In just over a month, the Tube Park on Blackcomb will be
transformed into a veritable paradise for music lovers of all tastes.
Organizers of the Whistler Music Festival, a two-day event
that will be held on Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20 from 11 a.m. until 8
p.m., have just announced the full concert lineup.
On Saturday, Thievery Corporation is the headlining act,
with supporting sets by The Roots, Bedouin Soundclash, Meshell Ndegeocello, and
Elvis Costello and The Imposters are headlining on Sunday,
following performances by Broken Social Scene, Allen Toussaint Band, Robert
Randolph & The Family Band, and Medeski, Martin & Wood.
Organizers received word that Thievery Corporation had
signed on as the second headlining act about two weeks ago, but waited to
announce until they had all of the other acts finalized so they could announce
the entire lineup at once.
Jay Sweet is a producer for the Festival Network, the
company organizing the festival.
“I actually think it speaks to the eclectic tastes of what
we… believe is the Whistler taste of music,” he said.
The acts lined up for the festival are certainly diverse,
offering everything from the hip hop stylings of The Roots to the chilled out
vibe of Thievery Corporation.
Sweet added that they believe the acts will appeal to a wide
range of people.
“At the same time, I think you’re going to find a lot of
people going to both days. I don’t think one day is different than the other
day, necessarily. I think the same people would be drawn to both days.”
Sweet said he has also been hearing “extremely positive”
feedback about the inaugural festival, both locally and further abroad.
“We just keep hearing, ‘wow, what a unique line-up!’” he
said, “It’s tied together, it’s like a smorgasbord, it’s varied, but at the
same time it’s not completely random.”
Now the line-up has been confirmed organizers are busy
organizing all of the other aspects of the festival, including nighttime events
that may incorporate local bands and performers. They’re also trying to get the
word out and let people know about the “first-class festival” that will be
taking place in our own backyard.
The festival is the result of a joint partnership between
Tourism Whistler, which will help with promotions, marketing and accommodation;
Whistler-Blackcomb, which is providing the venue; and the RMOW, which will
handle licensing for the event. The three organizations entered into a
multi-year, non-exclusive contract with Festival Network to organize events
throughout Whistler earlier this year.
Breton Murphy, spokesperson for Tourism Whistler, said the
partner organizations are very pleased with the progress the Festival Network
has made to date on their promised deliverables, especially now that they have
confirmed the line-up, and they are now moving forward to actively promote the
They hope the Whistler Music Festival will raise Whistler’s
profile during the summer months and help attract more visitors to the area.
“From what we’ve been hearing, they’ve been hearing some
positive response in terms of ticket sales,” Murphy said, adding that while
Tourism Whistler isn’t selling tickets to the festival itself they are offering
special accommodation packages that coincide with the event through
Murphy said the Whistler Music Festival will focus on the
baby boomer generation, which is a target market for the partner organizations,
while still offering acts that will appeal to a younger crowd as well.
Tickets are $67.50 per day or $120 for both days, but there
are special prices for locals, and Whistler-Blackcomb season pass and EDGE card
holders. Locals can snag a daily ticket for $57 or pay $100 for both days,
while Whistler Blackbomb pass and EDGE cardholders can get single-day passes
for $55 per day, or a weekend pass for $99.
Pemberton Festival is just one week later, from July 25
until July 27, and a three-day pass is up to $259.50.
But Sweet said they have deliberately tried to keep the
prices for the Whistler Music Festival low, especially for locals, so they can
enjoy both festivals if they choose. So far they haven’t heard any complaints.
“We’re offering a pretty good deal, especially for people within
the Whistler region,” he explained, “…We’re trying to build a concert for them,
and we’re hoping that they, in turn, realize that because we’re making it
affordable and we think we have a really good value for the dollar… there’s a
lot to see in your own backyard.”
They’re also offering volunteering options – people
can work two four-hour shifts, helping with things like information booths,
street teams, vendor setup, catering, and dressing room maintenance in exchange
for free tickets to the festival.
Locals also won’t have the additional expense of finding
accommodations or paying for camping, as the concert is within the Village.
Festival-goers are being encouraged to bring blankets and
concert chairs along to help them get comfortable and enjoy a full day of music
and entertainment. The festival will also boast a range of delicious and
diverse cuisine, and alcohol will be sold at designated areas within the venue.
Artisan and vendors will be included in the festival site as well.