GO Fest has music, art, film, green events — all topped with pancakes 

The May long weekend festival enters its second year with more on offer

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MIKE CRANE, COURTESY OF TOURISM WHISTLER - Celebrate Spring The Sheepdogs perform to a crowd at the first GO Fest in 2014. April Wine headlines this year.
  • Photo by Mike Crane, Courtesy of Tourism Whistler
  • Celebrate Spring The Sheepdogs perform to a crowd at the first GO Fest in 2014. April Wine headlines this year.

GO Fest, May long weekend. Where to start?

It's just the second year of the four-day Great Outdoors Festival (GO Fest) — which takes place throughout the resort from Friday, May 15 to Monday, May 18 — but it is already established as a popular festival with plenty to choose from, both in terms of sporting activities and arts events for all ages.

"There's real momentum going into the second year. We're really noticing it," says Darren Kinnaird, the general manager of GO Fest organizer Crankworx Events.

"We've tried to develop more family programming this year. We've got a day camp for kids... we've tried to take things to the next level."

New this year is GO Green, a series of Earth-friendly adventures. Events at GO Green include environmentalist speaker Tamo Campos, grandson of David Suzuki, who will talk about climate change and his organization Beyond Boarding at Millennium Place on Friday, May 15. Tickets are $10.

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday (May 16 to 18), there are guided talks with the ecology of Water, Earth and Snow as themes, using canoeing, ziplining and more. Tickets range from $35 to $80.

There will also be GO Green exhibitors throughout the weekend at the Town Plaza Stroll.

"We've had a lot of local businesses get involved; people are especially excited about GO Green," GO Fest organizer Kristin Robinson says. "Weaving in a green message to GO Fest will be really successful, I think."

As well, Whistler Blackcomb is holding its first Instameet — #WBInstameet. Popular Instagram users connect with their fans in a photosharing-social media extravaganza built around Whistler and what it has to offer.

There are events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Whistler Olympic Plaza. Visit www.greatoutdoorsfest.com/instameet.php for more information.

These influential Instagrammers include Wilderness_Culture, who has 419,000 followers, alongside local and international names — Theexpeditioners, ExpeditionersBella, InstameetVancouver, Brookewillson, Roundtheworldgirl, PebbleShoo, ReubenKrabbe, MikeHelfrichPhoto, and charliegrinnell.

And the White Dog Gallery in Creekside is a major participant this year with Painting the Peaks. Three events are taking place at the gallery: Picasso Portrait Party — making a self-portrait in the style of the great Spanish painter; Bearly Art Sculpting — guided sculpture making; and the Great GO Fest Canvas Mural Party — a community canvas. Visit www.greatoutdoorsfest.com/painting-the-peaks.php for more information.

Robinson says: "Considering it's an up-and-coming festival, we've had great support. Penny (Eder, the owner of the White Dog Gallery) has been a great person. She came to us last year and wanted to get involved."

A film competition, the GoPro GO Show presented by Whistler Blackcomb, is back this year.

Six athletes, each packing a GoPro Hero 4+ Black edition camera, will compete for a winner-takes-all prize of $2,000. The goal of each film is to capture the essence of May in Whistler. The films will be shown at the Garibaldi Lift Company on Sunday, May 17, at 7 p.m. Free admission.

Other events include the Whistler Film Festival Adventure Film series (see story on page 75), the Sacred Headwaters exhibit at the Millennium Place gallery, the Whistler Farmers' Market, and a pancake breakfast at Whistler Public Library on Friday, May 15, at 10 a.m. until noon.

Robinson says she thinks it will be a great weekend.

"It's funny, when I finally had a little time to step back at look at the website, I was like 'Wow, that's cool!' The only hard part is that I won't be able to do all these awesome things," she says.

Musically speaking, the weekend is filled with free concerts.

Halifax rock band April Wine headlines the festival on Friday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m.

Victoria roots band Current Swell takes to the stage on Saturday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m. (For an interview see page 69.)

On Sunday, May 17, Dustin Bentall and Kendel Carson perform at 7:30 p.m., followed by Barney Bentall, Jim Byrnes and John Mann at 8:15 p.m.

And Monday, May 18, is a day for local musicians, with the Will Ross Band (2 p.m.), Dakota Pearl (3 p.m.) and Willa (4 p.m.) performing.

All shows are in the Village Square.

Of the music for the festival, Robinson says: "They're a great collection of artists all at different points of their career. No matter the style of music, you'll be able to admire whoever is onstage. And it's really fun to showcase bands from Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton as well."

Also this weekend is the All-Brit Run and Car Show on Sunday, May 17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Over 100 British-built classic vehicles from the early 1950s to late 1960s will drive up the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver then go on display at Whistler Olympic Plaza.

Look out for MGs, Triumphs, Jaguars, Austin Healeys, Morgans and Rolls Royces — and talk to the owners, who will be on hand to answer questions.

The event is free.

For more information on the festival and tickets to many events, visit www.greatoutdoorsfest.com.



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