Folk (and more) on the Rocks

Folk (and more) on the Rocks
Rae Spoon performs a solo set on the main stage during Folk on the Rocks 2011.Photo courtesy of

The people behind the North’s largest music festival expect a good turnout after the release of its official lineup for the 2012 festival, but more acts will be added to the list before tickets go on sale in May.

Folk on the Rocks has released a list of 23 solo performers and bands that will perform at the 32nd annual festival on July 19-22 near Long Lake in Yellowknife. Voted in 2010 as one of the top 10 festivals in Canada by CBC Searchlight, the festival annually attracts 4,000-5,000 people, with an all-time high of 5,400 music-lovers when Sam Roberts hit the stage in 2009.

The line-up includes folk/rock singer Bruce Cockburn, singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, Brooklin, Ontario-based blues/folk band Timber Timbre and Toronto-based indie pop band Ohbijou, which executive director Penny Ruvinsky said tends to draw crowds. Performers are a 50/50 mix of southerners and those from North of 60, including acts who have appeared in previous years and ones new to the festival.

“We get some wonderful names up here,” Ruvinsky said.

MCs have yet to be announced, and there are still a few acts currently negotiating to appear at the festival. Confirmed performers include returning acts Wesley Hardisty, Washboard Hank and the Corn Pickles, Pura Fé, Indio Saravanja, Grey Gritt and Snake People.

Between 12-18 of the slated performers will be invited to construct a 45-60-minute set that will be performed one time only on the main stage after opening on Saturday.
“It’s a really popular piece for both the performers and the audience,” Ruvinsky said.

A great thing for audiences, she said, is people showing up to see a favourite act and leaving with a new favourite band or solo performer. The multi-genre aspect of the festival gives attendees a lot of music to check out. Folk on the Rocks released the line-up a month earlier than usual so music fans can plan ahead.

“We’ve got a bit of everything, and it’s going to draw in the folks,” Ruvinsky said.

Early bird ticket sales will be available online ( from May 1-13 and at the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce Spring Trade Show on May 12-13. Advance tickets go on sale on May 14 online and at Fiddles & Stix in Yellowknife.

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