You can stop wondering - local festival announces lineup

Aug 27 2021

If the Wonderhorse Festival sells out before you get tickets, blame the government. 

“We were hoping to have greater capacity, but Elections Canada scooped our booking for the Elks Lodge,” says Zach McCann-Armitage, one of the organizers of the festival, a product of Something Shows, which has facilitated arts events across the territory since 2015/2016. “We went into overdrive trying to make things work.” 

It’s a gear that seems to agree with the festival, now in its second year, though things looked different in 2020. At the time, Wonderhorse, which was meant to take place in May, had to push its dates to September. Then organizers relabelled it Wondercrawl to reflect the COVID-induced pivot to an exclusively outdoor art show that wound along the Yukon River and allowed for physical distancing. 

This year, the festival has been able to incorporate indoor events, including 17 musical acts, though Wondercrawl will still be part of the Labour Day festival’s opening night proceedings. 

The crawl, a free event, will take place on Friday, Sept. 3, along the Waterfront Trail, from Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters to the wharf in downtown Whitehorse. 

Visual and performance artists include Lia Fabre-Dimsdale, an Indigenous artist of Dencho Dene and European ancestry, who’s doing a mural, and Dawson City artist Kim Edgar, who’s doing a zine workshop.  

On Sept. 4 and 5, musical performances will take place at venues including Wood Street Centre, which is acting as the flagstone venue; the United Church Sanctuary for more experimental performances, including spoken word; Antoinette’s for hip-hop; and Arts Underground.

Artists include headliners Wares and Necking, as well as Local Boy, Montreal-based saxophonist Ida Toninato, and Parler Bien, which McCann-Armitage says is an act that defies explanation. 

Comprised of Whitehorse residents Nicholas Hyatt and Jane Chan, the work combines cello and piano with clips from interviews conducted with Franco-Ontario residents.

“It’s kind of a reflection on speech and language put to music,” says McCann-Armitage.  

For those not in Whitehorse, Wonderhorse has events going on in Carcross and Dawson City. 

Together with BYTE, Wonderhorse will host the Battle of the Bands, present a skate competition at the new Carcross skate park, Yaan at l'oon gooch (Tlingit for “lookout hill”), and feature sets from Yukon Jack and Vancouver band, Necking. 

Wonderhorse is co-presenting Edmonton band, Wares, with the Dawson City Music Festival, which had to push its dates back this year to Sept. 10 to 12. 

“We’re in contact with them and we’re friends, so it just kind of seemed like the natural thing to do. Everyone would have been competing for audiences and we decided we should work together,” says McCann-Armitage. 

For more information and to buy tickets, visit