To encourage tourism around this year's Winter Olympic Games, Vancouver is hosting a "Cultural Olympiad," which will hopefully sway attendees to stick around for more than just the sporting events.
The Cultural Olympiad, which started Jan. 22 and will continue until March 2, includes a wide spectrum of events from performers from across the globe. There will be festivals, musicals and dances, in addition to concerts that include world, indie and mainstream artists.
The vast number and range of programs (not just in the performing arts) will be hosted at dozens of venues across Vancouver. One example is Canada CODE, an art project which takes viewers' uploaded photos and text messages and puts them into a digital scrapbook in response to certain questions that are asked.
There will be multiple special events including performances at the victory celebrations. For these celebrations, which are held from the opening to closing ceremonies, the Vancouver Organizing Committee picked famous Canadian and international artists. The performers range from Nelly Furtado (born in British Columbia) to the Barenaked Ladies and include INXS, Wilco, Feist and Stereophonics.
There will also be a tribute to Canada native Neil Young on Feb. 18 at Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre. A good year for the artist, Young was nominated for two Grammys and won the MusiCares Person of Year Award, for which he was given his own tribute show. Hal Willner, who is known for tribute albums and events, will produce the program. Young's tribute will feature a house band of Broken Social Scene and Joan as Police Woman.
Iron & Wine, Ron Sexsmith and Sun Kil Moon are expected, among others, to perform covers of Neil Young's songs from different points in the star's career.
The Organizing Committee, alongside with LiveCity Vancouver, also set up outdoor concerts starting Feb. 12 at David Lam Park, called LiveCity Yaletown. This park, which is made entirely of recycled tires, will be reused once the winter games are over.
According to Pitchfork.com, Wilco, Alexisonfire, K'Naan, Stars and other artists are expected to play at the free outdoor show. For Wilco, the David Lam Park event on Feb. 13 will be the start of their tour in Canada this year in support of last June's Wilco (The Album). In addition to the LiveCity Yaletown venue, spectators can watch events on the big screens at LiveCity downtown in a special Pavilion.
The Winter Olympics officially begin on Feb. 12 and close Feb. 28, but the festivities surrounding the city of Vancouver are planned well into March. Check out Vancouver2010.com for a list of events in the Cultural Olympiad program.