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Whistler Music and Arts Festival packs in concerts, art tours

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What: Whistler Music and Arts Festival

When: Aug. 10-13

Where: Whistler Village

Admission: Free

The Whistler Music and Arts Festival packs in a weekend full of theatrics, art and live music for young and old Thursday, Aug. 10 to Sunday, Aug. 13 throughout Whistler Village.

"The programming we have is so diverse," says Michelle Payette of Tourism Whistler. "It is not just one type of music. This is something for everyone… We have a fantastic arts community here and we really want to highlight that for guests. It’s in all of our best interests to continue highlighting the arts."

The concert lineup for the mainstage, located in Whistler Village Square, is only one component of the family fun weekend.

The mainstage entertainment kicks off with Melissa McClelland of Toronto, who delivers sexy and cheeky pop noire stylings Thursday, Aug. 10 at 4 p.m., followed by Shaun Verreault, former Wide Mouth Mason singer, at 5 p.m.

Family fun strikes up Friday, Aug. 11 with Fred Penner, the talent behind the CBC television classic Fred Penner’s Place, breaking out stories, music and laughter for the whole family at 4 p.m. Jeremy Fisher lets loose on harmonica and guitar at 5 p.m. followed by the experimental groove of Velvet at 6 p.m.

Famous among tots, children’s entertainer Norman Foote returns Saturday, Aug. 12 at 4 p.m. Another familiar sound around town is Shona Le Motte who last brought her energetic fiddling to Whistler at the Torino Olympic celebrations in Whistler Village Square. Her foot-stomping goodtime starts at 5 p.m. Festival highlight Matt Dusk of Toronto closes out the Saturday night festivities with crooning classics at 5 p.m.

The all-girl band Lillix, from Madonna’s record label, Maverick, joins the festival mainstage Sunday, Aug. 13 at 4 p.m. They are followed by the Juno-Award-winning The Paperboys, who cover the gamut from Americana country and Latin groove to soul tunes and Celtic stomp.

Art will add to the music festivities, with artists demonstrating their talents from noon to 5 p.m. in Mountain Square in Whistler Village. Daniel Poisson showcases painting and Duane Perret glass blowing on Thursday and Saturday; Donnajane Dan features wood burning and Koskas Billy Dan carving on Friday; and Jenny Smach spins pottery throwing and Gary Peterson carving on Sunday. The festival also hosts a free art/gallery tour every day from 2 to 4 p.m. Tour hosts include Sharon Jensen, Isobel MacLaurin and Penny Martyn. Tours leave from Mountain Square at 2 p.m.

People are also invited to take advantage of the other individually-priced art events around town.

"We really want to animate the village and just bring the arts out to the people," Payette said. "It is really important that we embrace things already going on and use our marketing to assist promoting other things going on in the community."

Tourism Whistler officials are looking into designating August as the official arts month of Whistler. And with all the happenings around town, you can see why.

The Whistler Theatre Project’s production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream shows Aug. 2-Sept. 3 at Ross Rebagliati Park; LUNAFliks outdoor film presentation of The Life & Hard Times of Guy Terrifico screens Thursday, Aug. 10 at 9 p.m. at Lost Lake Park; The Whistler Farmer’s Market returns on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the base of Blackcomb Mountain; Franz’s Trail Outdoor Market is on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Creekside; Music on the Mountain hosts live acoustics from Gord Rutherford alongside a barbecue feast Saturday, Aug. 12 on top of Whistler Mountain; Painting on the Peak invites art enthusiasts to join five of B.C.’s top artists for a day of art demonstration, a gondola ride, hiking, lunch and an exhibition opening Saturday, Aug. 12 at the Adele Campbell art gallery. Whistler Street Entertainment entertains with stilts and theatrics throughout the day in the village.

A lounge series is also part of the Music and Arts Festival, with local musicians rotating through the Dubh Linn Gate, Bearfoot Bistro, Mallard Lounge, Merlin’s, Crystal Lounge and Morgan’s. See Pique’s Music Listings for details

The Whistler Music and Arts Festival, presented by Tourism Whistler and Visa, is a free event open to music revelers of all ages. For more information go to www.tourismwhistler.com.

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