On The Rocks stage include: Northcote, Jay Gilday, Dawson City's Joey O'Neil, Ponteix – presented by Association Franco Culturelle de Yellowknife (AFCY), Yellowknife's Miranda Currie, Kelly McLeod and Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife.
Special thanks to Folk On The Rocks’ dedicated mainstage sponsors: Canadian North Airlines. For the friends and family who have been waiting for an excuse to visit the Great White North, the 40th Anniversary lineup is truly something you don’t want to miss.
Further thanks to our dedicated sponsors and funders: 62 Degrees North, Cabin Radio, Canada Council for the Arts, CANNOR, City of Yellowknife, DT Electric, Field Law, Government of Northwest Territories - Department of Investment, Tourism, and Industry, Heritage Canada, NWT Arts Council, and Yellowknife Community Foundation.