There’ll be no Long John Jamboree in 2021

Long John Jamboree merchandise on sale at an event in the build-up to the 2019 festival
Long John Jamboree merchandise on sale at an event in the build-up to the 2019 festival.

Organizers of Yellowknife’s Long John Jamboree said on Sunday the festival will not take place this year due to Covid-19.

Posting to Facebook, the Long John Jamboree’s board of directors said they would be “unable to provide the type of event that the public would like to see” under the NWT’s current pandemic-related restrictions.

Ordinarily, the three-day festival occupies the frozen Yellowknife Bay each March.

This is the fourth successive year in which the Long John Jamboree has been either disrupted or cancelled entirely.



Covid-19 also wiped the festival off the calendar in 2020, while warm weather in 2019 saw the jamboree relocated from Yellowknife Bay to the parking lot of the city’s fieldhouse.

In 2018, almost an entire day was lost to high winds.

Organizers of the 2021 event said severe restrictions on international travel would have had a huge impact on the annual ice carving contest, which ordinarily stars carvers from a range of nations.

The usual array of tents set up to keep attendees warm would have been harder to manage under Covid-19 restrictions, Sunday’s Facebook post added.



Even so, organizers pledged the jamboree is here to stay, saying they had “made great strides and have so many big things planned.”

“We are not going anywhere,” Sunday’s statement read.

“We are moving ahead and have many exciting ideas we are anxious to show everyone as we plan to be back out on the ice in 2022.”

Snowkings Winter Festival, meanwhile, is planning a free-to-enter month-long winter garden in March in lieu of the usual snowcastle.

The festival launched a fundraising raffle this week, with tickets now on sale. Volunteers are also being sought.