Haines Junction seeks return of Bluegrass Festival

‘All parties recognized the loss,' says Mike Crawshay, the mayor of Haines Junction, who wants to bring the Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival back to the Gateway to Kluane National Park.
The community of Haines Junction, Yukon, has up to 45 days to hold a byelection for mayor. (CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)

Haines Junction is hoping the Kluane Mountain Bluegrass festival will come its way once more.

The festival used to be held in the community, but it was moved to Whitehorse when festival camping was banned.

“Basically, all parties recognized the loss,” says Mike Crawshay, the mayor of Haines Junction.

He says when the bluegrass festival moved to Whitehorse a couple of years ago, it left a void in the community.

“Local businesses found out that geez, it's pretty quiet around here on that weekend,” Crawshay says. “It was, I think, the biggest event each year that the community has.”

The festival moved after a previous mayor and council decided to ban overnight camping for festival goers outside the convention centre.

This new council has changed that bylaw and camping is allowed once more, as long as campers get a permit.

But the festival's return is not a sure thing yet.

“We're very interested in going back to Haines Junction,” says Robbyn Chiles, president of the Yukon Bluegrass Music Society.

Chiles says they were also considering Teslin and Carcross for the new permanent home for the festival, but says the news from Haines Junction gives it top marks. 

The festival is taking a break in 2014, but plans to return in 2015. 

“The people that are on council remember that when the event did occur, it was a fun weekend, not only for visitors but for the community," Crawshay says.