Folk on the Rocks 2020 ‘to go ahead as planned,’ for now

Organizers of Yellowknife’s Folk on the Rocks said on Thursday they were “carefully monitoring” the coronavirus pandemic but would not yet cancel or postpone the July music festival.

Thousands of spectators, including many visitors and visiting acts, come from Canada and beyond to each three-day lakeside festival on the edge of Yellowknife.

“At the time of writing,” organizers posted online on March 12, “Folk on the Rocks is scheduled to host our annual event as planned from July 17-19.”


The local organizing committee, like event hosts worldwide, must weigh the evolving pandemic risk against the social and economic impact of cancelling one of the city’s biggest annual attractions.

A final decision may ultimately come from the territory’s health authorities, depending on the progress of coronavirus in the weeks to come.

“Our staff and board members are carefully monitoring the situation related to the outbreak of Covid-19 in Canada and the Northwest Territories,” organizers stated.

“At this time, the risk to Northwest Territories residents is low, and our summer 2020 timeline means that a lot may happen between now and then.

“However, the health and safety of our patrons is a top priority. We have taken steps to develop and implement a strategic plan for the 2020 festival that further considers a course of action should the risk levels rise in our community.”


Details of that plan and potential courses of action were not given. Organizers said they would post updates when necessary.

This year’s Folk on the Rocks is set to mark the festival’s 40th anniversary by bringing back a host of star performers from years past.

Joel Plaskett, Shred Kelly, and Fred Penner are among the leading acts already confirmed. Two more lineup announcements are expected in March and April.