Salluit gears up for eastern Arctic music festival

Traditional celebration of the ties that bind Nunavik and Nunavut



SALLUIT — Spring weather in Salluit is upon us, with hunting and fishing activities for most of the people in the community.

Construction workers have arrived to start building much-needed public housing — six duplexes holding 12 units.

The people of Salluit are also well along the way in planning for the 24th Eastern Arctic Summer Music Festival, to be held July 24 to Aug. 2.

The community will also host the Kativik School Board’s annual teacher training program to be held in mid-July.

With only two and a half months left in the count-down, the steering committee has held bi-weekly meetings since August 2001. There have been local fundraising events such as weekly bingo games over the local FM station, and some local and regional corporate sponsors have already donated money toward this important event.

Festival highlights

On July 24, the opening ceremonies will be held in the evening.

The committee learned after deciding on dates for the festival that there will be a full moon on July 24, the best time of the month for picking clams and mussels.

Peterhead boats are expected to arrive that day if weather permits or if ice conditions are clear enough to allow boats to travel.

It was decided that the community’s peterheads will arrive at the same time. Boats and people from Salluit will be waiting for them at Sugluk Island, about 10 kilometres north of Salluit.

While waiting for the peterheads, they can have outdoor family picnics, or pick clams for the festival or for their hosts at the island.

There will be prizes for the best-decorated and most ship-shape peterheads and first, second and third prizes for captains and crews.

Some of the highlights will include: Inuktitut music; Inuit clothing shows (musicians from the regions would have to bring their own fashion styles from their communities), a piper from the south, an old-fashioned tug-of-war between different communities, square dances, concerts and outdoor music.

Local and regional organizations have already donated funds toward the festival.

Makivik Corporation and Hydro-Quebec have each donated $25,000, and the Inuit-owned company Katinniq Transport has donated $5,000. There have also been donations from other corporate sponsors, and the suppliers of the municipal council. Air Inuit has offered 40 per cent off air fares for people wanting to participate in the festival.

But the festival committee still needs more money for transportation and fees for the musicians, and is still seeking potential sponsors.

It’s estimated that the festival will cost $200,000. Most of that is to cover the cost of transporting musicians, musicians’ fees, lodging, and to pay festival staff.

The 10-day festival is expected to draw about 1,500 people from Nunavut and Nunavik. People from Coral Harbour, Cape Dorset and Kimmirut as well as people from Inukjuak, Puvirnituq, and Akulivik are expected to arrive by peterhead.

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