Prime Time will play at Folk on the Rocks 2023 after winning Saturday night’s Main Stage Showdown talent contest at Yellowknife’s Elks Lodge.
The group defeated nine other contenders to win a slot on the July festival’s main stage, alongside a $500 cash prize and artist passes for the full festival weekend.
Formerly Prime Time Prine, playing the late John Prine’s music, the group decided to “drop the Prine and just play our own stuff” in a bid to secure a berth at Folk.
The July 14-16 weekend will mark the first time any of the five members who performed on Saturday – Chris Pyke, Jeremy Straker, Jacob Hoekstra, Nico Hoekstra and Kevin Hodgins – has played the main stage.
“I was a little bit nervous. Like, my shoes situation was a bit weird. I wish I wore socks, because my feet were sweating pretty bad,” said fiddle player Hoekstra, describing the anticipation of playing the showdown.
This is the showdown’s second year. The first edition was won by Munya Mataruse, who will now travel with Yellowknife band Gnarwhal to October’s Breakout West festival in Kelowna, organizers said on Saturday.
Pyke – who wrote Prime Time’s songs performed for Saturday’s judges, and who performs under the name Otis Dawgwood – said he was “incredibly surprised” the group had won the 2023 contest.
“We’re going to get some more original music that we’re going to bring to it, and I think we’ll probably pick a Prine cover that we’d love to do, because that’s where we originated from,” he said.
“Then we’re gonna buy a tour bus,” added Hodgins.
The group will be joined by a sixth member, Shaelah Buckley, for July’s festival performance.
“We have female vocals, man, that will actually kind-of make it another level,” said Pyke.