Grab your lawn chairs, picnic blankets and get ready to rock out at Whistler Olympic Plaza this summer.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has released the full lineup and schedule for this year's Whistler Presents: Summer Concert Series, and it includes some big names.
Artists including The Sheepdogs, Broken Social Scene, Buffy Sainte-Marie and The Family Stone—featuring Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and original founding member of Sly & The Family Stone, Jerry Martini and also Phunne Stone—will take to the stage for the free concert series, which spans six weekends between July and September.
"I am thrilled at this fantastic lineup of excellent musicians and performers from the Canadian music scene and beyond," said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton in a release.
"There is certainly something for everyone here—and listening to live music from the Great Lawn at Whistler Olympic Plaza with the mountains in the background is a really unique experience. A huge thank you to the Province of British Columbia for helping make this possible."
The Summer Concert Series is produced by the RMOW and funded by the Municipal and Regional District Tax—more commonly known as the hotel tax—comprised of revenues collected in Whistler and allocated by province in support of tourism initiatives in Whistler.
In an effort to encourage concert-goers to choose active travel, a bike valet is operational each concert night from 6 to 10 p.m., while free transit will be offered on Saturdays throughout the summer.
JUNO-award-winning Halifax-turned-Toronto rockers Sloan will open the series on Friday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m, while fellow JUNO-award-winners, folk-rock duo Whitehorse, bring their ethereal twang to Whistler the following night (Saturday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m.)
Catch Vancouver duo The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer, known for their foot stomping, upbeat blues on Friday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m., and Saskatoon's JUNO Award-winning quintet The Sheepdogs, with their brand of modern-day retro-rock, on Saturday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Toronto-based indie rockers Broken Social Scene—an ensemble whose flexible lineup has included artists like Feist, Metric and Stars since the creative collective first emerged in 2001—will headline the Wanderlust Festival's music lineup, held in conjunction with the Whistler Presents series, on Friday, Aug. 2 and 7 p.m., while roots artists with a passion for inspiring social change, Nahko and Medicine for the People, follow on Saturday, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m., also as part of Wanderlust.
Quinta Kalavera, hailing from Guadalajara, Mexico, promises to deliver a set filled with "reggae, ska, gozadera and Mexican Latin fusion with urban sounds," according to the release, on Friday, Aug. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m., Buffy Sainte-Marie, the famed Cree singer-songwriter who boasts an Academy Award, a Polaris Music Prize and a JUNO award, will take to the stage.
The following weekend, Choir! Choir! Choir! returns to Whistler for an encore performance on Friday, August 30 at 7:30 p.m. In 2018, the duo—which began as a weekly drop-in singing event in 2011, and describes itself as "equal parts singing, comedy, and community-building"—captivated the Olympic Plaza crowd with their routine. Each member of the audience gets a lyric sheet then Choir! Choir! Choir! founders Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman teach a vocal arrangement, and a video of the resulting magic is recorded.
Whistlerites will be sure to sing along with familiar hits when The Family Stone hits the stage on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m. Jerry Martini, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and original founding member of Sly & The Family Stone, will join Phunne Stone, the multi-talented daughter of Sly Stone and the late great Cynthia Robinson, to bring the music of "the first inter-racial, inter-gender, mainstream major band in rock history" to life.
Finally, Famous Players rounds out the series with an afternoon show on Saturday, Sept. 7 in conjunction with the RBC GranFondo Whistler. The Vancouver-based event and party band has performed for audiences in Beijing, Barcelona, and Cabo San Lucas, and all around North America. Expect to hear everything from Top 40 to rap, motown to disco, and R&B to rock 'n' roll in their set list.