The Edge of the World Experience
The Edge of the World Music Festival on Haida Gwaii is a singular west coast festival experience. Three days of quality music, both local and off island talent, up and coming, as well as top notch performers, is what awaits.
Haida Gwaii is situated 170kms off the mainland coast of Northern British Columbia. It is accessible by plane from Vancouver, or by ferry from Prince Rupert. For information on how to get here, and for an up to date list of accommodations, please visit gohaidagwaii.ca.
The Tlell Fall Fairgrounds. The festival happens in Tlell, the mid point of highway 16 on Graham Island. Tlell is a small rural community with less than 200 residents. There is one general store, Crow’s Nest (groceries, liquor, small cafe, and post office.) The festival is on the Fall Fair Grounds, just south of where the Tlell river snakes under the highway.
There is camping at the Misty Meadows Campground, a BC Provincial campsite, across the street. This is first come, first serve. Additional camping is available a few minutes down the road. All proceeds from this camping go towards supporting the Haida Gwaii Soccer Association. There will be a periodic shuttle bus available.
Edge of The World History
In 1975, local musicians such as Percy Williams and Ron Souza, performed on the back of a pickup truck in Queen Charlotte City for anyone who would listen.
The Community Club in Queen Charlotte became home to the first official Music Festival in 1978. The line up featured a wide range of local talent and relied on many volunteers to make it happen. Hazel McQuarrie was one such music lover who supported the festival and inspired musicians and fans to come. It was such a success that it became an annual event, until 1986 when many local musicians went to Vancouver for Expo 86 to perform. This caused a break, and there was no music festival until it was revived in 1995.
In 1995 the QCI Arts Council (now the Haida Gwaii Arts Council) sponsored the Juggernaut Jam Music Festival. Not only did this give local musicians a chance to perform to a large audience again, but organizers also began to bring in musicians from Canada and other parts of the world. This exposure to off-island talent, and the opportunity for local musicians to share ideas and be inspired by professional musicians, was a huge success. The Juggernaut Jam Music Festival continued in Charlotte until 1999, when it became known as the Edge of The World Music Festival, and moved to a large ocean-side field in a rural area of Tlell. Situated in the middle of the island, it made the festival more accessible to the island’s population.
The Edge of the World Music Festival became a not-for-profit society in 2000. Still volunteer run, it began to grow.
This singular musical event, in a field in Tlell, brought in such acts as: Spirit of the West, John Spearn, Los Gringos Salvajes, Pepi Danza, Sandy Scofield, Random Order, Mamaguroove, and Gary Comeau and the Voodoo Allstars. The event was guided by the likes of Pat Carrie Smith, Skye Cantin, Bob Bullechuk, Debbie Pearson, Elizabeth Inkster, and Keith Alexander, amoung others such as Sabrina Frazier, Frank Wall, Toby Sanmiya, Sandra Beggs, Jeannie Kalamarz, Roly Thompson, and George and Donnette Farrel. It was always a great success, however the weather was often an uninvited guest. After the large horseshoe tent over the stage nearly blew away in 2006, causing the Friday night show to be cancelled, the Festival was moved to a nicer weekend in August and the shelter of the Tlell Fall Fairgrounds.
2007 also saw the beginning of the Annual Lantern Parade. The only annual lantern parade in Northern BC, it was the creative vision of Joanne Hayward and Germain Vigneault. During the evening performances, locals who had made paper lanterns during the lantern workshops would parade through the dancing crowd. A magical moment, the parade continues to grow every year as more and more amazingly unique lanterns are made. Sadly 2011 saw the passing of Joanne Hayward from cancer, but the lantern parade goes on, carrying her light and her vision.
From 2007 to 2009, the blue and white stripped horseshoe tent was still a fixture at the Edge of the World Music Festival, but it began to show its age, and the plywood stage that it sheltered began to show the strain of the weight of so many musicians having played on it. In 2010, Festival organizers decided to bring in a state of the art mobile stage unit. This unit allowed for better sound, better visibility, and better lighting. It also made for a more professional show, with many guest musicians suitably impressed by this set up.
