Frostbite Music Fest will feature 28 acts


The Yukon’s Frostbite Music Festival will celebrate its 35th anniversary Feb. 15-17 with three days of performances, sessions and workshops held by more than two dozen artists from across Canada.  

Held in Whitehorse, Y.T., Frostbite lures more than 2,000 attendees out during the heart of Canada’s bleak, often subzero winter. Festival producer Stacey MacLean said organizing the North’s only winter festival is a challenge for that very reason.

“We’re in the North, so that’s always a bit of  a difficulty because you have to get the musicians up here and get the people out of the house when it’s minus 40,” MacLean said.

Headlining this year is Hollerado, an indie rock four-piece originally from Ottawa, Ontario. The group has performed with The Stills and Malajube, and their sound has been compared to Weezer, Supergrass and Stephen Malkmus.

Frostbite’s 28-artist line-up also features Tribe Called Red, a First Nations group which MacLean referred to as “pow-wow dubstep.” Other big names on the bill include The Once (a folk trio from St. John’s, Newfoundland), Dave Gunning (a folk/Celtic singer-songwriter from Pictou County, Nova Scotia), and Patrick Brealey (a folk/country/blues singer-songwriter from Toronto, Ontario).

Unlike other festivals in Canada and the United States that brand themselves as “bluegrass festivals” or “indie rock festivals,” Frostbite’s eclectic line-up defies categorization.

“You can’t label it. There’s a French musician coming, there’s a First Nations band, there’s hip-hop, there’s country, there’s indie, there’s rock. You’re going to hit many, many genres of music at this festival. There’s something for everybody,” MacLean said.

MacLean, who is at the festival’s helm for the first time, said Frostbite has had its share of hardships. But after previous producer Andrea Burgoyne stepped in and took care of the festival’s debt problems and implemented better management, the Frostbite is again heading in the right direction.

“It’s definitely had its ups and downs. It’s been a very important part of Whitehorse history and it has shared different stops. But I would say we’re definitely on the upswing,” MacLean said.

The festival is held at the Yukon Arts Centre and Yukon College and features three venues, which usually run simultaneously. Friday night will feature a “Battle of the Bands” and Saturday afternoon will have songwriter circles.

For tickets and information, visit


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