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Summer Music: Whistler’s Live Music Scene

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)

The Legendary Fire & Ice Show

Every Sunday the base of Whistler Mountain is ablaze with astounding athletic talent, heart-stopping pyrotechnics, booty-shakin’ fire spinners, beat-driven DJ’s and a jaw-dropping firework display. The epic Fire & Ice Show is a unique Whistler experience and a must-see while in town. Young and old alike will enjoy this cirque-on-skis show that is guaranteed to impress.

Top members of Whistler Blackcomb’s Ski & Snowboard School perform extraordinary feats of anti-gravity through rings of fire. Dancers and fire spinners move to the beats showcasing amazing talent, coordination and obviously no fear of fire! The evenings events finish with a first class display of fireworks that is sure to delight.

This legendary show is now an annual on-going event and is completely FREE every Sunday evening at 6:30 PM. Dress warm, grab a cup of hot chocolate and prepare to be amazed!

TIP: This is an awesome photo opportunity so don’t forget those cameras!

Whistler September Events

There are lots of events happening in September. This is a great time of the year to visit Whistler and celebrate the end of summer.  Spend the days exploring Whistler, hike in the Alpine, experience the many activities in Whistler and get to see some great events, many of which are free!  The Summit Lodge and Spa offers a great location in the Village close to many of these events.

Whistler Farmer’s Market

The Whistler’s Farmers Market is held each Sunday from 11am to 4pm and on Wednesday from 3pm to 8pm.  The market is located in the Upper Village, just outside the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and only a short walk from the Summit Lodge and Spa.

Come to the Farmer’s Market to buy fresh local produce, much of which comes from the Pemberton Valley just north of Whistler.  The market also features home baked goods, fresh breads, pizzas straight from the wood burning oven, arts, crafts, jewellery, textiles and woodworks.  The Whistler Farmer’s Market is fun for the whole family with live music, kid’s activities and face painting.

Jazz on the Mountain

Friday September 2 to Sunday September 3

A new festival is coming to Whistler.  Over the September Labour Day long weekend, Whistler will be hosting the first Jazz on the Mountain festival.  The Festival takes place over 3 days and includes music from top international and Canadian jazz artists in a number of venues including the Whistler Olympic Plaza and MY Place.  There will also be a number of free concerts in the Village Square and a street festival with children’s entertainment and family fun including acoustic musicians, face-painters, jugglers and acrobats. Jazz on the Mountain will feature jazz greats Kevin Eubanks Quartet, Stanley Jordan Trio, Oliver Jones Trio, The New Gary Burton Quartet, Spyro Gyra, The Rippingtons and more.  For more information see theJazz on the Mountain event.

RBC GranFondo Whistler

Saturday September 10th

The GranFondo is a 125km bike race from Vancouver to Whistler. Last year was the first such an event and saw a turnout of over 4000 riders.  Granfondo are mass participation cycling events which have enjoyed incredible popularity in Europe for decades.   The race starts in Downtown Vancouver on the corner of Georgia Street and Burrard, riders begin the epic journey at 7am sharp.  The riders will travel west on Georgia, through Stanley Park, over the Lions Gate Bridge, up Taylor Way to reach the upper levels Trans Canada Hwy.   They then follow the stunning Sea to Sky Highway all the way up to Whistler and celebrate in style at the Whistler Olympic Plaza.

Whistler Spirit Run

Saturday September 24th

The Whistler Spirit Run and Festival takes place in the Whistler Olympic Park in the beautiful Callaghan Valley. It is a one-day cross-country and trail running event and features something for everyone.  This is a great day to come out and experience the stunning scenery and enjoy the beautiful cross-country ski and biathlon trails at Whistler Olympic Park.  Competitors can expect cross-country events for all age groups from children to masters.   Distances range from 1km to 8km, including a family fun run. The event welcomes all ages and abilities for the highly competitive runners or for those just out for a fun trail run, or a relay event for teams of four.  For more information visit www.whistlerspiritrun.com

2nd Annual Huckleberry Festival

Sunday September 25th

This event takes place at the beautiful Callaghan Lodge between 9 AM to 5 PM. As you hike the 5km route to the lodge, make sure you pick one cup of blueberries along the way so you enjoy a free blueberry pancake brunch! After brunch join in the interpretive hike to Ring Lake at 10 AM. Other fun activities include a visit from the friendly wranglers and horses of Copper Cayuse Outfitters, Huckleberry-Pie-Baking competition, live music, guest speakers and more.  For more information visit Callaghan Lodge.

Jazz on the Mountain

Whistler will be hosting a new festival this year. The Jazz on the Mountain festival is coming to Whistler from September 2nd to 4th over the Labour Day long weekend.

 

Over the three days there will be ticketed concerts with top international and Canadian jazz artists, a master class series, a street festival with children’s entertainment, family fun and free concerts around Whistler Village.

The Whistler Jazz festival will feature Jazz greats including Kevin Eubanks, Stanley Jordan, The New Gary Burton Quartet, Oliver Jones Trio, Spyro Gyra and The Rippingtons.  These ticketed events will take place in the Whistler Olympic Plaza.  This venue was used in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games for the medal ceremonies.  It is now a stunning outdoor venue with amazing views of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.  This venue has a state-of-the-art pavilion and can hold an audience of up to 5000 people.

Tickets are available as a 3 day pass or single day passes and will provide access to the Whistler Olympic Plaza venue from noon until night, with in and out privileges.   Tickets are valid for all shows each day in Whistler Olympic Plaza.

You can relax and enjoy the music at the Whistler Olympic Plaza and visit the Jazz Bistro. Enjoy snacks, cheese, gourmet food, beer, wine and other beverages.

There will be a number of free outdoor and indoor concerts over the weekend around Whistler Village.   Well-known and up-and-coming Canadian jazz performers and acoustic musicians will perform in different locations.

This is going to be a great weekend in Whistler for all the family. The Street Festival in Whistler Village includes face-painters, acrobats, acoustic musicians and jugglers.

For more information and a detailed schedule, visit the Jazz on the Mountain website.

Need Whistler Village Accommodation for Jazz on the Mountain?

The Summit Lodge and Spa offers the perfect location, just steps away from the Whistler Olympic Plaza venue. For more information on our Whistler rooms and suites or to make a reservation, please contact our reservation staff.