Salmonfest Returns to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds This Weekend

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Salmonfest 2022, a weekend-long concert celebrating everything salmon, gets underway Friday, Aug. 5, at Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds, with five stages, 65 bands, and over 100 vendors.

Headliners this year range from Texas musician Shakey Graves to Rising Appalachia, the California Honeydrops, Kyle Hollinsworth and Canadian-American singer-songwriter and guitarist Steve Poltz.

Since 2015, Salmonfest has donated over $150,000 to salmon and related initiatives.

All 5,200 tickets to the event are sold out. The event also includes nearly 1,000 staff, vendors, plus band guests and another 1,000 children eligible for free admission and others over three-days of Salmonfest.

Events on tap at the 2022 festivities include the Smoked Salmon Super Bowl, sponsored by Salmonfest and Catch 29. Smoked salmon from Salmon Sisters, Saltwood Smokehouse, Kodiak Fresh Seafood, Tanner’s Alaskan Seafood, Custom Seafoods and Alaska Sausage and Seafood will be judged by a panel of musicians performing at the festival and local Alaskan seafood specialists, among them chefs, fishmongers and fishermen. Winners will be announced Sunday, Aug. 7.

A popular feature of the family-oriented event is the Salmon Causeway, with numerous options to learn about, engage in and take action on salmon related issues. Folks manning these booths are eager to talk with festival goers about the status of salmon habitat and how everyone can help ensure healthy habitat for years to come.

Salmonfest began in 2011 as Salmonstock, to rally people in support of the famed Bristol Bay wild sockeye salmon fishery and in opposition to the proposed copper, gold and molybdenum Pebble mine, bordering on the Bristol Bay watershed in southwest Alaska.

Early efforts of the festival to spread the word about the importance of salmon spawning habitat garnered it special mention under the stewardship of the Renewable Resources Foundation.

In 2015 Salmonfest received the National Wildlife Federation’s award for the 501c3 Affiliate of the Year. 501c3 is a federal tax exception granted by the Internal Revenue Service for nonprofit organizations. When the renewable Resources Foundation went on hiatus, festival producer Jim Stearns of Homer, Alaska moved the festival stewardship to Kachemak Bay Conservation Society, where it has remained.

Stearns, who formerly was part of the Grateful Dead’s staff, has for years worked to increase awareness and raise money for conservation and humanitarian causes.