Lineup announced for Alianait Arts Festival in Arctic Canada

A file photo of the Alianait Arts Festival. “It’s nice to have artists come together from across the North, without boundaries, and create on our Alianait stage,” the festival’s executive director Alannah Johnston said in a phone interview. (Courtesy Alianait Arts Festival)

The Alianait Arts Festival, a renowned arts festival held annually in Arctic Canada, announced its 2023 line up on Wednesday.

This year’s circumpolar roster includes artists from across northern Canada, as well as Alaska, Greenland and Sweden.

“It’s nice to have artists come together from across the North, without boundaries, and create on our Alianait stage,” the festival’s executive director Alannah Johnston said in a phone interview.

“Way back, there wasn’t these borders separating us, so it’s really important for the festival, and also just for everyone, to be able to come together without those boundaries.”

Annual Iqaluit festival

“It’s important for the festival to have that circumpolar feeling,” says Alianait’s Executive Director Alannah Johnston. (Courtesy Alianait Arts Festival)

The festival is held every year in Iqaluit, the capital city of Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.

This year will mark its 19th edition.

Artists performing this year include Greenlandic band INUK, Alaska’s Ugiuvak Drummers & Dancers and Jimmy Qamukaq and Jacky Qrunnut from Artcirq, an Inuit performance collective, based in the Nunavut community of Igloolik.

Johnston said one of the many strengths of the festival is featuring established acts along with the best of the territory’s rising talents.

“We always have up-and-coming artists from Nunavut because we love to showcase that too,” she said.

This year’s edition will also feature Vinnie Karetak & Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory’s production of Qaumma. 

“We always put on at least one play during the festival, and presenting Qaumma this year should be very interesting, very emotional,” Johnston said.

Several performances to be streamed 

The festival runs from June 29 – July 2 and tickets go on sale June 8.

For those not in Iqaluit, several performances will be streamed on the festival’s Facebook page.

The Alianait big top tent in Iqaluit. (Courtesy Alianait Arts Festival)

Johnston said she hopes people across Canada, and the North, tune in to some of the shows to see some of the best established circumpolar performers as well as up-and-coming talent from Nunavut.

 “All the artists that we’ve picked for this stage,  are going to be really excellent.,” she said. “I think our visitors are going to really love them.”

More details will be available later this month on the Alianait webpage and  social media accounts.

Comments, tips or story ideas? Contact Eilís at eilis.quinn(at) 

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Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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