What are Your Plans the Weekend of National Aboriginal Day?

The arrival of the summer solstice and National Aboriginal Day on June 21 can’t come soon enough. At the network, the APTN family is in the midst of planning its 9th annual Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration (ADL&C) on Saturday, June 20 to honour the day.

It’s a tradition for the network to travel to another city to celebrate ADL&C. Last year, the network visited the East Coast and set-up the show to honour the nations of the region. The support was nothing less than overwhelmingly positive from everyone – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal – who flocked in droves to the Halifax waterfront. It was the largest turnout for a twin stage ever!

To recognize National Aboriginal Day, APTN will celebrate the beauty and diversity of our Peoples live from The Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba and for the first time ever from – our twin stage – Louise McKinney Riverfront Park in Edmonton, Alberta.

If you live in Winnipeg and the surrounding area, or if you are up for a fun filled summer road trip with some pals, APTN invites you to join the happenings at The Forks for Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration. The event is FREE and is a stacked day of hands-on cultural activities that showcase our rich history. The celebration kicks-off at 11:00 a.m. and no tickets or wristbands are needed, just show up at The Forks. That’s way more affordable than most events on the summer festival circuit!

Ever-popular additions to the celebration will also return. The Skateboard Park & Competition – brought to you by Rhythm 104.7 FM is back. And the activities get rolling at 1:00 p.m. and they wind down at 6:00 p.m. On-air personalities will also be on-site to bring their show live to the radio airwaves, and the ramps and skateboard rails will be off the wall. Pop down to start mastering your craft with the latest tricks and flips from local skaters, or take in a demo if you enjoy being a spectator from the sides of the bowl. You can even participate in a competition and end up strutting away with some super sweet prizes! If the action at the skate park doesn’t get you going, nothing compares to how the beat of a drum can lift your spirit and move your soul.

At the hub of the Celebration Village is the Cultural Stage (formally known as the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Stage) – now one stage instead of three stages – and this is a place where people will flock in droves to check out our amazing array of song and dance. And there’ll be the Aboriginal Day Competition Pow Wow – brought to you by Manito Ahbee Festival. The Grand Entry starts at 1:00 p.m., just head to the east side of the festival grounds to take in this moment of wonderment and stay a while.

This is also the longest day of the year and the summer solstice – bask in the rays and enjoy it. But be sure to stay put at The Forks for the Aboriginal Day Live concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. Even if you can’t make it down for the day’s activities, come down for the live show. And don’t forget your lawn chair, beach chair or blanket if you feel like having a seat.

There’s no chance that you’ll be without options to munch if you stay the entire day and well into the night. Locally-sourced food trucks and vendors with fare will be there to nourish your tastes. Yes – some of the best bannock and bannock burgers will be on sale– for sure!

Now for music, the masterminds behind the concert have put together yet another stellar lineup that will entice you with a smashing onstage display of Indigenous superstars. And more important is the music each musician creates and what they have to offer: the excitement, the gratification and the energy that they add to the celebration. And the co-hosts bring all those amazing things just as well!

So, who’s part of the lineup this time around?

From the Winnipeg main stage, awardwinning actor, producer and so much more, Tina Keeper of North of 60 fame and another local Kyle Nobess of Mohawk Girls – team up as co-hosts for the Aboriginal Day Live concert. Performances this year include an Andy Dejarlais Tribute performed by Patti Kusturok, Ashley Buchholtz & Ontario Youth, Brett Kissell, Don Amero, Federal Lights, Lightning Cloud, marijosée, and Mike Bone.

While everyone has their own musical preferences and all musicians on the bill are worthy of a listen, there are more than a few acts that could be your vibe.

Federal Lights are a foursome of Winnipeggers who perform an awardwinning style of alternative pop. Emerging on the scene with their debut release, We Were Found in The Fog, has garnered this gang the ‘Aboriginal Recording of the Year’ at the 2014 Western Canadian Music Awards.

Give them a listen at federallights.org or find them on Instagram at federallights.

The duo from LightningCloud are based out of Los Angeles, and they’re making another special trip north to join the Winnipeg show. Crystle Lightning and MC RedCloud mix West Coast hip hop and electronic trap and deliver a vibrant, multimedia stage performance.

