Two hours south of Whitehorse, in the very northwest corner of British Columbia, an historic gold-rush town swells from 400 people to over 3,500 for just three three days of the year, as the picturesque town of Atlin holds its annual arts and music festival.
The Yukon News has called the Atlin Arts & Music Festival “a bursting jambuster of sights and sounds.” Tanya Tagaq, Gord Downie, the Sadies, David Fancey, Colin Linden, Danny Michel, Dave Bidini, David Lindly, Stephen Fearing, Tom Jackson and David Grisman have performed to enthusiastic audiences in recent years.
The musical lineup is always diverse, and has included Inuit throat singers, jazz, First Nations singers, traditional Quebecois music, bluegrass, zydeco, blues, folk, gospel, world-tech funk, and even heavy metal. Poets, dancers, storytellers, filmmakers, and visual artists are a major feature of the weekend’s festivities. This diversity of artistic presentations makes Atlin stand out from a multitude of music festivals. Children and adults alike can participate in numerous workshops, exhibitions, demonstrations, and interactive opportunities, making the Atlin Arts & Music Festival a fun weekend for all types of visitors. Children’s performers and events maintain the safe, family-friendly atmosphere, while camping, dancing, and a busy beer garden means that adults will have a great time too.
Opening the festival each year, the Taku River Tlingit First Nation welcomes festivalgoers with traditional drumming and dancing. As a close to the festival, the Taku Kwaan Dancers, all musicians, and the entire audience join together in a moving celebration of traditional First Nations and contemporary songs. Nature provides the greatest scene of all at the festival—set on the shore of Atlin Lake, and surrounded by snow capped mountains, the festival’s gorgeous setting means attendees have quick and easy access to B.C.’s largest natural lake, where fish and wildlife abound. With beautiful scenery and a lineup stocked with world-class musicians and artists, The Atlin Arts & Music Festival guarantees an experience you’ll remember for a lifetime.