Northwest Territories

  • population: 43,537
  • capital city: Yellowknife
  • area: 1,346,106 sq. km. – 3rd largest region
  • Yellowknife was founded when gold was discovered – it is now a centre for diamond mining
  • The NWT Official Languages Act recognizes eleven official languages – two are English and French and the others are First Nations languages

Northern music is a lively combination of age-old First Nation traditions, deep celtic roots, and modern urban cultures. All of these influences come to life at the music festivals of the Northwest Territories. On the world stage artists such as Leela Gilday, Giga, Priscilla’s Revenge, Pat Braden and rapper Godson, are making their presence known.

About Music NWT


Music NWT’s mission is to develop, foster and promote the continued growth of our music industry to its fullest potential.

Mandate & Objectives of Music NWT:

  • To support the marketing and distribution of NWT Musicians and Recording Artists
  • To provide opportunities for the education and training of NWT Musicians and Recording Artists and the NWT Music Industry
  • To increase recognition of the music industry as a vital element of the economy and cultural identity of the Northwest Territories
  • Provide a voice to government, business, and the communities at large, throughout the Northwest Territories, regarding the issues facing the music industry

Core Beliefs/Values:

  • NWT’s music industry has enormous talent
  • Music industry professionals are entitled to fair and equitable compensation;
    Music is an integral part of NWT’s culture
  • NWT’s music industry has the capacity to succeed on a national and global scale; and
    the music industry is a contributor to NWT’s economic development.

Music NWT is a proud member of the Western Canadian Music Alliance.

Music NWT logo

Explore the Northwest Territories

Decho region

Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT) is composed of 33 communities spread over more than one million square kilometres. There are 11 official languages and three distinct Aboriginal groups across the territory: Dene, Inuit and Métis.

The capital city of Yellowknife is located on the north shore of Great Slave Lake, and is roughly 400 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle. Regularly schedule flights operate out of Yellowknife Airport, offering nonstop flights to other northern communities and major Canadian cities.

Today, the NWT is made up of a multicultural population from all parts of Canada and the world. Many arrive here looking for adventure, opportunity, or just something different.

All are inspired, by the beauty and space of the North’s natural landscape, to explore and create.

Folk on the Rocks Festival

For more information about the Northwest Territories, please visit:

Northwest Territories Arts – – artists, culture, news and events

Northwest Territories Tourism –

Government of the Northwest Territories –

Northern News Services – – serving the Northwest Territories

Yellowknifer – – serving the Yellowknife community

The Northern Journal – – is an independent newspaper covering news and events in Northern Alberta and across the Northwest Territories.

Music NWT –

Key Regions in the Northwest Territories

Yellowknife population 19,234

Key venues/clubs: The Gold Range; Sam’s Monkey Tree, The Black Knight Pub

Key radio: CBC Radio 1 Yellowknife; Moose FM; CKLB-FM; Radio Taiga; CHTC-FM; CKXY-FM; CKHR-FM

Universities and colleges: Aurora College, North Slave

Northwest Territories’ major festivals

Yellowknife Summer Solstice Festival’e Park, Yellowknife, NT

With close to 24 hours of brilliant sunshine, the Yellowknife Solstice Festival celebrates the best of summer. The festival brings together many existing events, such as National Aboriginal Day, but also features a wide array of artists, street performers and musicians, and various non-profit organizations.

It is a great oppportunity for local northern talent to showcase itself.

The main centre of activity is downtown Yellowknife, at Sombak’e Park next to City Hall. You may also find lots of experience at other venues in Old Town, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Society, and Fred Henne Territorial Park.

Folk on the Rocks, NT

Since 1980, Yellowknife’s Long Lake has hosted this lively three-day music festival during July’s third weekend.

Attracting over 200 musicians from across the Northwest Territories, the rest of Canada, and the world, Folk on the Rocks is more than a music festival. Spectators can also enjoy sampling specialty foods and browsing handmade arts and crafts while musicians play onstage.

The 2015 lineup featured NWT performers Double Treble Fiddle, the Yellowknife Dene Drummers, hip-hop artist Godson and Juno nominated Dene songwriter Leela Gilday, spoken word artists Shane Koyczan and Richard Van Camp, and audio/visual ‘fantasists’ Sinister Oculus – as well as Nunavut performers Iva, Agaaqtoq, and Tanya Tagaq.

The 36th Festival will be held from the 15th-17th of July 2016.

Hay Days Music, Arts and Cultural Festival River, NT

“The beach is an integral part of our summers, and we foresee a festival taking place there every summer, able to carry on no matter who’s in charge.” So reads the vision statement for the Hay Days festival at Hay River, NT.

And so has the festival for over six years running, featuring three days of live musical performances, artist venues, workshops, demonstrations, children’s activities – on the beach at the peak of the summer weather.

The 2015 lineup featured over 15 performers including: SunK, VJDJ, Villians of the 1990’S and Priscilla’s Revenge. “An eclectic mix of Southern sounds and Northern talent.”

NWT music biz news