Whistler’s GO Fest Great Outdoors Festival

by Bhavin Solanki

Whistler GO Fest is a four-day festival with live music, art and sporting events in Whistler Village. It takes place on the Victoria Day Long Weekend each year.

Also called Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival, because of COVID-19, the festival involved a series of virtual activities in 2021.

 

Whistler GO Fest

Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival is a popular event that takes place over the May Long Weekend.  The festival typically features sports, arts, music and educational events in Whistler Village. Live music is also performed in Village Square most years. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Whistler GO Fest was cancelled in 2020. In 2021, the event returned in a COVID-safe virtual format.

Continue reading below for details about the Whistler GO Fest and for information about the event in previous years. As of early January, 2022, details for this year’s event have not been released. Hopefully it will be in person once again but it might not be.

 

2021 Virtual Event

The 2021 Whistler GO Fest took place online from Friday, May 21st, until Monday, May 24th. As always, the festival covered a broad range of topics. Most events last year were pre-recorded videos available to everyone all weekend long. Almost all of them were free to watch. For example, Make Your Own Dream Catcher was a craft tutorial hosted by the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.  Peak Training Fitness with Meaghan Sutter, meanwhile, was a 40-minute workout that viewers were encouraged to follow. Other videos and audio clips covered yoga, hiking, mixology, floristry, art and more.

The festival also had a few interactive components.  The following events happened live on Zoom in 2021:

  • Preparing for a Multi-Day Hike – a live Q&A session about safe hiking and backpacking at 6:00 pm on the Friday.
  • Kids Story Time – Julie from the Whistler Public Library shared songs and stories on the Saturday at 10:15 am.
  • Outdoor Journaling – learn outdoor writing and drawing exercises at 3:30 pm on the Sunday.
  • Rhythm and Rhyme – music and stories for children with Julie at 9:15 am on the Sunday.

 

Coco Jafro in Concert

Live Music at Whistler Go Fest (in a pre-pandemic year)

 

What to Expect

In normal years, Whistler GO Fest is full of concerts, shows and other in-person festivities. In years when there isn’t a global pandemic, there are plenty of activities for folks of all ages to enjoy.  To give you an idea of what to expect in future years, we can reflect on past years.

The first day of the festival in 2019 featured a pancake breakfast at the Whistler Public Library, a yoga class in Olympic Plaza, a film series at the Maury Young Arts Centre and an outdoor concert in Village Square.

On the Saturday a couple of years ago there was a 5-km run, a paddle boarding adventure at Lakeside Park, a group bike ride in Mountain Square, a sailing clinic at Alta Lake, a drum circle in Olympic Plaza and live music at various public venues. There were also opportunities to throw axes, create birdhouses, go skateboarding, participate in a scavenger hunt, and more.

Highlights from the Sunday in 2019 included free sunflower planting, a DJ lesson, nature displays, and an All British Car Show. Live street entertainment filled the busy village in the afternoon.

Although it is unfortunate that Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival is a virtual event in 2021, at least it didn’t get completely cancelled. Hopefully the festival can take place normally, as a live in-person event, again in 2022.

 

Whistler Village on the May Long Weekend

Whistler Village (on a typical May Long Weekend)

 

Other Information

For more information about the annual festival, visit the Whistler Go Fest website.

For a list of other Whistler events throughout the year, check out our Whistler Festivals and Events Calendar.

To learn more about the annual car show on the Sunday at Creekside Village, click All British Car Show.

To find out what’s happening on the May long weekend in the Lower Mainland, check out Victoria Day in Vancouver.

 

 

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