Music, film, burlesque reserved for the Keno festival

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

The volunteer-run Keno Festival has been suspended for two years due to COVID-19 and has suffered sad losses in the meantime.

This August will see its return, but with some changes.

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

“While the main festival takes place at the community ballpark, the Keno Hotel was often a hub of activity throughout the weekend and beyond. He will be greatly missed. In the same order of ideas, that of Keno [festival’s] the oldest and most ardent supporter, Jean Wikberg, has unfortunately passed away since the last festival and we therefore dedicate the 2022 edition to his memory.

This year, Klynk is delighted to offer a diverse lineup of musical acts from across the Yukon and beyond, as well as a burlesque performance, “Babes in the Bush,” by Cherie Coquette of Whitehorse.

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

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

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

“We’ll be hosting an opening screening on Friday night, then looping the films throughout the day on Saturday for people to watch at their leisure.”

As always, the Keno City Music and Film Festival is completely free to all attendees, and all proceeds will be used to pay bands and performers. This has been part of the festival’s mandate, and has been since its inception in 2015.

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

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

Venues are listed in order of arrival, with a few options farther from the stage for those wanting a quieter evening. Festival volunteers will be on hand to help you find 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 for self-camping to on weekends, especially their own water. This is especially important because the city depends on the water supply for drinking water. We ask participants to respect their neighbors at the festival, the community and the environment. Please do not litter and keep the grounds and town clean. Be kind, protect each other and have fun!

The Keno City Music and Film Festival will take place August 5-7 in Keno. Official festival merchandise will be available throughout the weekend, while donations are accepted at any time. Those interested in sponsorship can contact [email protected]

Anyone wishing to keep up to date with festival events can visit online via Facebook, Instagram or at keno.lostwarren.com.

Willow Gamberg owns Road Dogs Music Supply and The Lab Rehearsal studios in downtown Whitehorse.

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