Juno award-winning folk-rockers Digging Roots, a First Nations musical group consisting of husband and wife duo Raven Kanetakta and ShoShona Kish, headline Alianait’s opening concert tonight at Nakasuk school. (Facebook photo)

Alianait Arts Festival kicks off today in Iqaluit

Annual summer arts festival runs throughout the weekend

By Emma Tranter

School is out, the sun is shining, and Iqaluit’s biggest arts and music festival is here.

Alianait Arts Festival kicks off today and will continue throughout the weekend. It ends with a closing concert Monday night.

The festivities begin this afternoon with an art exhibition at Nunatta Museum from 1 to 5 p.m.

The opening concert will start at 7 p.m. this evening the Nakasuk Elementary School gym, featuring Pangnirtung’s Joey Nowyuk, Nuuk’s Nick Ørbæk, Quebec’s Maten and Juno award-winning First Nations duo Digging Roots.

Small Time Giants, a Greenlandic alternative rock band, will headline Saturday night.

The festival’s weekend schedule is full of activity from morning to night. Free workshops will be held throughout the long weekend for eastern Arctic drum dancing, Mongolian overtone singing, Greenlandic drum dancing, Inuktitut songwriting, square dancing, throat singing and more.

Other highlights are a “kids fest” Saturday morning from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the elders qammaq and a “Nunavut’s Got Talent” talent show Sunday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the tent outside Nakasuk school.

Last year’s Nunavut’s Got Talent winners, Iqaluit’s Mandi B and Band, will perform Saturday night.

The festival, now in its 15th year, includes Inuit performers from Canada and Greenland, as well as First Nations and Métis from across Canada.

The full lineup can be found here.

Tickets can be purchased through Alianait’s Eventbrite website. Many of Alianait’s events over the weekend are free.

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