Musical diversity hits the stage at Whistler

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 Whistler's own Animal Nation will bring hip-hop to the Whistler Presents Concert Series.
Photo courtesy of Nick Vail Photography

Hear Beethoven to the English Beat in a spectacular setting

KENZA MOLLER

Whistler, BC – Nestled inside the core of Whistler Village is the Olympic Plaza, a sprawling lawn surrounded by performance stages that remain as a legacy of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Ever since 2011, the space has been used to offer up a steady stream of festivals and events, courtesy of the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

Entering its third year now, the Whistler Presents concert series will see performances from a mix of local musicians, up-and-coming young artists, and long-established international favourites.

Music all summer long

The Olympic Plaza can accommodate 8,000 people, but organizers are expecting to see everything from 500 to 5,000 visitors stream in daily to attend the free concerts. After a long day of mountain biking and a pint at the nearby Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar & Grill, both Whistler residents and those new to town can catch a show at the Olympic Plaza.

The series runs all summer long, beginning on June 29 with performances by the Daniel Lapp Band and Matt Dusk; September 1 sees the concert series out with final acts by Jeremy Thom, Animal Nation, Ali Milner, and Current Swell.

Amazing artists

“The foundation of this festival is some really great musicians,” said Kristen Robinson, of the brand LIVE group coordinating the concert series. “We’re really proud of this venue and the opportunity to build this amazing experience right in town.”

The Olympic Plaza overlooks the snowy peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb and is centred in the Olympic Village, making the concert series easily accessible.

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will play five shows throughout the series as well, bringing a touch of Beethoven to Whistler’s slopes and a little more variety to the line-up of new artists, local hits, and international stars.

The Whistler Presents lineup

Animal Nation – Animal Nation is a band whose roots are in Whistler itself. Their new album Don’t Grow Up Like Us – released along with group Sly Business - was released April 20, 2013, and they launched their album tour in May. This hip-hop band has been described as an “oratory cure-all” and they regularly encourage their audience to interact with their music.

54-40 – With roots in gritty post-punk Vancouver, 54-40 got their start playing in run-down jam spaces beneath East Vancouver bridges. 30 years, 16 releases, and 2000 performances later, this long-time Canadian band has built up a large following that enjoys the ever-changing new sounds that 54-40 has with each album released.

Hey Ocean! – This young trio has been around for less than four years, but with its unique pop sound and captivating stage presence, they have quickly spread throughout Canada. They have spent their summer touring the United States and Canada, playing songs off their most recent album, Is.

The English Beat – The English Beat is a British ska group that originally formed in the '80s, bringing in fans with its message of peace. “We’re excited to see the English Beat perform at Whistler,” said Robinson. “They’re a legendary, international band, and their performances are always lively.”

Jeremy Fisher – Two-time Juno Award nominee Jeremy Fisher is a singer-songwriter based in Ottawa. During shows, he likes letting his guard down and being spontaneous with his music, a sound he tried to imbue in his fifth album, Mint Juleps. A west coast native, he’s looking forward to the opportunity for an outdoor concert. “In a country like Canada, which turns to ice anywhere from two to six months of the year, I never take for granted the opportunity to play outside,” he said. “I will play Whistler every chance I get.”

Story links:

Whistler events 

Whistler concerts

Don't forget to check out the details listed on the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on our festival overview page