Roeland Denooij has been the Artistic Director for the Festival since 2009. With a music degree from McGill University, Roeland’s ear has been able to pick out extremely high quality acts from the hundreds of submissions received every year. Highlights include; The Sam Roberts Band, CR Avery, Said The Whale, Dirty Radio,The Shuffle Demons, Shane Philip, Dominque Fraissard, The Kerplunks, Wayne Lavallee, The Odds, and Kinnie Starr. However, he has never lost sight of the fact that the festival is also a time for local musicians to shine. Roeland tries his hardest to find time for every local musician to perform who applies. Also highlighted are the incredible Haida Dancers of Masset and Skidegate, who traditionally open and close each festival.
Each year the festival improves – with more cohesive ambiance, more food and merchandise vendors showcasing local wares and cuisine, more diverse workshops, and more fringe acts. There is now a new organizing committee in place, with a great selection of 30-somethings lending their creative talents to get this festival done. Additionally a large number of local and off-island volunteers pitch in on the festival weekend, not to mention the local businesses that sponsor and support the festival. Keeping the grounds clean is something we take pride in; if you attend the festival, please be aware of your garbage. All of this effort comes together to make the Edge of the World Music Festival on Haida Gwaii unlike any other.
2015 saw the passing of Percy Williams, an icon among the Haida musicians here on island. And inspiration to all, Percy is sadly missed.
Edge of The World Over the Years
THE SAM ROBERTS BAND // Sweatshop Union // The House of David Gang // Isobel Trigger // The Racket // Black Spruce Bog // Sticks & Stones // Tow Town // Out of the Blue // Air Kanada // Chini Har // GiG // Mind Beach // Jess Vaira // Terza Tomek // Kuun7laanaas Jaanaas Dance Group // Devarrow // Phonosonics // Lyn&Stoney // Glen Koide // Wayne Harris // Honey Brown // Sister Says // Barefoot Caravan // Dub Jackson Band // Steel Toe Troubadours
SAID THE WHALE // Delhi 2 Dublin // BidiniBand // Dirty Radio // Don Alder // Frankie // Warless // Beckman Coe // Ssssnap // Randall Kimball // Kristy Lane Sinclair // Raine Hamilton // Cave of Light // Tereza Tomek // Air Kanada // Honey Brown // Out of the Blue // Jackson Blue // Tough Racket // Tluu Xaadaa Naay Dancers // Drive In // Sandra & Ivan Larose // GiG // Kevin Husband // 88 in Shanghai // Andy Spiller Group // Joe Hyder // Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson // Johnny Hanuse
THE BOOM BOOMS // Shred Kelly // T.Nile // Mihirangi // Ta’Kaiya Blaney // Andy Spiller Group // Maria Mang // Mate McCully // Pennybrook // Eat N’ Holler // Free Soul // Dance Floor Cahperones // Out of the Blue // Mip Power Trio // Brett Wildeman // Harmonie Rose Trip // Ssssnap // Kindredheart // Ben Arsenault // Elin Hilgemann & Ursa Fox // Skye Wallace // Percy Williams Orchestra // GiG // Ghost Lights // Tereza Tomek // The Annie Becker Band // Hat Stache // Dylan Rystaad& The Rain Dogs // Flowshine // Jasper Sloan Yip // Drive In // I can &Sandra Larose // Brett Wildeman // Tough Racket // Adam Hill // Air Kanada // Passing Clouds
FM HI LOW // // Kikeyambay // CR Avery // The Broken Mirrors // Road Engine Dreams // West My Friend // Aurora Jane // There Pernell Reichert Band // Dave Soroka // Dr. Fishy // Liron Man // Out of the Blue // Honey Brown // Air Kanada // Daughter of the Rivers Gandlee Gujaaland Dancers // Tluu Xaada Nay, Canoe Peoples House // White Raven/T. Wills Unplugged // Harmonie Rose Trip // Kevin Husband // Dub Jackson // Rip Tyde // Drive In
WAYNE LAVALLE // The Odds // The Avenues // The DoneFors // Jaffa Road // Steve Brockley Trio // NikTex // Doug Loyama // The Sweet Lowdown // Hilary Grist // The Klezmer Katz // Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson // Percy Williams Orchestra // Rip Tyde // Air Kanada // Honey Brown // Elizabeth Inkster and EBB // Harmonie Rose Trio // Kevin Husband // T.wlls Unplugged // Blair Weinburg