This past weekend a group of us headed off on a road trip to Dawson City for the Dawson City Music Festival. The DCMF, for my maritime readers, is much like the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival but on a smaller scale.
As I had a bunch of free time on Friday (as my traveling buddy had meetings) I got to play tourist for the day in Dawson. I walked around the whole downtown area checking out various shops and historic sites along the way.
I spent a great afternoon at the Dänojà Zho Cultural Center learning about the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in (the First Nations group up in the Dawson area) and learning about the traditional medicinal and non-medicinal uses of teas (and having a nice afternoon tea with some members of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in).
After visiting the cultural center I headed down along the main drag in Dawson and ran into some canoeists just coming off of the water. We had a great chat about our time on the mighty Yukon (rain plagued them too). Soon, I wandered over to Max’s, picked up a book and then headed out to the cafe down the street and enjoyed some quiet time with a cup of coffee.
During the late afternoon (after my quiet time with coffee) I managed to get myself to the gazebo downtown to catch part of Shotgun Jimmie‘s and Coole & Downes‘ set lists before it was time to head off to meet up for supper. As Dawson was turning into a rather busy location with all of the festival goers arriving it was a challenge to find a spot for supper. With a bit of waiting we managed to get into the Drunken Goat (really good Greek cuisine).
We weren’t too sure when the rest of the road-trippers were going to make it to Dawson (as we had no idea when they were planning on leaving Ross). Just as we were finishing up supper the rest of the crew arrived so we set off to find another place for them to grab some food… which took us down the street to Klondike Kate’s.
After Kate’s we headed down to the main stage grounds of the DCMF and hung out at the ‘refreshments’ tent (as we didn’t have passes to get into the main tent) [as a side note, not that we would have wanted weekend – or even day passes to be truthful as much of the time, concerts that you wanted to see you couldn’t get into as the venue was at capacity, so there was a lot of standing outside of venues listening to music, but not seeing live performances. This was especially true of any of the events taking place at the Palace Grande).
While hanging out with all of the music goers we had the opportunity to listen to Sarah MacDougall, Denis Allen & the Hellhounds andShotgun Jimmie before we decided to head back out to downtown Dawson. We eventually wound up at Bombay Peggy’s for a little bit then decided to call it a night.
Saturday morning was pretty lazy – we headed out (well, those of us that were awake) for coffee and breakfast on the riverfront and to check out the Farmer’s Market. Once we were all awake and caffeinated we took a drive up The Dome (The Midnight Dome Road).
In the afternoon we all went our separate ways and headed off to whatever shows were of interest to us. I headed down to the cultural center to check out Etran Finatawa a group from Niger, Africa.
After the outdoor performance we (myself and Carmen as every one else was already in the Palace Grande for the jazz session) headed back over to the Palace Grande to check out the next performance. Unfortunately for us, the venue was at capacity and there was a huge snaking line up to get in. So, we headed back to the coffee shop for another java hit and then went back over to the main stage grounds and browsed the vendor tents.
Soon we were all hitting that wonderful brick wall and it was nap time … we were all sitting around our accommodations talking and then poof .. we were all asleep.. and probably would have stayed that way for much longer had not one of our crew returned from a drive up the Top of the World Highway. Once we were all awake again we headed downtown to Sourdough Joe’s for supper, where we wound up waiting for almost an hour for a table. The food was pretty good there and we left with fully happy bellies.
Saturday night we kept hoping back and forth between downtown Dawson and the main tent area as we wanted to catch the shows at Diamond Tooth Gerties.
At one point we took the crew to the Downtown to do the ‘toe’. It was quite a funny time trying to get these two to do the toe (as they never had before). After the toe we went back to Diamond Tooth Gerties to catch the late show then back downtown to the Pit for a bit.
Sunday was another lazy day in Dawson. We headed downtown for breakfast (lunch by the time we got there) and coffee and settled down at the gazebo to see what bands were playing. We were just in time for the sound check for Fish & Bird vs. David Essig – who put on an excellent show.
Between concerts I went for a walk back down to the main stage area and came across some interesting piano moving:
I’m not really too sure where they were moving the piano too … but at least they didn’t drop it!
Back at the gazebo, with ice cream / frozen yogurt, we caught a great fiddle-jam workshop with Jesse Zubot, Adam Iredale-Gray (Fish & Bird), Willie Gordon (Willie Gordon Trio), Chris Coole (Coole & Downes), Miriah Phelps (Carlyle & the Sugar Strings), and Patrick and Sarah Hamilton (Done Gone Trio).
After the fiddle jam we headed across the Yukon River for a quick spin up the Top of the World Highway. We had a rather long ferry wait as everyone was trying to get back across the river to start packing up their campsites. Once we finally got across the river we went up the highway about 40 minutes, nabbed several photos and then headed back across the river to start the journey back to Ross River.
It was a great weekend out road-tripping … now I get to begin cleaning and packing once again as I head back East soon!