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Feature - Playing by the rules

Under the spotlight, Whistler clubs express some of their frustrations

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"Tourists come out expecting to be shown a good time – they want to party, but they want to feel like they are checking out the ‘real Whistler’, and in order for them to experience that, they need to be partying with the locals," says Hofbauer. "This means as locals, we need to almost provide tourists with a show, to put on something that they really enjoy and want to come back to."

Because, in the end, putting on a great night out is what the club industry is all about and it’s something Whistler’s nightclubs are very good at. Whistler is fortunate enough to play host to top music acts all year round. We’ve had the Commitments, Jully Black, Swollen Members, The Rascalz, De La Soul, Tall Paul, John Lee Hooker and many, many other outstanding acts. This is on top of the great club nights that every week feature Mat the Alien and Kilo Cee at Maxx Fish, Milton at Garf’s, Peacefrog at Bill’s, the Whole Damn County at Moe Joe’s and Czech at Tommy’s. Schweighardt says he often gets locals asking for more live music, but when Bill’s throws a show, as they often do, people aren’t motivated enough to come out.

"I think locals are a little bit spoiled," says Schweighardt. "They are so used to world class acts they don’t realize quite how lucky they are."

It has been a challenging year for the club industry, but those who work in the clubs do so because they love their jobs. They are passionate about the experience they provide for both locals and tourists and they are always looking for ways to make it a better experience. Club managers hope that as the police realize the bars are eager to be completely compliant with the new and existing rules, aggressive enforcement will settle down and the over-all fun will return to the clubs. It’s something the whole community should be thinking about.

"Partying is very important to Whistler’s economic health, as important as skiing," says Roberts. "If we don’t watch out and if we are not careful the club industry will die off and I think the resort as a whole would regret losing it."