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Whistler Live! promises… everything

A ‘river of people’ will run through Whistler Village during Olympics

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Didn't get tickets to the Olympic downhill or the ski jumping?

Don't worry. Whistler's Olympic planners are setting up jumbo television screens throughout the village during the Games, as part of their Whistler Live! celebration, so that pedestrians will feel like they are at the venues. Programming will begin at 9 a.m. each day.

But there is more, much more. Starting at 1 p.m. every day of the Olympics and Paralympics there will be live bands, visual art shows, interactive events, and exhibitions across a broad spectrum of arts and entertainment along the Village Stroll at five integrated sites. Performers will be a mix of globally known and local artists.

At 6:30 p.m. every night Whistler's Medal's Plaza will come alive with big-name bands, and of course the awarding of Olympic medals to athletes. After that free - but ticketed - event is over the action moves back to the Stroll where DJs will spin, as will fire jugglers, and skiers and boarders will jump through rings of fire. It's like Mardi Gras meets the X-Games.

There will also be a light show to rival the famed Aurora Borealis at the end of the Fire and Ice show, which will last until around 11 p.m.

"All of these things will interact and act as a mosaic of cultural and entertainment opportunities," said John Rae, Whistler Live's executive producer, though he declined to reveal the star studded cast expected to play in Whistler. There will be 30 to 40 live acts in Village Square.

"The idea is that if you are here for the day you will never be looking for something to do. There will be a sense of discovery at every turn and you will feel as if you have one, if not both, feet in the stadium the entire time.

"Whistler is the place to feel the Games."

On air personalities will be broadcasting live from both MuchMusic and CTV studios all day in Whistler.

Artists and agents in North America and globally are well aware of the Games and most are keen to be part of the experience," said Rae.

Whistler and the other celebration sites in Surrey, Richmond, and Vancouver are working together and with the Cultural Olympiad organization on the program lineup.

This approach, said Rae, allows for great efficiency in reaching talent from all over the world, as well as making it worthwhile for famous groups to get involved.

Whistler is currently looking over a short-list of talent and will soon be able to announce the performance lineup.

All 2010 contributing territories and provinces are also providing their top entertainers for the celebrations.

Even nations competing at the Games are getting involved, offering their performers into the mix.

The budget for Whistler Live! in the village is $4 million for the 23 days of programming.

"You will be caught up in a global community, a river of people and that will be half the excitement," said Rae, adding that he expects people from Vancouver to come up and spend the day just for the experience.

"We want people to be amazed at every turn."

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