Kiss fans aren’t the only ones getting excited about Whistler’s
concert series slated for September — organizers say the event will boost
local business during the typically slow month of September.
Whistler-Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler and the Resort
Municipality of Whistler have teamed up with the promotions company Big
Mountain Concerts to stage the Sizzling September Concert series.
Michele Comeau Thompson, director of communications for Tourism
Whistler, said September is a great time to come to Whistler; tourism numbers
tend to drop during the early fall months.
“It’s still not an extremely busy month for Whistler and
there’s still a lot of opportunity to bring more guests overnight and day
visitors into the resort during that time frame.”
So far, Comeau Thompson said, the response to the concert
series from the business community has been very positive.
“People are definitely excited about having a high-profile act
like this come to Whistler.”
Whistler.com, Tourism Whistler and RMOW’s reservation centre,
started seeing immediate results after a news release about the Kiss concert
went out last week.
“Whistler.com’s phones started ringing off the hook… they saw
lots of calls coming through immediately for people who wanted to come and stay
during the Kiss concert,” said Comeau Thompson.
Aside from hotel bookings, organizers say the event will create
spin-off business for local restaurants and stores, as most concert-goers will
pass through the village on their way up to the concert site on Blackcomb.
And Kiss won’t be the only big act coming to town for the
series. Organizers plan to stage two more concerts in the weekends following
the Sept. 15
Kiss show, though the acts haven’t been announced
Since the concerts are scheduled to take place over three
consecutive weekends, organizers are hoping for increased tourism throughout
Big Mountain Concert Company has been in the concert business
for about 10 years now. They brought the Faith Hill concert to Whistler in
2004, and are responsible for co-ordinating the upcoming series.
Dennis MacDonald, president of Big Mountain, said the Kiss
concert wasn’t put together at the last minute, though they announced it only
about three weeks before the concert date. They’ve actually been working on
co-ordinating the series for over a year.
He said it takes a long time to secure a big act like Kiss, and
in this case, it was difficult because band members are busy with other
projects, like Gene Simmons’s reality TV show.
“They liked the idea of doing it on the mountain, and while we
had been negotiating and talking and going back and forth for a long, long
time, it finally just came together,” MacDonald said.
Tickets went on sale to the general public Wednesday at 8 a.m.,
and within hours, all of the lowest priced tickets were sold out.
MacDonald said they even received reports of tickets landing on
eBay before they went on sale.
MacDonald said the two mystery acts for the following weekends
are “totally different artists” who will draw diverse crowds.
“Both of the other acts are huge international acts that
everyone will know immediately, and we’ll be announcing very shortly. We’re just
working on the final details.”
MacDonald said they plan to leave the staging set up between
weekend performances, to allow use for local arts programming. They also hope
to include local performers in the concert series, and are talking with the
Whistler Arts Council to figure out who would be suitable.
Each of the partner organizations plays a different role in the
planning and execution of the concert series. Tourism Whistler handles
communications and marketing, as well as reservations and accommodations.
Whistler-Blackcomb will be providing the venue and on-site food and beverage,
while the municipality will take the lead on transportation and anything
involving the village.
Comeau Thompson says there will be an increased RCMP presence
in the Whistler area during the concert, and the producers will be responsible
for security within the venue.
“We have a very clear distinction of roles to make sure that
its all complementary and we’re covering off all of the bases, while allowing
the producers to do what they do best, which is bring in major acts and put on
the show,” she said.
If this year’s series is a success, the fall series could
become an annual event.
“If all goes well, absolutely, I can see it moving forward into
future years,” said Comeau Thompson.
“That’s certainly what we’d like to see, is something that can have some kind of continuity.”