In less than two weeks, The Roots, Elvis Costello, and many
other talented musicians will take the stage at Base II on Blackcomb Mountain.
The inaugural Whistler Music Festival will get local and
visiting music lovers moving on Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20, and
organizers say people don’t need to worry about them pulling the plug at the
The two-day festival, which is a joint project of the Resort
Municipality of Whistler, Tourism Whistler, and Whistler-Blackcomb, was first
announced at the end of May. Produced by the Festival Network, the event will
feature performances by some big names in the music business.
“Honestly, it’s been a long time coming and there are still
some nonbelievers up there, and there are still people, even after we’ve…
enlisted a great lineup and spent a lot of time, money and resources in putting
up what we think will be a terrific event, there are still people who think
we’re going to pull the plug,” said Tom Shepard, CEO of Festival Network.
But Shepard wants skeptics to know that they have entered into
a long-term agreement with the partner agencies, so while they may not reach
their goal in terms of ticket sales this year, they expect the festival to grow
“We recognize this is a long term investment, and it’s going to
be a build,” Shepard added.
Eventually, the goal would be for the festival to attract an
audience of 10,000 to 12,000 people per day.
“We would hope that in time, this festival has the same kind of
high season impact lift that peak periods during the ski seasons do,” Shepard
said. “Most ski resorts are trying to build out their summer traffic —
Whistler is no exception.”
Shepard said the principal effect of an event like the Whistler
Music Festival should be sustainable tourism, which is of interest to the
partner organizations that are looking to boost the economy by drawing visitors
during the summer months. The spin-off economic beneficiaries include
retailers, restaurants, accommodation providers, and adventure tour operators.
Shepard, who has had previous experience with destination
marketing for the Whistler and Vancouver areas, joined Festival Network in late
Since joining the network, he has witnessed a lot of change and
growth within the company, especially in regards to their festival portfolio,
with five new events, including the Whistler Music Festival, added this year.