Music, film, burlesque booked for Keno festival


After suffering a series of adverse events over the last two years, the Keno City Music and Film Festival is ready to make a comeback, bigger and better than ever.

The grassroots, volunteer-run Keno festival has been on hold for the last two years due to COVID-19, and has experienced some sad losses in the meantime.

This August will see its return, albeit with a few changes.

“The loss of the Keno City Hotel to fire is a tragic blow to the community and anyone who has visited or spent time in Keno,” said festival coordinator Jonny Klynk.

“While the main festival takes place at the community ball diamond, the Keno hotel was often a hub of activity throughout the weekend and beyond. It will be dearly missed. In the same vein, one of Keno [festival’s] earliest and most ardent supporters, Jean Wikberg, sadly passed away since the last festival and so we are dedicating the 2022 edition to her memory.”

This year, Klynk is looking forward to offering a diverse lineup of music acts from all over the Yukon and beyond, as well as a burlesque performance, “Babes in the Bush,” from Whitehorse’s Cherie Coquette.

This year’s festival will include film and burlesque. (Submitted)

The music itself will span a range of genres, from folk, jazz and easy-listening to rock, hip-hop and electronic. Performers include the Trailer Park Trash Cats, Bria Rose, The Lucky Ones, The Midnight Sons, Calhoun, Caleb Tomlinson, Clout Game, John from Dawson, and many more.

“This year we’re really excited to be bringing back the film portion of the festival, featuring short films from Yukon filmmakers, screened in the Keno Community Rec Centre,” said Klynk.

“We’ll be hosting an opening screening event on Friday night and then having the films on loop throughout the day on Saturday for people to watch at their own leisure.”

As always, the Keno City Music and Film Festival is completely free for all attendees, with all money raised going towards paying the bands and performers. This is part of the festival mandate, and has been since its inception in 2015.

“Besides taking place in a beautiful location and incredible community, Keno is special because of its grassroots, communal nature,” said Klynk. “Our hope for the future of this festival is that it continues to run strong and remain true to this spirit of community and celebration on a grassroots level.”

As in previous years, the main festival grounds and stage will be at the community ball diamond, with live acts playing throughout Friday and Saturday. After the music, attendees are treated to a bonfire and dance, with a communal site cleanup on Sunday morning. There will be a designated area for vendors near the main stage, with camping all around.

Sites are first come first serve, with some options further away from the stage for those who desire a quieter evening experience. Festival volunteers will be on hand to assist with finding a good spot.

While camping is free for everyone, Klynk and the other organizers would like to remind all attendees of a few house rules: “We ask that all attendees bring everything they need to self-sufficiently camp out for the weekend, especially their own water. This is especially important as the town relies on water delivery for drinking water. We ask that attendees are respectful of their neighbours at the festival, in the community, and of the environment. Please do not litter and keep the grounds and town clean. Be kind, keep each other safe and have fun!”

The Keno City Music and Film Festival will take place Aug. 5 to 7 in Keno. Official festival merchandise will be available throughout the weekend, while donations are accepted any time. Those interested in sponsorship can contact kenocitymusicfest@gmail.com.

Anyone wishing to keep up-to-date on festival happenings can visit online through Facebook, Instagram or at keno.lostwarren.com.

Willow Gamberg is the owner of Road Dogs Music Supply and The Lab Rehearsal Studios in downtown Whitehorse.

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