A good festival can stand the test of time; Whistler knows this better than most towns. Take our marquee winter festival, the Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival — 20 and counting and a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Or the summertime staple Crankworx — 14 years and counting and more blood, sweat and tears. Mainstay festivals like these can weather changes in popularity; they can adapt and evolve, grow better and stronger. Perhaps most importantly, they are a mirror into our collective soul, a reflection of Whistler and what we’re all about.
But as this year’s collapse of the wildly popular Pemberton Valley Music Festival shows, the festival and events business is a tricky business. It takes a lot of work, money and dedication to keep going.
That’s why it’s so heartening to see our team gearing up for the fifth annual Whistler Village Beer Festival, September 13-17, with the main events on Saturday and Sunday throughout the day. Five years is a significant milestone. It feels like we’ve proved we can do it.
There was a lot of talk in town when we first announced we were getting into the festivals and events business and yet, we’ve always seen it as a natural extension of our core business of making memories in the mountains.
Long before Whistler’s weekends were booked solid with Ironman and GranFondo and Wanderlust, back when there was barely business in the summertime, we helped pay for the first backstop to support the local softball league. The cynics will say that this was just a shrewd business move, designed to convert customers and grow our business. Of course it was! Anyone who has been in Whistler for the last 40 years understands that if we don’t take initiative for our own success, no one else will do it for us. We’ve never been content to wait around for someone else to fill our businesses.
The Whistler Village Beer Festival allows us to create our own awesome experience in town and invite people here to share with us — with all of us. And it works. Just take a walk around over the weekend — feel the vibe and be a part of the action in town. Whistler Village will be at its very best, just as it was always intended.
Every week throughout the year our company is asked to support various events, whether it’s a donation to a local school function or a large-scale title sponsorship for one of Whistler’s cornerstone festivals. We always do our best to say “Yes!” We may not be able to fulfill the full request but we know how much the support means to our fellow community members.
So, we’re hoping our community will come out this year and celebrate the Whistler Village Beer Festival with us. Bring your friends. Share the love. Show the world what Whistler is all about — positive energy, good times, celebrating life in the mountains. Enjoy a few craft beers and then go out to your favourite restaurant. Remind yourself again why we love this place.
As soon as we stop investing in these awesome experiences that define Whistler, people will stop coming. It’s so easy to become irrelevant. It’s up to us, collectively, to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Let’s celebrate five years together. The sun will be shining, the beer will be chilled, and the mountains are calling.