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Summer Music: Whistler’s Live Music Scene

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Photo Courtesy of Tourism Whistler / Mike Crane

Photo Courtesy of Tourism Whistler / Mike Crane

There’s something about summertime that makes live music that much better.

Maybe it’s the outdoor venues, the festival wardrobe, or the fact that you don’t need to wait in a coat check line up at the end of the show. Whatever it is, there’s something positively magical about live music in the summer.

Despite being a small-ish town, Whistler’s live music scene is brag-worthy, to say the least. Case in point: there is some kind of live music event happening nearly every weekend in the summer. Here’s a highlight reel of Whistler’s best summer acts.

The Outdoor Concert Series

Free outdoor concerts at sunset? Yes, please!

Whistler is completely spoiled by the outdoor concert series that takes place throughout the summer. Shows take place throughout the season, usually on weekend evenings—check out the schedule here.

Artists range from up-and-coming indie bands to established classics, and each concert features two back-to-back artists, so you’ll get a little bit of everything.

Bring: A blanket to sit on, a sweater for when the sun goes down, and some spare change for a DQ ice cream (pre-sunset) and a latte (post-sunset).

The Music Festivals

We’re lucky to have fabulous neighbours: Squamish to the south and Pemberton to the north. We’re even luckier that both of these towns happen to host major multi-day music festivals in the summer.

Check out some of these bands from the 2014 line ups: Outkast, Metric, Modest Mouse, and Justice (at the Pemberton Music Festival); and Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Serena Ryder and Eminem (at the Squamish Valley Music Festival).

Bring: Cheap sunglasses that you don’t mind losing, an empty water bottle, and your cell phone—pre-download the relevant festival apps.

Bars, Pubs, and Clubs

The beauty with Whistler is that you just never know what you’ll encounter—a casual weekday night about town can easily transform into an unexpected live show featuring Swollen Members or Hilltop Hoods in a teensy, tiny venue.

Even if there are no big acts in town, our local talent will keep you plenty entertained. Swear you’re not the “dancing type”? I challenge you to head to the Dubh Linn Gate on a night where Ruckus Deluxe is playing and not make your way to the dance floor—impossible. From afternoon piano crooners at the Fairmont’s Mallard Lounge to open mic nights at the Crystal Lounge, there’s pretty much always something going on in Whistler’s establishments.

Grab a free copy of our local paper, the Pique, and flip towards the back to see the weekly musical events happening around town—or just wander in the Village and see what you stumble across.

Bring: ID, tip money, and your dancing shoes

Whistler’s Bonus Shows

Summer in Whistler is nuts: there’s a major sporting event, festival, or race of sorts happening nearly every weekend from the May Long Weekend to Labour Day. Every so often, one of these major events will feature some live concerts throughout Whistler Village. Even if you’re not partaking in the event itself, you’re usually more than welcome to drop in on the shows.

Keep your eyes open for live concerts at GO Fest (May), the Wanderlust Yoga Festival (August) and Crankworx (August), and you just might find yourself face-to-face with Moby, The Sheepdogs, or Five Alarm Funk.

Bring: A piece of clothing that will allow your friends to spot you in the crowd and a big bag (these events usually have tons of booths with free samples)

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