WOMAD interested in Squamish world music festival 

Arts News: Whistler ArtWalk moved to fall; Missoula Community Theatre returns

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The WOMAD festival (World of Music, Arts and Dance) has turned its gaze away from Whistler and towards Squamish.

Tom Corbeth of WOMAD Canada made a presentation at the regular council meeting of the District of Squamish on April 19 on the possibility of holding the festival there in 2017.

"We thought that with the cancellation of the Squamish Valley (Music Festival) (SVMF) that it would be a perfect opportunity to have a look at what was available here, what had happened over the past few years," Corbeth told council.

"It would be the first WOMAD in North America and for WOMAD that is quite important."

He told Squamish council that Whistler became unavailable following the announcement of the Renaissance redevelopment plans at the Base II on Blackcomb Mountain.

Corbeth said he believed 60,000 would attend WOMAD, which was founded in England by musician Peter Gabriel in 1982. The aim of the family-oriented festival is to celebrate international music, arts and dance.

The Squamish event would be one of almost 200 international WOMADs held to date around the world, including New Zealand, Chile and the Canary Islands. Corbeth told Squamish council he believes the festival would generate $4 million in revenue for the community.

Corbeth added that a connection to First Nations would be integral to a Canadian WOMAD.

The next step is continued meetings between WOMAD organizers and District of Squamish staff.

The Squamish Valley Music Festival cancelled the 2016 event without explanation in March. A request by Pique for an interview with SVMF organizers to discuss the cancellation was declined.

Whistler ArtWalk moved to fall

The Whistler Arts Council (WAC) has moved its annual ArtWalk event from summer to the fall.

The event pairs artists and local businesses, creating pop-up galleries at locations around Whistler.

"ArtWalk started in Whistler almost 14 years ago and has grown more successful each year," wrote WAC's marketing manager Jen Stone in an email.

"Whistler has come a long way in the past few years with events and concerts running throughout the summer. In order to avoid crowding the summer events and give ArtWalk a little more spotlight, we have decided to launch just before the Labour Day weekend, at the start of September."

Stone says ArtWalk will continue until the end of November, extending the event to three months rather than the tradition two months. It will end with the annual Christmas craft sale, Bizarre Bazaar.

"The longer event will enable artists to showcase their work in high-traffic venues when visitors are looking for indoor activities, and as they begin to shopping for the approaching holiday season," Stone wrote.

Artist and business applications for 2016 ArtWalk are on the WAC website at www.artswhistler.com/events/artwalk.

Open house for Gateway Loop

The Resort Municipality of Whistler is holding an open house for the Gateway Loop Enhancement Project, due to start in September. The project aims to rejuvenate the bus hub in Whistler Village.

The open house will take place at the Whistler Public Library on Wednesday, May 4, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Missoula Community Theatre returns

The Missoula Community Theatre returns to Whistler schools with a production of Sleeping Beauty.

The theatre will spend the week of May 2 to 5 in workshops with children in Kindergarten to Grade 7, culminating in performances at the Maury Young Arts Centre on Friday, May 6 at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The audition is in the gym at Myrtle Philip Community School on May 2 at 3 p.m. The cost for attending the acting workshops for the students selected to be in the cast is $60.

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