Folk on the Rocks is an incredible music festival that takes place in gorgeous Yellowknife. It has an amazing schedule spanning two full days and five stages. It is an incredible opportunity to discover new music and to visit another part of Canada’s beautiful landscape.

I have the unique opportunity of being able to visit Yellowknife from time to time, as I have a brother that is firmly entrenched up there. This will be my second time to the now 37 year old music festival – Folk on the Rocks (FOTR).

My first day at the event was on a bit of a tight schedule however; the single engine prop plane that was supposed to pick me up from the fly-in cabin and have me back in Yellowknife no later than 11:30am, showed up at 1pm.

Dene Drummers. Folk on the Rocks 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

So, after a quick hose-off and a change into something that didn’t smell like fish, off I went to catch the last bit of the Dene Drummers opening prayer for FOTR.

Folk on the Rocks has an amazing schedule spanning two full days and five stages. This includes a L’il Folkers stage for the young’uns as well. Several of the bands will play on at least two of those 5 stages throughout the weekend. So if you miss someone on day one, there is a really good chance to see them the next day on a different stage.

The Dead South. Folk on the Rocks 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

There was maybe a half dozen bands I didn’t get to see, so if you can’t find the band in my photos, I have included the 30+ artist lineup below for your Internet searching pleasure.

Top 5 picks-
The Rest of ‘em-
  • SHAD
  • City and Colour
  • Jason Collett
  • Operators
  • The Pack A.D.
  • Elephant Stone
  • The Bushman NT
  • Megan Nash + Bears in Hazenmore
  • Digawolf
  • Chocolat
  • Moe Clark
  • Scary Bear Soundtrack
  • Earthbound Trio
  • Nadia Gaudet + Jason Burnstick
  • Ava Wild
  • Boots and The Hoots
  • Justin Nozuka
  • Rellik
  • Priscilla’s Revenge
  • Ukes of Hazard
  • Nick Jackson
  • Cynergii
  • Veronica Johnny
  • YK Throat Singers
  • Miraj featuring Taiga Yoga
  • Bella Dance Academy
  • NWT Creative Collective Special Showcase
  • Youth Showcase presented by Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife
  • Yellowknife Dene Drummers

There are a number of bands that were in competition for my top 5 choices, so please check out the others, if not all of them, when you get a chance.

Shad gave a good performance and energized the crowd that was there to see him – it just seemed out of place at a folk music festival. But to be fair – Ottawa’s Blues Fest hosts heavy metal bands, so who am I to judge.

Shad. Folk on the Rocks 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

City and Colour, a.k.a. Dallas Green, did a fine acoustic set. Maybe a bit slow, but the lounging crowd soaked it all in.

City and Colour. Folk on the Rocks 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

After Dallas, the Dene Drummers came out again to close out the festival with a drum prayer that had everyone stomping up clouds of dust. With that in mind, I would also like to point out the festival was originally on rocks, hence the name, but has since been covered over in this wonderful beach sand. It looks nice until you find yourself snorking it out of your nose 2 days later.

Yellowknife, Long Lake Beach. Folk on the Rocks 2017. Photo by Dale Sinclair

Aside from the sand, it is an amazing event. You would be hard pressed to not find at least one new artist that you could fall in love with. Next year will predictably be the same, with lots of local talent and bands from across Canada that will undoubtedly grace these stages.

A visit to Yellowknife should be on your list of places to see as well. Not that you need an excuse with all of outdoor activities Yellowknife has to offer, but this festival just makes for a really good excuse to go.