AAK’W Rock Festival, a celebration of Indigenous music and culture, will return to Juneau from Thursday, September 21 through Saturday, September 23. The three-day musical event, which honors music and customs from all around the world, is presented by the Tlingit&Haida Tribes and the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council and contains 25 musical performances representing 35 Indigenous cultures from around the world. It is the only international Indigenous music festival in the country and the only one in Alaska. The festival takes place in Juneau, Alaska, on the traditional territories of the Áakʼw Ḵwáan (People of the Little Lake), also known as the Lingít (People of the Tides).
Beginning on Thursday in Juneau is an event advertised as the only Indigenous music festival in the country. The first performance of Áakʼw Rock is on Thursday at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. Since it started virtually in 2021, this is the first time the event has actually taken place. Last year, the organizers organized a fundraiser on the side stage.
Over three days, indigenous artists from Alaska, the United States, and other countries will perform.
On Tuesday, festival organizers came to Juneau Afternoon to talk about the lineup and the hype the event is generating in the music industry. According to Qacung Blanchett, their team has been invited to host similar events by individuals in various nations.
“They’re looking at us, what we’re doing, because it’s like ‘Oh wow, this festival’s happening.’ And it’s unprecedented right now,” Blanchett said.
He also performs all over the world as a member of the Inuit soul band Pamyua.
“Thirty years of me being in this scene, in this music business, there’s been nothing like this – ever,” he said.
Áakʼw Rock officially started in 2021. This year’s headliners include Ya Tseen, Halluci Nation, and Snotty Nose Rez Kids. Other local performers include Daniel Firmin and Air Jazz.
Popular Indigenous headliners like Snotty Nose Rez Kids, The Hallucination, Ya Tseen, Khu. eex, and Pamyua will perform at Áakʼw Rock, along with singer-songwriters, hip-hop artists, jazz, funk, country & soul, EDM, and many more performers from a wide range of musical genres. The Festival rocks the stage while celebrating cultural heritage.
Tickets for all three days as well as single-day passes are still available. Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall and Centennial Hall both host performances. The Juneau Arts and Culture Center will host open jam sessions every night from 7 to 9 p.m.
The festival’s organizers said they also want to involve young people. Youths aged 13 to 20 are welcome to a free youth jam on Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. One youngster under the age of nine may accompany adults who have festival tickets.
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