A very hairy New Year 

Whistler originals all over town on New Year's Eve

Who: The Hairfarmers

Where: First Night/Dusty's

When: Dec. 31

They met at a hippie wedding along the Birkenhead River back in 1997.

"Doug's band was booked to play. They showed up with all the gear and a generator. The bride and groom were mutual friends of myself as well.

"Lo and behold, Doug and his old partner were playing together and it turned into a 6 a.m. jam session until the sun came up," recalls Greg Reamsbottom, a.k.a. Grateful Greg, one half of Whistler acoustic duo the Hairfarmers.

"With the right medication, we weren't lazy," adds the other half, Whistler legend "Guitar Doug" Craig.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Doug was already a fixture in Whistler's music scene, having moved to the area in the 1980s. And when Greg arrived in 1999, the two joined forces and hit Whistler with their harmonies and their long flowing locks as the so-named Hairfarmers. As an apres act they've become pretty much unbeatable. Ask anyone who's been to Merlin's during the high-season on a payday Friday.

While they're an incomparable pair, the Farmers have their own things going on in this town - Greg wails like Plant for Whole Lotta Led; Doug is world-renowned as the Daddy-O of the Patio for his springtime apr├Ęs solo sessions. And there are countless other Celtic, reggae, and jam band incarnations featuring one or both members of the hirsute duo.

But together, they are Whistler's favourite singing ski-bums. Laid back, righteous dudes with an arsenal of favourite AM radio rockers: Eagles, Skynyrd, The Band, Dylan, Petty. Of course, they'll always surprise you since the boys can play damn near anything. Don't be surprised to hear Black Sabbath on their roster. They could probably even play Madonna if someone really felt like hearing two longhaired dudes sing Like a Virgin.

"We play pretty much what we feel like playing. We never have a set list," says Doug.

They're so adaptable they'll show up at not one, but two New Year's Eve parties this Wednesday. From 7 to 9 p.m. they'll rule the stage at the Village Square for the First Night crowd before heading over to Dusty's in Creekside from 10 p.m. on. It's going to be Doug's 15 th New Year's Eve in this town, and Greg's going on five Whistler New Years on top of the countless others he's logged in other locales.

The Dusty's gig is shaping up to be a classic ski town New Year's Eve, and the relaxed Creekside bar is exactly the kind of place where you'd expect to see a couple of longhairs playin' gee-tar and singin' their rock 'n' roll music. But the Farmers aren't writing off the more family-oriented First Night gig.

"It's fun having kids in the audience," says Greg.

"Kids are the audience that nobody really goes after," Doug adds. "It's kind of a wasted opportunity because kids are the most receptive of all. What more would you want as a musician - to have someone with untainted ears."

"Plus," says Greg, "kids are always the first ones up dancing."

Tickets for the alcohol-free First Night Whistler celebrations are $15 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under. Tickets for Dusty's New Year's Eve party are $75, including a BBQ buffet. For more information on First Night call 604-932-5535. For Dusty's call 604-905-2146.

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