Arts Whistler and Whistler Live team up for livestream concert series 

Arts organization also compiles list of online resources for entertainment and education during the pandemic

click to enlarge Some Assembly Required will be livestreaming via Whistler Live on April 17. Frontman Stephen Vogler is also doing a virtual busking show on Friday, April 3, from 7 to 8 p.m. through the Rocky Mountain Underground Facebook page. - Photo submitted
  • Some Assembly Required will be livestreaming via Whistler Live on April 17. Frontman Stephen Vogler is also doing a virtual busking show on Friday, April 3, from 7 to 8 p.m. through the Rocky Mountain Underground Facebook page. Photo submitted

Get ready to rock out in your living room.

Arts Whistler is teaming up with Whistler Live to host livestreaming concerts through April—which is good news, considering the provincial health officer on Tuesday, March 31, said British Columbians could expect self-isolating to continue throughout the month and longer.

"(Whistler Live) will manage the feed and we're coordinating acts and schedules and providing honorariums to the musicians," says Mo Douglas, executive director of Arts Whistler. "It's modest, but we want to acknowledge they're doing what they can during this time too. For a lot of them, it's meant a significant loss of income."

First up, The Hairfarmers are returning on Friday, April 3, fresh off a successful virtual show that raised nearly $50,000 for the Whistler Food Bank on March 20. The show will start at 5 p.m. on the Whistler Live Facebook or YouTube page and, this time, money raised will go to the Pemberton Food Bank. The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation has offered to match funds once again, this time up to $15,000.

Next Friday, catch The Railtown Prophets, followed by Some Assembly Required on April 17 and Kostaman on April 24. More shows could be added, depending on the interest from local bands.

"We thought it was an opportunity to share arts and entertainment with the community—and provide a whole other level of exposure for local bands," Douglas says.

Both Arts Whistler and Whistler Live will ensure the shows are held in a responsible manner with physical distancing.

"Every single one of those [shows] will be subject to ensuring, at the time of the performance, everybody in the band is well. We're obviously putting strict restrictions on that," she adds.

Meanwhile, Arts Whistler is also working on a few other projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. While their spring events might be postponed and the Maury Young Arts Centre closed, staff is compiling a resource list of remote local events taking place, as well as national and international institutions and companies offering online arts-related resources.

The organization will also post videos from its own past exhibits like The Chili Thom Experience and Don and Isobel—The Life, the Legend, the Laughter, the Leathers.

"We're curating content we're finding that's digital," Douglas says. "We're also creating a little bit of our own content. Someone has created a home-isolation scavenger hunt for adults and families [for example]."

They will continue to add to the resources list as they find new inspiration and entertainment. "We welcome local content and links people would like us to promote," she adds.

Finally, among the website's new resources will also be tips for both artists and arts organizations trying to navigate funding and resources to keep themselves afloat. Arts Whistler, for example, is trying to find out if it can redirect funding from provincial grants that was meant for events or projects that are now cancelled or postponed to use for more immediate ideas.

"We'll also have a portal for creative-sector workers, gathering everything we know for resources in the gig economy or the arts sector—what we're learning about redeploying grant money," Douglas says. "That affects more than just Arts Whistler. We're trying to be an ongoing resource for people in the sector."

To see Arts Whistler's COVID-19 resources, visit artswhistler.com.

To tune into the livestream concerts check out facebook.com/WhistlerLiveStream/.

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