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Hairfarmers and seafood paella

The Hairfarmers can play more than 3,500 songs… and know the vast majority of them by heart.

This two-man duo is the best known musical act in Whistler, B.C., a ski resort town about an hour and a half north of Vancouver. With a couple of microphones, some conga drums, a tambourine and a guitar, these guys take requests for hours at a time, and have a sense of humor that keeps audiences in rapt attention.

Whistler is all about outdoor activity. In the winter, it’s a mecca for skiers and snowboarders, who come to traverse the two large, powdery mountains on either side of the resort village. Summertime brings hiking, mountain biking, river rafting and the panoramic views afforded by the many chairlifts and gondolas in the area.

In either season, you’ll find the Hairfarmers performing somewhere in town most any night of the week. These guys don’t put out the professional musician vibe, but they’re remarkably busy, playing some 320 shows a year.

Every Thursday night during the summer, those shows take place in the courtyard of The Four Seasons hotel, one of the many upscale properties in the area. From a floating stage in the middle of the coutyard’s pond, these two croon and joke throughout the evening, as visitors dine al fresco on a special barbecue dinner prepared by the restaurant staff.  But it isn’t just any barbecue — this smorgasboard, cooked in plain view of the dinner tables, includes seafood pallea, beef short ribs, smoked rice, lamb shanks, grilled salmon and other fine foods.

Tonight, my first in Whistler, was ideal. I made two trips through the barbecue line, piling my plate high with meats, salads and sides, and enjoyed the clean, fresh mountain air and the mild temperatures. It’s around 75 degrees in the middle of August, with crystal clear skies. And between covers of Neil Young, Bob Dylon, the Jackson Five and others, the Hairfarmers threw me a bone and played one of my favorie U2 songs.

I think I’m going to like this town.



Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.