Snowking launches line-up but Jamboree’s future uncertain

Last modified: January 14, 2020 at 4:24am

As Snowking’s Winter Festival announced its 2020 line-up, featuring many of Yellowknife’s own talented musicians, neighbouring event the Long John Jamboree’s fate remained unclear.

Two of Yellowknife’s main winter events, the Jamboree and Snowking each suffered at the hands of a March heatwave in 2019. Snowking’s Winter Festival closed a week early while the Jamboree relocated to the parking lot of Yellowknife’s Multiplex.

Ordinarily, both events are held on the ice of Yellowknife Bay. Snowking’s Winter Festival is best-known for its showpiece castle of ice and snow built on the bay, inside which a stage and other attractions are built.


This year, the festival will kick off on February 29 with a performance by the Yellowknives Dene Drummers. What will happen to the Long John Jamboree, however, remains unclear.

Last week, Jamboree board member Garrett Cochrane told Cabin Radio an announcement will be made shortly. So far, no dates for this year’s event – which ordinarily runs over three days – have been published. Michelle Demeule, president of the Jamboree last year, said she had since stepped down.

Snowking’s newly released schedule – this is the festival’s 25th year – includes appearances by leading NWT musiciains. Leela Gilday and Andrea Bettger will play the Cabin Fever Reliever event on March 20. 

At the Great Melt the following day, Toronto punk band PUP will play with local band PIT! in support.

Wrapping up the festival will be a 25th anniversary Candled Ice Review featuring many local performers on March 25, the King’s Comedy Night on March 26, and a Rave Castle night featuring DJs Miraj and Puppy on March 27.


The Snowcastle brings in artists for special events throughout the month. 

Motherhood, featuring Great Bear, will perform at the Shiver and Shaker event on February 29. At the Snow Sizzler on March 7, catch Brian Skylar and The Texpistols featuring Ryan McCord.

Chills and Thrills will see The Back Bay Fusion Project and Flora and The Fireweeds perform on March 12. On March 13, Priscilla’s Revenge will accompany Billie Joe Green at Frozen Blues. And at the signature Royal Ball on March 14, The Swinging Pines featuring The Little Burnt Potatoes will take the stage.

In full: Snowking’s Winter Festival 2020 calendar


Baby Brian, Alice Twa, Miranda Currie and The Boreal Beats, Wesley Hardisty, Somba K’e Social Club, Nara, The Housemen, Patrick Jacobson, Bluebird Island, and Nathan Knox and The Yard Dogs round out the list of local performers featured during the month-long festival.

Other acts include multiple choirs, a puppet show, a dance troupe, singer-songwriter Cristian de la Luna, a Fiddle Sunday, and numerous events for kids.

Emelie Peacock contributed reporting.