Whistler’s GO Fest Set for May Long weekend

This May long weekend, May 15-18, GO Fest throws open the doors to those who love to get outside and get involved. It’s a celebration of mountain culture designed to draw visitors and community members out for a first taste of what summer in the mountains is all about.

Launched last year, this multi-faceted festival offers a chance to stroll through the hustle and bustle of an action-packed Whistler weekend or join in the fun as an extreme kayaker, music fan, disc golf player, or aspiring artist by participating in one of the many competitions, clinics, and concerts taking place around town. It’s an ideal event for locals to get involved in to showcase life in the Sea-to-Sky and how it is such a great place to visit as an athlete or nature-loving arts buff, as some of last year’s participants can attest.

“We were very new to Whistler and GO Fest was the perfect opportunity to get to know the community and all of the activities you can do here, as well as make great connections with people,” says Mary Catherine Lawler, who volunteered as a course marshall for the Great Snow Earth Water race at GO Fest 2014.

Revived specifically for the festival, the Great Snow Earth Water race anchors four days of sport and arts offerings, and takes an army of volunteers – like Lawler and her partner, Matic Vecko – to be successful. With race teams starting at the snowline and transitioning through sports all the way down to a final cross-lake canoe leg, it truly is a showcase of the Whistler spirit. And not just for the athletes, but volunteers and spectators too.

“We both felt that the volunteers cared deeply about the community and it was a time to be out with family, enjoy living in this beautiful place, and create a positive force over May long weekend,” says Vecko.

There are many ways to get involved with GO Fest to help grow this new event in its sophomore year. In addition to meeting the volunteers needed to help with everything, from running sport competitions to managing aspects of the event office, GO Fest requires a wide range of artistic support and business involvement, and it offers athletes a chance to get involved in a weekend of celebrating outdoor recreation.

“Our experience with GO Fest has been a very positive one,” says Penny Eder, owner of the White Dog Whistler Studio Gallery. “The festival is free for us to participate in, has lots of fun events and is a great way for us to promote our business.”

Artists from the gallery take their brushes, canvasses, sculpting tools, and easels out to work in the public eye for the first of White Dog’s Painting the Peaks Artists Demos.

“The festival is a family-oriented event and we found that many of those attending came back to our gallery for a second visit,” say Eder, adding the social media support of the festival really helps draw eyes.

GO Fest is also looking for film submissions, musical acts, and local businesses to host or sponsor an event.

Back by popular demand, Nita Lake Lodge will be taking the opportunity to meet and greet the standup paddleboard (SUP) community, offering a demo day and barbeque at their lakefront property in conjunction with local SUP manufacturer BeaverBoards.

“It’s awesome to see the community get involved and have fun together celebrating the best of the outdoors in Whistler, and we’re looking forward to another great festival,” said Nancy Stewart, Nita Lake Lodge marketing and communications manager.

Want to get involved? Here’s how:

To join volunteers like Vecko and Lawler, please visit the GO Fest website and fill out the application form on the Get Involved page.

Call for film submissions
WFF are accepting film submissions for the 2nd Annual WFF Adventure Film Series, a part of the GO Fest weekend. The call is for submissions of adventure films of all lengths. Last year, WFF presented 20 films from six countries over three days.

Submission are open through April 17. Fees: $45 for feature and $25 for shorts. Information available on

Call for musicians and bands
Sea-to-Sky musicians and bands GO Fest wants to tap your talents. If you are living between Lions Bay and Lillooet and looking for opportunities to perform, please submit for a chance to perform on the main stage on May 18.

This opportunity is open to artists who compose and perform original material. Please submit two original songs, in an mp3 format, and one video example of a live performance. Submissions will be juried by a panel of music industry professionals and local programmers, with candidates being judged on originality, creativity, and their live performance. Submit your material by April 24 at noon.

Call for businesses
Got a great idea of how your business can participate like Nita Lake Lodge? We would love to hear it.

Athlete registration
Athlete registration
Athlete registration begins for all events this week on Stay tuned for the official launch this Thursday.