Long John Jamboree will go ahead in 2019, organizers confirm

Michelle Demeule, president of the Long John Jamboree, sells merchandise on the festival's behalf at a fair in November 2018
Michelle Demeule, president of the Long John Jamboree, sells merchandise on the festival's behalf at a fair in November 2018. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

Yellowknife’s Long John Jamboree will go ahead this year, despite earlier doubts over its finances after a weather-hit 2018 festival.

Jamboree organizers made the announcement in a news release on Thursday morning, saying “a full festival will be held this year from March 29-31.”

The festival said De Beers Canada had contributed additional funding which, alongside local fundraising, helped to erase outstanding debt.

The 2018 edition of the Jamboree lost an entire day to high winds, leaving the event with a $22,000 shortfall. Donations covered 50 percent of that debt, with De Beers providing a payment to clear the remaining half.



“The additional donation from De Beers Canada has allowed us to meet our obligations from 2018 and kick-start fundraising and sponsorships for the 2019 event,” said Long John Jamboree president Michelle Demeule in Thursday’s news release.

“Plans for this year are quickly shaping up and we look forward to a full-sized Jamboree with new events.”

De Beers Canada will remain the festival’s major sponsor, contributing a further $30,000 for this year’s event. This is the second year of the mining giant’s five-year, $150,000 Jamboree sponsorship agreement.

Allan Rodel, the Gahcho Kué mine’s general manager, said the Jamboree was “a major part of Yellowknife’s community culture.”



“I said we wanted to be a part of something great, and we see the Long John Jamboree and De Beers Inspired Ice as providing that for Yellowknife and the greater Northwest Territories,” he added.

‘Reduced field’ for ice carving

Inspired Ice, the annual ice carving contest which attracts international competitors, will go ahead as usual – though organizers expect a slightly smaller field of “at least eight” teams.

“With our focus on fundraising and securing a 2019 event, we knew it would lead to a reduced field as carvers had to make their travel plans for the competition season,” said Keith MacNeill, who coordinates the ice carving event.

“The good news is that we are still receiving enquiries at this late stage from a number of world-class carvers, so we are confident it will be a top-flight field with outstanding entries again this year.”

More Jamboree details and a full schedule of events “will be released shortly once all events are finalized,” organizers said.