‘Uniquely Whistler celebrations’ to take place in village 

Whistler Live! presents details of entertainment lineup for Olympics and Paralympics

Organizers of Whistler Live! were able to paint a much clearer picture of what the village will look like for the Olympics during a presentation to council on Tuesday afternoon.

John Rae, executive producer of Whistler Live!, was joined by the director of the Cultural Olympiad, Robert Kerr, as well as the executive director of the Whistler Arts Council, Doti Niedermayer, and Whistler Live! festival director, Kristen Robinson, as they laid out some of the details of the almost $7 million program. The presentation was a precursor to two resolutions that went before the mayor and council later that day.

At Tuesday's evening meeting, council formalized a $2.8 million transfer to the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC) for the operations of Whistler Medals Plaza. In the same agreement, VANOC will pay the resort municipality $3 million toward the capital costs of the plaza.

While VANOC is responsible for all aspects of the medals plaza during the Games, the Whistler Live! team will be working closely with Olympic organizers as it makes plans for the six live sites throughout the village.

Rae explained the mission of the Whistler Live! program is to "deliver a uniquely Whistler winter celebration of sport, culture and entertainment that will captivate, inspire and create lasting memories for residents, athletes and visitors."

Niedermayer emphasized that WAC's central role in the event is ensuring that Sea to Sky artists are represented during the Olympics. They will be issuing a call for artists in the coming weeks, then coordinating the jury process to select the successful candidates. Ultimately, 40 per cent of content will be English Canadian, 20 per cent French Canadian, 20 per cent Sea to Sky, 15 per cent international, and five per cent First Nations.

Kerr explained that the Cultural Olympiad team is at the disposal of the Whistler Live! organizers, and that Whistler is part of a four-city agreement involving Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver to share and coordinate talent and performances. While Kerr admitted the organization process is lengthy, he said everything is playing out according to schedule.

While 100 per cent of the programming won't be confirmed until the end of January, Rae said following the meeting that they plan to announce four acts on Monday, Sept. 21, two of which will be "Canadian household names." As more acts are announced, the information and daily detailed schedules will be posted on www.whistler2010.com , which should go live in October. Organizers also plan to advertise in local publications and social media sites.

Whistler Live! consists of six live sites scattered throughout the village. Here's a breakdown of what each site will look like:

• Village Common: A 30' by 50' tent will house the Whistler Live! studio, which will be the control station for all of the sites and the home base for all production and broadcast of film and digital arts. This space will be open to the public 15 hours a day and will include an area for interviews and plasma screens, as well as posted daily schedules and transportation information. If an emergency were to occur, the area would act as a crisis centre.

• Skiers Plaza: From 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., this area is where CTV sports broadcasts will originate. It will also host street performers, the Mountain as Canvas art show, and a nightly Olympic-sized fire and ice show. MuchMusic will be broadcasting from the GLC, though it will also remain open to the public.

• Mountain Square: CTV will go live to Canada from their broadcast studio 22 hours per day in this area.

• Village Square: Also used by CTV for sports coverage, this area will be home to the bulk of the live music performances (38 during the Olympics, 20 during Paralympics) that will take place on a 44' by 24' stage. Digital screen art and street performers will also be using this site.

• Town Plaza: The hub for interactive art and family programming, this site will feature the OMEGA bobsleigh photo station, Sea to Sky artists painting live, and live performances by artists like Norman Foote and Fred Penner.

• Medals Plaza: An official VANOC venue, this site will host nightly medals ceremonies and concerts from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. on the largest stage that's ever been in Whistler: 100' by 50'. People will need tickets (free) to access this site, because capacity is 5,000. Whistler's medals plaza will be programmed every night of the Games. B.C. Place, home of the Vancouver medals' presentations, will be dark three nights of the Games. More medals will be awarded in Whistler than in Vancouver.

- With files from Alison Taylor



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