Clarion file photo

Clarion file photo

Festival returns with new identity

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the festival’s website. It is

This summer, a familiar music festival will be held on the Kenai Peninsula, but with a few minor changes.

Salmonfest, the reincarnation of Salmonstock, will be held July 31-Aug. 2 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik. The event is a celebration of fish, love and music.

The festival’s name change is a result of new partnership. While the Renewable Resources Foundation presented Salmonstock in previous years, Salmonfest is associated with the Kachemak Bay Conservation Society.

Despite the name change, the family-friendly festival will share similar causes with its predecessor.

“Salmonfest will carry on the vision of protecting Alaskan salmon and its habitat throughout the state,” according to a press release from the event’s organizers.

Salmonfest also has another key remnant of Salmonstock – its organizers.

“The important thing is Salmonfest is being produced by the same festival producers as Salmonstock,” said Jeffrey Abel, the festival’s assistant producer. “It’s the same high quality show that was put on in the past.”

The festival’s organizers are confident that attendees, which are expected to reach nearly seven thousand, will be pleased with the quality of music this year.

“We’re really excited,” said Jim Stearns, the festival’s producer. “We’re expecting the strongest lineup we’ve ever had.”

This year, 13-time Grammy Award winning artist Emmylou Harris will perform with Rodney Crowell to headline the event. Other acts include Moonalice, The Dirty River Ramblers and The Motet. Stearns said more big acts would be announced in the coming weeks.

Stearns said that typically around 50 acts perform during the weekend, including nearly a dozen national acts. He said that each year, bigger acts want to play the festival and are prepared to travel all the way to Alaska to perform.

“They’re willing to roll the dice,” Stearns said. “We have a proven track record, and they trust us and know we’ll put on a great show.”

Stearns said one of the biggest challenges of having a successful event, is trying to accommodate all the new people that want to participate, whether bands or vendors.

He said that he receives hundreds of applications from bands wanting to play the festival.

“The more successful you get, the more everyone wants to participate,” Stearns said.

The event’s organizers are pleased a music festival on the Kenai Peninsula is proving to be successful.

“It’s such a great internal satisfaction that people enjoy the show,” Abel said. “To make such a great thing that people enjoy – it’s a lot of hard work, but it pays off.”


Tickets are currently on sale at


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Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion In this July 2, 2013 file photo, uudience members dance through a haze of bubbles during The Big Wu's show at Salmonstock in Ninilchik, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion In this July 2, 2013 file photo, uudience members dance through a haze of bubbles during The Big Wu’s show at Salmonstock in Ninilchik, Alaska.

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