Kiss concert may be just the beginning 

Concert series expected to boost business by extending summer season

Kiss fans aren’t the only ones getting excited about Whistler’s concert series slated for September — organizers say the event will boost local business during the typically slow month of September.

Whistler-Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler and the Resort Municipality of Whistler have teamed up with the promotions company Big Mountain Concerts to stage the Sizzling September Concert series.

Michele Comeau Thompson, director of communications for Tourism Whistler, said September is a great time to come to Whistler; tourism numbers tend to drop during the early fall months.

“It’s still not an extremely busy month for Whistler and there’s still a lot of opportunity to bring more guests overnight and day visitors into the resort during that time frame.”

So far, Comeau Thompson said, the response to the concert series from the business community has been very positive.

“People are definitely excited about having a high-profile act like this come to Whistler.”, Tourism Whistler and RMOW’s reservation centre, started seeing immediate results after a news release about the Kiss concert went out last week.

“’s phones started ringing off the hook… they saw lots of calls coming through immediately for people who wanted to come and stay during the Kiss concert,” said Comeau Thompson.

Aside from hotel bookings, organizers say the event will create spin-off business for local restaurants and stores, as most concert-goers will pass through the village on their way up to the concert site on Blackcomb.

And Kiss won’t be the only big act coming to town for the series. Organizers plan to stage two more concerts in the weekends following the Sept. 15 th Kiss show, though the acts haven’t been announced yet.

Since the concerts are scheduled to take place over three consecutive weekends, organizers are hoping for increased tourism throughout the series.

Big Mountain Concert Company has been in the concert business for about 10 years now. They brought the Faith Hill concert to Whistler in 2004, and are responsible for co-ordinating the upcoming series.

Dennis MacDonald, president of Big Mountain, said the Kiss concert wasn’t put together at the last minute, though they announced it only about three weeks before the concert date. They’ve actually been working on co-ordinating the series for over a year.

He said it takes a long time to secure a big act like Kiss, and in this case, it was difficult because band members are busy with other projects, like Gene Simmons’s reality TV show.

“They liked the idea of doing it on the mountain, and while we had been negotiating and talking and going back and forth for a long, long time, it finally just came together,” MacDonald said.

Tickets went on sale to the general public Wednesday at 8 a.m., and within hours, all of the lowest priced tickets were sold out.

MacDonald said they even received reports of tickets landing on eBay before they went on sale.

MacDonald said the two mystery acts for the following weekends are “totally different artists” who will draw diverse crowds.

“Both of the other acts are huge international acts that everyone will know immediately, and we’ll be announcing very shortly. We’re just working on the final details.”

MacDonald said they plan to leave the staging set up between weekend performances, to allow use for local arts programming. They also hope to include local performers in the concert series, and are talking with the Whistler Arts Council to figure out who would be suitable.

Each of the partner organizations plays a different role in the planning and execution of the concert series. Tourism Whistler handles communications and marketing, as well as reservations and accommodations. Whistler-Blackcomb will be providing the venue and on-site food and beverage, while the municipality will take the lead on transportation and anything involving the village.

Comeau Thompson says there will be an increased RCMP presence in the Whistler area during the concert, and the producers will be responsible for security within the venue.

“We have a very clear distinction of roles to make sure that its all complementary and we’re covering off all of the bases, while allowing the producers to do what they do best, which is bring in major acts and put on the show,” she said.

If this year’s series is a success, the fall series could become an annual event.

“If all goes well, absolutely, I can see it moving forward into future years,” said Comeau Thompson.

“That’s certainly what we’d like to see, is something that can have some kind of continuity.”


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