Listen to LightningCloud at lightningcloud.bandcamp.com.

APTN is also excited to welcome Mike Bone back to the Winnipeg main stage. They’ve performed on America’s Got Talent, and their hit song “Rain Dance” exploded across the U.S.A. These guys are twinlike brothers who are a hip hop duo from Oklahoma City.

Check out Mike Bone at mikebonenation.com Adding sparks to the show, music collaborations have become a significant part of the concert, and this year Brett Kissel and Don Amero will pair-up to perform a song dedicated to the bridging of relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal folks. Now, let’s head a bit out West.

If you live in or near Edmonton, APTN invites you to celebrate and take pride in the First Nations of the surrounding areas. Join the celebration, FREE activities, LIVE concert and experience the fascinating mosaic of Aboriginal culture at Louise McKinney Riverfront Park. The celebration starts at noon and the concert kicks-off at 6:30 p.m. You don’t need a ticket, just show up with your pals and/or family.

From the Edmonton twin stage, APTN deluxe hosts Don Kelly of Fish Out of Water and Michelle Thrush of Blackstone team up as co-hosts for the Aboriginal Day Live concert. The twin stage features a lineup of musicians from many nations and provinces.

A familiar face, Crystal Shawanda performed at the Winnipeg main stage in 2013 and now she joins the twin stage. Shawanda grew up with the musical heritage of the Wikwemikong First Nation on Canada’s Manitoulin Island. Based in Nashville – aka Music City, USA – this JUNO award winner and country music chart-topper sings deep sounding roots, blues and Americana.

Derek Miller is head-turner from the Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario, and he’s a singer-songwriter who mixes “hillbilly soul with some Mohawk/Onondaga swagger.” Miller’s also been awarded ‘Best Blues CD’ at the 2012 and 2013 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards.

There’s also George Canyon, an east coaster and Nova Scotian but now resides in Alberta. Canyon shares his journey through songs inspired by integrity and dedication to his family. He’s also amassed multiple awards – including JUNOS and a Canadian Country Music Award for ‘Humanitarian of the Year.’

From northern Alberta is Ghostkeeper, now a Calgary-based foursome. Traditional storytelling influences are at the core of their lyrics that are layered with noisy blues and a catchy pop sensibility. The result is an organic, energizing, and heartfelt sound.

Inuvialuit and Dene roots add to the core of Leanne Goose’s country, blues and inflections of the guitar tunes. Her lyrics originate from the heart of the Mackenzie Delta, adding a distinct northern flavour to the show.

From the West Coast and Vancouver is Murray Porter. He’s a Mohawk master of the piano from the Six Nations of the Grand River. Porter’s shaped his own style of blues, country and humour, and when he hits the stage, audiences follow his foot-stomping, hand-clapping blues lead.

Originally from Sucker Creek First Nation in northern Alberta, Nathan Cunningham is a country singer who blends his inspiration from many genres but stays true to his calling of the country sound. Cunningham’s release, Road Renditions, perked up ears in 2013 when he claimed ‘Best Country CD’ and ‘Male Entertainer of the Year’ at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards.

Also, Northern Cree Singers has released over 30 albums and is comprised of members from throughout the Treaty 6 regions. Their work is found on the soundtrack for the Hollywood blockbuster Grey Owl. To top it off, they’re the only Canadian Aboriginal group to ever be nominated – many times over – for GRAMMY Awards.

What a lineup for Edmonton!

You’re also invited to join the conversation anytime on Twitter or Instagram by tagging your posts with #ADL2015, and the network will share them with its followers. Noteworthy posts that honour the celebration and its happenings could be added to the LIVE broadcast.

Join APTN LIVE from Winnipeg and Edmonton, from wherever you are via television, radio waves, Internet airwaves and mobile devices. That’s the latest for now, but you can keep tabs on ADL&C at aboriginaldaylive.ca!

Aboriginal Day Live airs Saturday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m. MT on APTN West, 7:30p.m. CT on APTN North and 8:30 p.m. ET on APTN East and APTN HD.