Your Olympic survival guide for music at LiveCity Vancouver
Have no interest in sports and already can’t wait for the world to give you your city back? The 2010 Winter Olympic Games are about a lot more than medals.
At Downtown Vancouver’s two “LiveCity” sites, dozens of musical acts are scheduled to take the stage and perform for thousands of spectators –all for free.
Concerned about juggling work and a healthy amount of weeknight partying, this Straight staffer called Sue Harvey, executive producer for LiveCity, and asked her how readers can ensure they don’t miss their favourite acts. Here’s a rundown of what was said.
Admission to both LiveCity Downtown (at Georgia and Beatty streets) and LiveCity Yaletown (at David Lam Park at Drake Street and Pacific Boulevard) is free. But the sites are fenced and attendance is limited. The Downtown site is equipped to hold 2,500 people at a time, though the tent where most musical acts will perform can only hold 650 spectators. To make up for the difference, a live video feed of anything going on inside the tent will be broadcast outside. Sporting events will also be broadcast.
LiveCity Yaletown is bigger, capable of holding a maximum of 8,500 people in an open-air “public space” at any given time. According to Harvey, everybody should be able to see the main stage.
Most days, music at LiveCity Yaletown is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. At the Downtown site, bands take the stage a little later, usually coming on between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. In Yaletown, the music will play until approximately 11 p.m. while things are allowed to go a little later downtown.
To view a calendar of scheduled performances for both sites, see the Straight’s Olympic guide to free music in Vancouver. Highlights are sure to include Wilco, Alexisonfire, Matisyahu, Deadmau5, Damian Marley, and the Sam Roberts Band, to name just a few.
Those who enjoy a drink with their live music are going to be disappointed. LiveCity Downtown does have an all-ages, licensed facility that will be serving alcoholic beverages. But over in Yaletown, where most of the big-name acts are playing, it’s going to be a dryer than a Utah bar on Christmas Day.
Which brings us to security. If you’re planning on trying to sneak anything into a LiveCity event, beating the TSA-like security isn’t going to be easy. In Harvey’s words, entering a LiveCity site is going to be like boarding a commercial airline.
“We are going to take all steps that you would expect for the safety of the guests,” she said. That includes no outside food or liquids.
And so it’s worth noting that both LiveCity sites are literally within a stone’s throw of numerous bars and nightclubs, all of which will be working in overdrive for the duration of the Games. (I’ve spoken with staff at places like Library Square Public House and believe me when I say that they’re prepared to keep the drinks flowin’ faster than ever.)
Across the street from LiveCity Downtown is the iconic Media Club, just a couple of blocks away is Library Square, and down the street, just north of GM Place is Pivo Public House, a gastropub serving three kinds of poutine.
Walking distance from the Yaletown site are the upscale neighbourhood’s many bars and nightclubs. The closest include Soho Billiards, Rodney’s Oyster House, and Section Three.
In addition, linking the two LiveCity sites is a pedestrian corridor along Hamilton Street, where party-goers will be sure to find an entertaining mix of locals and foreigners swept away in the hormone-fueled excitement of a two-week long party.
But what exactly is one to do who has their heart set on catching Sam Robert’s understanding blue eyes from the front row? Be prepared to spend some time in a lineup.
For concert-goers who arrive empty handed, without any sort of bag, there will be a sort of express lane. If everybody only brings what they absolutely have to, that will go a long way in minimizing everybody's wait.
“On some nights, it is going to be absolutely packed and on other nights, there will be more capacity,” Harvey said. “It is hard to predict [lineups] because there are no tickets. But certainly, we think they are going to be a popular sites.”
Vague? Yes. But LiveCity isn’t leaving you completely in the dark.
LiveCity’s Web site is going to be updated throughout the Games and Harvey told the Straight that updates on lineups are actually going to be posted on LiveCity’s Twitter account.
You can follow Travis Lupick on Twitter at twitter.com/tlupick.