Atlin music and art festival 'fully intends' to run this summer, says an organizer

·3 min read
The Atlin Arts and Music Festival in 2018. A festival organizer said they hope to hold a scaled-back version of it this summer, split into two weekends, one in July and one in August. (Elyn Jones/CBC - image credit)
The Atlin Arts and Music Festival in 2018. A festival organizer said they hope to hold a scaled-back version of it this summer, split into two weekends, one in July and one in August. (Elyn Jones/CBC - image credit)

The community of Atlin, Yukon, is hoping to host a music and arts festival in 2022, but as with most things over the last nearly two years, it's going to look a lot different.

Right now, Matthew Lien, who is helping organize the Atlin Arts and Music Festival, said they "fully intend" to have the festival this summer.

Last summer, said Lien, they were hoping to have a scaled down video and audio recorded concerts, which he was involved with as a producer, and that it would gradually open up to the public — but it never could.

"So, we wound up running the summer out with this summer concert series, and those are now on YouTube and Facebook, which is great. But, there really is a desire to have a real music fest again," he said.

"But, there is also the very kind of vivid realization that we have to do things differently under the circumstances."

Submitted by Matthew Lien
Submitted by Matthew Lien

This summer, the plan is to have two weekends, one in July, and one in August, with scaled back ticket sales to about 100 or 200 tickets per weekend, Lien said.

"With those come family and kids and everything so that way, we'd have no more than … between 200 and 400 people coming into the town for the actual fest-ticketed audience members," he said.

Lien said they also plan to utilize venues in the town rather than setting up a big tent like before. Those venues could include the Globe Theatre, St. Martin's Church and the Atlin Inn.

"Our headliners would perform two different concerts … one on Friday night, one on Saturday night. So when you buy your ticket for example, you choose which headliners concert you're going to go to," he said. "That way everybody gets a chance to see that."

Lien added there will be "lots of local talents" too.

He said the music along with the visual arts will hopefully make the town "just a really vibrant, vibrant place to be artistically [and] musically without endangering the town [with] COVID[-19]."

'Back to the basics'

And, he said, the plan is to hold the festival in a way that doesn't overrun the town, "because that became a bit of an issue as well over the past couple years."

He acknowledged that over the years the festival has grown and in some cases, overwhelmed some businesses and community members.

"It seemed, definitely, to have grown a bit big for its britches," Lien said.

"The board is very, very keen in talking with the community. And I've heard this a lot myself to kind of go back to the basics, go back to the origins and remember where you came from."

He said part of the efforts to do that involve bringing back some artists that have performed at the festival in the past.

As well, Lien said he envisions small, quality performances that have an intimate feel.

While many health measures could change by the time the summer comes around, Lien said the festival is there to implement those measures and keep people safe.

"Even if we go to proof of double [vaccination], to triple [vaccination], we're ready to implement that," Lien said.

"I want people to go back home feeling healthy in every sense of the word, but really healthy from a spiritual emotional perspective to feel that they've been nourished by good music and beautiful art."

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