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Clubs optimistic as they prepare music lineups for season

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In light of the tragic events of Sept. 11, tourist destinations everywhere are just a little apprehensive about the possible fallout. Anxious flyers have cancelled vacations and conferences and it remains to be seen whether the winter crowds will regain enough confidence to fill the Whistler hotels, chairlifts, businesses ? and bars.

Among the lights, loud music and liquor, it?s easy to forget that the entertainment establishments may also see a decline in numbers. Traditionally, Whistler pubs and clubs have been packed to capacity seven days a week. Local establishments are still cautiously optimistic about the 2001-02 season. None have initiated any emergency plans, but some admit they?ll be paying extra attention to detail.

The Boot Pub has consistently been bringing in quality live music this summer. Manager, Paul McNaught, says he intends to continue the trend through the winter, which could lend an edge to the out-of-village pub. The first night to be spruced up will be Sunday, a night traditionally reserved for punk bands.

"Large numbers of good punk bands are hard to find, especially right here on the West Coast. So what I?m trying to do is turn Sunday into an alternative rock series, where I have the option to expand. What I?m trying to fulfil is good, good music on Sunday night again," explains McNaught. "Not to say anything bad about the punk bands that have come through. They?ve been awesome. But I?ve run out of numbers. We?re missing that flair."

Goya (Oct. 14) and the triple bill of Sun Like Star, Monochrome and Super Jaded (Oct. 21) will kick off the new project.

The Boot has also struck up a solid relationship with the promotional company Upstream Entertainment, responsible for booking such bands as Sound Tribe Sector 9 and Umphrey?s McGee. Although Upstream has previous connections with the larger and more central venue of the GLC, The Boot will still be privilege to play for many top acts.

"A lot of these bands still love to come to The Boot. The room feels really comfortable because we can pack them in there," adds McNaught.

Regular performances by Das Boot Ballet on Saturday nights are up in the air. McNaught says the Saturday night crowds in the winter are largely American tourists. If the resort experiences a decline in U.S. visitors, hiring strippers for the weekend would be a money-loser. McNaught had already nixed the Saturday Ballet this summer, speculating that the gradual slowing of building in Whistler has meant fewer construction workers at The Boot.

"If I do go to dancers, it won?t be until January. We started that in November last year. The terrorist attack does affect everyone. We sat and discussed it and we?re going to hold off for now," McNaught says.

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