Musical mayhem 

Organizers announce Elvis Costello and The Imposters, The Roots, and more to perform at Whistler’s summer music festival

click to enlarge Elvis Costello
  • Elvis Costello

The Coca Cola Tube Park will play host to some special guests during the first Whistler Music Festival this summer.

The inaugural event, which is being organized by the Festival Network, is set to take place at Base 2 on Blackcomb on July 19 and 20, the same week as the Vancouver Folk Festival and just one week before an expected 40,000 people descend upon the Sea to Sky corridor for the Pemberton Festival.

Organizers announced on Tuesday that Elvis Costello and The Imposters will be one of the headlining acts, with The Roots, Broken Social Scene, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Medeski Martin & Wood, Bedouin Soundclash and Serena Ryder also taking the stage during the two-day event.

There are also offers on the table to a few other artists, and Jay Sweet, producer for Festival Network, said they expect at least two more acts will be added in the coming days, and are hoping to be able to release a detailed performance schedule soon.

In the meantime, they decided to release the names of the artists they have secured to build some excitement within the community.

“We just said, ‘hey, we’re going to have this great festival, we have some amazing acts already signed on, let’s just get this thing rolling!’”

Sweet said the lineup is designed to appeal to an open-minded, eclectic audience with a sophisticated ear.

“We’re always trying to serve a very sophisticated audience — people that like all types of music and aren’t expecting just one thing to turn them on,” he explained. “I think we’re all just so open to new things, and that’s the kind of audience we’re hoping to draw.”

The idea is that the diverse range of musicians will feed off of one another’s energy, and the enthusiasm from the crowd.

“If they feel it, then they’re going to put on a great show,” Sweet added.

The festival is the result of a joint partnership of Tourism Whistler, who will help with promotions, marketing and accommodation, the RMOW, who will handle licensing, and Whistler-Blackcomb, who are providing the venue.

Earlier this year, the three entities signed a multi-year non-exclusive contract with Festival Network to organize various events throughout Whistler.

Breton Murphy, spokesperson for Tourism Whistler, said they are very pleased with the progress Festival Network has made on the Whistler Music Festival so far, but added that they are still doing their due diligence, waiting to make sure that organizers meet all of the agreed-upon deliverables, like securing their second headlining act, before they stand behind the event 100 per cent.

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