Free is Key: Whistler’s Summer Concerts

Free is Key: Whistler’s Summer Concerts

What’s better than a free concert in Whistler?

Fourteen free concerts in Whistler. Yes, summer means the return of the Whistler Presents concert schedule at Whistler Olympic Park This is important for a multitude of reasons but here are three:

1. Big, Real Sound

The digital age means we have more access to music than ever before but it also means WAY TOO MUCH of that music is being delivered to us through tiny plastic computer speakers or earbuds you can get from a vending machine. There is nothing Rock ‘n Roll about computer speakers or throwaway headphones. A live concert (or 14) heard through a great big professional sound system will give your ears/brain/soul the sonic reboot it needs.

2. Actual Musicians

Electronic music pieced together by skilled producers on a computer in a dark studio has plenty of merit, but there is a special sense of connection that comes with seeing performers on stage hammering away on real instruments or singing live in the moment. It’s all very visceral and there exists that sense of a shared human experience that we just don’t get enough of these days.

3. It’s Free

Yes, we’ve already mentioned that but it bears repeating. All the Whistler Presents shows are held for free at Whistler Olympic Plaza, the stunning open-air gathering space built for the medals ceremonies at the 2010 Winter Games. Bring a blanket, a picnic, a lawn chair or dance on the great lawn in your bare feet. Either way, it won’t cost you a dime.
Hit up for a complete list of what bands are playing Whistler Olympic Plaza this summer but we’ve included a few highlights and sample music vids below. Happy summer, party on.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Speaking of actual musicians, the sight and sound of dozens of extremely talented musicians playing in complex synchronicity can feel incredibly transcendent. 2015 marks the fourth year the VSO has performed at the Whistler Olympic plaza and these shows have to be seen to be properly understood. The VSO Canada Day show starts at 3 PM on July 1. There is something amazing about hearing your country’s national anthem performed live in its full orchestral magnificence. (American neighbours: the July 4th performance includes The Star Spangled Banner, Liberty Bell March and The Stars and Stripes Forever.) Check for more details on the VSO and come ready to party because free symphonies are just a taste of the good times Whistler has in store for the July long weekend.


VSO in Whistler in 2014
Sam Roberts Band, Glorious Sons, Basecamp, and Will Ross Band
Whistler gets a taste of the Pemberton Music Festival with an afternoon of free Canadian rock n roll at Whistler Olympic Plaza the day before the festival kicks off just up the road.

Brother” video by Sam Roberts Band

Nahko & Medicine for the People
July 31, 2015 8 PM
With a creative inspiration focused on bridging cultural gaps and connecting to their audiences it’s no surprise that Nahko and Medecine for the People throw down dynamic performances that foster audience participation and leave an impression that lasts long after the show ends.

“Black As Night” video by Nahko and Medicine for the People.
Michael Franti
August 1, 2015 8:30PM
>Michael Franti must enjoy the Whistler vibe as much as we enjoy his because he always seems to find a way to keep coming back. Back as part of the Wanderlust Whistler, Franti’s empowering and uplifting performances blends world music, acoustic hip hop and reggae into a sonic and spiritual tour de force that is never less than amazing.

“Say Hey (I Love You)” video by Michael Franti and Spearhead

Dal Richards Orchestra
August 21, 2015 7:30 PM
They say real musicians never retire and Dal is living proof. At age 97(!!) he’s still rocking it, conducting and playing with the enthusiasm of someone a quarter his age. Dal and his orchestra are best known for classic swing, rock and pop tunes with that unique big band sound but anything can happen when Dal hits the stage. He’s a true Canadian music icon who seems, after 80+ years of playing, to get better with each gig.

Shane Koyczan and the Story Short Long
August 28, 2015 7:30 PM
Shane rocketed to national prominence with his spoken-word Canadian-pride poem at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Games but he has been performing live with a band, the Story Short Long, since 2006. Fresh of a cross country voyage with David Suzuki’s Blue Dot Tour, Shane’s first show in Whistler will likely be the most unique performance we see this summer — live poetry, big themes, live music and something to think about.

“Shoulders” video by Shane Koczan and The Short Story Long.

Blue Rodeo
August 29, 2015 7:30
You can bet the local Ontario transplants will be out in full force for this one. Twenty-six years after releasing their first album Blue Rodeo now has 13 full-length albums under their belts and are considered one of the best country rock bands Canada has ever produced. Get there early if for this one, it’s gonna be one of those hootenannies that isn’t afraid to throw down a slow jam or two.

“Bad Timing” video by Blue Rodeo.
The above bands and videos are just a few highlights from the Whistler Presents free concert schedule. Check out the full line-up and get all the other info you need about Whistler at School’s out, summer’s here. Let’s rock.

Feet Banks

Feet Banks

Feet Banks moved to Whistler at age 12 so his parents could live the dream and ski as much as possible. He ended up living it too. After leaving home Feet did a few good stints in warmer climates and 4 years of writing school before returning to the mountains to make ski movies, hammer out a journalism career and avoid the 9-5 lifestyle as long as possible. He’s been a hay farmer, a hole digger, a magazine editor and has a jump named after him on Blackcomb Mountain, Feet’s Air. It’s tiny.