WSSF lineup includes some big names 

Reggae, rock, house and hip hop - this year's Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival has it all.

"We had some big names last year like I Mother Earth, Edwin and Rascalz, and this year we really decided to go after variety," says Kristen Robinson, Producer of Events and Entertainment for Resort Communications Group.

"There's a few reasons for that. The first weekend of the festival is Easter, so we wanted to make sure we're offering a product that appeals to families," says Robinson.

Kicking off the nine day lineup is Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, made up of Lenny Kravitz's former sax player accompanied by Stevie Wonder's ex-band members. Canadian chantreuse, Ivana Santilli, and the 12-piece Jamaican reggae band, Luciano, will keep children, parents and the more party-hardy all dancing over the holiday weekend.

Several themed nights are planned for the main stage. Check out rockers Staggered Crossing and Finger Eleven on April 18 th . For hip hop and house, don't miss the show on the 20 th , featuring Dilated Peoples, Beat Junkies and MC Supernatural. Templar, Choclair and Juno-award winners Swollen Members are just a few more names coming to town.

But should you miss one of your favourites on the main stage, watch for them in a more intimate venue after dark. A large majority of these names will be playing second shows in local clubs.

"In the past, the mainstage has been sponsored separately from the acts in the clubs at night, which are sponsored by Kokanee," says Robinson. "So they've really been disconnected. Last year was the first time we tried to connect to the two. We tried it a little late in the game. We didn't really have enough time to facilitate a solid product. This year still isn't perfect, but it's great when the performers have the opportunity to drop in a second show. Most of these acts are free or very little cover, too."

Whistler's own music community will be prominent in the Kokanee Free Ride series apres and evenings. You can find live music in at least three venues every night. The only regret Robinson has is not being able to showcase the local talent on the main stage.

"It is something that comes up every year. but overall we have to realize we do have our locals out there doing tons of executions in the evening and at the same time we're able to bring something new to the resort on the main stage.

"We only have the opportunity to generally put two bands on the main stage at the same time. We have a great new sponsor and we do have a responsibility to live up to their name with bands that are known nationally or internationally."

That new sponsor is Yahoo! And with Yahoo!, the WSSF will be going cyber. A live Web-cast of all main stage performances will be seen on Yahoo!, bringing the music - and Whistler - to screens around the world, making it possibly one of the biggest musical events this resort has ever seen.

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