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Arts

Joey O’Neil’s path to Yellowknife via virtual camper tour


Yukon folk-country singer-songwriter Joey O’Neil drove to Ontario with her dog, Oblio, in early March 2020, preparing for a tour across Canada. Her plans quickly changed as Covid-19 swept the nation.

On her Facebook page, O’Neil wrote: “My tour couldn’t have come at a more uncertain time. After spending over half a year planning this excursion, booking dates, preparing transportation, readying an album for release, and excitedly looking forward to the journey, it’s time for me to consider what Plan B could even look like.”

O’Neil stayed with family in Ontario for a few months before she made the journey back to Yukon. Instead of simply driving home, she decided to continue her tour online – live-streaming performances from her camper van.

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“I was just driving home and thought, well this would be a really sad, quiet drive, or I could make a poster on my free Photoshop program. And I just sort-of rebranded,” O’Neil said.

“I ended up driving back to the Yukon and playing one show every night inside the camper. I was literally touring within the camper.”

Joey O’Neil’s poster for a virtual album release show.

“I think people really enjoyed knowing that I was on the road and I was in a different place every night. I felt like I was taking people with me … even though I was just in a different Walmart parking lot.”

O’Neil performed songs from her new album at the time, Ever Ahead.

“It was nice bringing people along for the ride. It made it more exciting for me too, and playing a show every night gave me a purpose.”

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That virtual tour culminates in a real, in-the-flesh appearance at Yellowknife’s Folk on the Rocks this weekend.

Joey O’Neil plays the Somba K’e Civic Plaza on Friday, July 16 at 1:15pm, then the Cabin Stage on Saturday, July 17 at 4:15pm.

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