This year’s big hit at Folk on the Rocks? The beer.

Beer sales skyrocketed at this year’s Folk on the Rocks music festival as Yellowknifers, emerging for their first major event since the pandemic, found local beer on sale.

Organizers of Folk on the Rocks held their annual meeting on Saturday, at which executive director Carly McFadden said alcohol sales at July’s event – driven mostly by beer – increased by $19,000 on the festival’s 2019 figure.

This year, Yellowknife’s NWT Brewing assumed the contract to supply beverages to the festival’s beer garden. The company’s offering included several beers canned specifically for Folk.


“We sold a lot more beer than we expected to,” McFadden said on Saturday. “Everyone was very thirsty this year.”

McFadden expects the festival’s partnership with NWT Brewing to continue in 2022, with more beer ordered.

Meanwhile, dates for 2022’s festival – and a slight increase in ticket prices – were announced on Saturday.

Next year’s festival will run from July 15 to 17. Early-bird tickets will cost $5 more than they did in 2021, and regular ticket prices will increase by $10. (In 2021, an early-bird adult weekend pass cost $135.)

McFadden said those increases were part of a three-year plan that Folk paused in 2021, instead offering tickets at what would have been 2020’s prices had that year’s festival gone ahead.


Ashley Makohoniuk, president of Folk’s board, said the festival needed to return to that three-year plan to meet increasing costs.

“We walk this fine line of trying to stay somewhat affordable but also it costs more in the North to do things than in the south. It costs more to get artists here,” Makohoniuk told meeting attendees.

“We try to stay on a regular rate of inflation for those things. Our costs are going up every year. We do need to find somewhere we make those gains.

“The board had all agreed that an increase was needed back in 2019. We agreed for 2021 that we should adjust that plan and put it a bit on hold.”


McFadden said the three-year plan will end after 2022’s festival, after which the board will have to decide what happens next.

“We’ll be having a discussion in September 2022,” she said, “about what we want to do in terms of ticket pricing, and costs, and all that stuff.”

Sarah Sibley contributed reporting.