Circus heads to Yellowknife, unperturbed by Folk clash

A file photo of performers with The Great Benjamin's Circus
A file photo of performers with The Great Benjamin's Circus.

The Great Benjamin’s Circus rolls into Yellowknife on Saturday, July 21 – where it will go head-to-head with the annual Folk on the Rocks music festival.

The circus company, from Sarasota, Florida, makes a day-long trip to Yellowknife for three family shows, then plays Fort Providence during the return trip south on Monday, July 23.

Louis Leonard, the company’s spokesperson, told Cabin Radio: “We are family entertainment and we do all of the towns. Small towns, big towns. There’s only so many big towns you can go to and there are families everywhere – we go where there are families.”

Acts prepared for Yellowknife include a “globe of death,” a “wheel of destiny,” and “the Russian swing.” Alongside those performances are iconic circus acts like trapeze artists, jugglers, and clowns, though you won’t see any animals.



Leonard did not sound too put off by the date clash with Folk on the Rocks, which has been an established fixture of the NWT’s summer for decades.

“The more stuff happening, the more energy there is, and the more people get the vibe and are into going out and doing things,” he said.

“One doesn’t stop the other. If you are a family that likes music, you can also like the circus.

“I think that working together is more proactive and makes more sense for everybody.”



There won’t be an opportunity for circus performers to stay and take in any of the festival before they leave. Equally, Yellowknifers planning to run away and join the circus can forget it – this time.

“We don’t take anybody with us,” said Leonard. “Not at this time, we are not hiring. All though it might seem very fun and exciting, it’s a lot of work and it requires people who train for that kind of a job.”

Leonard did have one request ahead of the company’s arrival. “Can you do something for me?” He asked. “Maybe a day before, can you cancel the mosquitoes?”

Shows take place on Saturday, July 21, at 2pm, 4:30pm, and 7pm at Yellowknife’s Multiplex. Tickets are available online.