Kluane's Annual Dark Sky Festival

September 20 and 21

Location: Mät’àtäna Män (Kathleen Lake) Campground and Day Use Area

Yukon’s only Dark Sky Festival takes place in late September at Mät’àtäna Män (Kathleen Lake), in Kluane National Park and Reserve. This is the fourth annual Northern Nights event created to celebrate the dark northern sky. As the midnight sun fades away, it becomes the perfect time to gaze up and marvel at the infinite night sky. Join Parks Canada and the Yukon Astronomical Society this September as we welcome the return of Northern Nights.

Festival goers can attend a variety of events including art and photography workshops, night sky walks and stories, lakeside music, and craft and activities for kids

Camping is available nearby at Kathleen Lake Campground.

Registration for workshops will start being accepted on Tuesday, September 3rd 2019.

To register for the workshops, or for more information, contact Parks Canada at 1-867-634-7207.


Schedule of activities

Friday, September 20

Festival kick-off | Dark Sky art workshop | Campfire talk | Night time photography workshop | Music at Mät’àtäna Män | Night walk star talk | Star gazing


Kluane’s 4th Annual Northern Nights Festival Opening Ceremony

6:15 pm – 6:30 pm
Join us at the Kathleen Lake Day Use Area to kick off this year’s Northern Nights Festival!

Night Sky Arts

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Reconnect with nature through art! Artist Dee Bailey will help you create your own personalized modelling clay painting to take home. During this workshop you will have the opportunity to play with oil-based, non-toxic soft clay to create a night sky themed piece of art. Participants will cover a 5x7” canvas board or jewellery case with clay using their fingers, rollers and tools. This fun workshop is available to all levels, the minimum age to participate is 10 years of age.

The workshop cost is $12 (to cover supplies).
12 spaces available.

Campfire Talk

6:30 pm to 7:15 pm
Why is the night sky so important to the environment? How is light pollution affecting the natural world around us? Join Parks Canada staff to learn more about the night sky and its value to people, animals and the park.

Night Sky Photography Workshop

7 pm to 10 pm
The Yukon in fall offers some of the best night sky photography there is and Kathleen Lake is the ultimate location! Join Yukon based photographer Mark Kelly to learn about Dark Sky Photography. Participants will gain a good understanding of how to operate their camera to capture beautiful night sky images in a social and fun environment.

To get the most out of this workshop, bring a camera that has manual settings and a sturdy tripod. A cable shutter release and wide angle lens is recommended but not necessary. The workshop will include a presentation, plenty of time to practice and instruction/coaching while under the night sky. We will be learning no matter what the weather, so bring clothing for whatever the Yukon can throw at us!

Workshop fee $25
12 spaces available.

Music at Mät’àtäna Män

8 pm to 10 pm
Come listen to our local musical talent while cozying up by the fire with some hot chocolate. Our lineup will feature bluegrass, folk and even some rock. There’s something for every style. If you want to play you can come to the Kathleen Lake Day Use Shelter armed with your guitar or your vocal chops and take a turn!

Night Walk Star Talk

9 pm to 9:40 pm and 9:50 pm to 10:30 pm
Join local naturalist, Brent Liddle for a short walk in the dark followed by a talk about the constellations overhead. To participate you will need to bring a headlamp or flashlight and be ready to sit on the beach gazing up at the night sky (dress warm!). 2 walks approximately 45 minutes each – no charge

Star Gazing

10:30 pm to midnight
Bring a camping chair and a cozy blanket and learn about the stars and planets that surround us. The Yukon Astronomical Society will be on hand equipped with high powered telescopes to explore space and everything it has to offer.

In case of rain they will show a movie in the day use shelter.


Saturday, September 21

Pancake breakfast | Dark Sky Kids Club | Rocket roast | Space talks | Traditional stories | Dark Sky art workshop | Night time photography workshop | Starlight concert | Star gazing


Pancake Breakfast

9 am to 11 am
After a long night of stargazing nothing fills you up better than delicious pancakes! Bring a plate, your favourite toppings, an empty stomach and we’ll fill them!

Pancakes provided by the Royal Astronomical Society.
$5 by donation.

Dark Sky Kids Club

12:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Hey kids, join us for some wiggling and squiggling and some creative craft time. Night sky creations, building rockets and some fun movement will be ongoing for young night sky enthusiasts. Sport Yukon will be on hand to provide “astronaut training” for youngsters! Astronaut training will teach kids the basic fundamental movement skills required to move and play as part of healthy child development.

Hot Dog Roast, Rocket Launch and Parka!

3:30 pm to 5 pm
Now it’s time to launch your rocket into the sky. Then enjoy some time around the fire, take a photo and meet Parka!

Hot dog roast provided by the Royal Astronomical Society.
$3,00 by donation – bring your own plate!

Royal Astronomical Society Presentation

5:30 pm to 6:30 pm
Learn from the experts about star-gazing, light pollution and aurora viewing in the North. They can answer any space related questions you might have.

Traditional Stories

6:30 pm and 7:30 pm
Gather around the fire and listen to traditional stories with John Fingland, a Champagne and Aishihik First Nations citizen, while enjoying some delicious bannock on a stick.

Night Sky Arts

6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Reconnect with nature through art! Artist Dee Bailey will help you create your own personalized modelling clay painting to take home. During this workshop you will have the opportunity to play with oil-based, non-toxic soft clay to create a night sky themed piece of art. Participants will cover a 5x7” canvas board or jewellery case with clay using their fingers, rollers and tools. This fun workshop is available to all levels, the minimum age to participate is 10 years of age.

The workshop cost is $12 (to cover supplies).
12 spaces available.

Nighttime Photography Workshop

7 pm to 10 pm
The Yukon in fall offers some of the best night sky photography there is and Kathleen Lake is the ultimate location! Join Yukon based photographer Mark Kelly to learn about dark sky photography. Participants will gain a good understanding of how to operate their camera to capture beautiful night sky images in a social and fun environment.

To get the most out of this workshop, bring a camera that has manual settings and a sturdy tripod. A cable shutter release and wide angle lens is recommended but not necessary. The workshop will include a presentation, plenty of time to practice and instruction/coaching while under the night sky. We will be learning no matter what the weather, so bring clothing for whatever the Yukon can throw at us!

Workshop fee $25
12 spaces available

Starlight Concert

7:30 pm to 10:30 pm
Enjoy live music with Roland Roberts, from Palmer Alaska, as the sun sets behind the mountains and the stars come out to play! 

Star Gazing

10:30 pm to midnight
Didn’t get to see the stars the first night? You might get lucky on the second night. The Royal Astronomical Society will be on hand to show us some more constellation and planets through their incredible scopes. In case of rain they will show a movie in the day use shelter.