Juno award-winning Yellowknifer Leela Gilday will be returning to the Folk On The Rocks stage as the 2021 line-up was released on Tuesday.
The headlining acts include Cartel Madras, a female hip-hop duo out of Calgary made up of sisters Bhagya “Eboshi” Ramesh and Priya “Contra” Ramesh. They describe their music as “Goonda Rap.”
With COVID-19 travel restrictions making it harder for southern artists to travel for the festival, this year’s Folk on the Rocks was a good opportunity to have more northern talent on stage, according to Carly McFadden, Executive & Artistic Director for Folk On The Rocks.
“I think sometimes people feel like great artists are scarce or hard to find up here,” she said. “And I completely disagree. There’s — as you can see from our lineup, here — we’re just bursting with talent up here.”
Partner, the rock band based out of Windsor, Ontario have also previously performed at the festival, taking to the stage in 2018.
Singer-songwriter Celeigh Cardinal from Alberta will also be one of the headliners. Cardinal recently won the Juno Award for Best Indigenous Album in 2020.
Partner, Cardinal and the Cartel Madras, who will have to travel into the NWT from southern Canada, will all be completing their self-isolation stays in the same house and working on a collaborative set that they will perform, according to McFadden.
Local musician Jay Gilday, born in Yellowknife and the brother of Leela, will also be performing at the festival, making his debut at Folk On The Rocks after last year’s festival was cancelled.
The Jerry Cans, Partner and Celeigh Cardinal were also slated to perform at last year’s festival, before it was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The festival is happening between July 16 to 18. The full lineup can be found here.