Billie Eilish performs in Vancouver as live shows make a comeback in BC

Live music is finally returning to BC, including a long-awaited performance by Grammy Award-winning Billie Eilish.

The American singer-songwriter performed Thursday night at Rogers Arena for her Happy Than Ever tour after it was postponed two years ago at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fans from all over the province made their way to Vancouver for the show. Amy Schweitzer, who traveled from Kelowna, told CBC’s Stephen Quinn she couldn’t wait to watch the “diverse” and “unique” singer’s performance.

“Just to be in her presence, I’ve seen so many videos online of her performing and it just looks like an unreal experience,” she said.

It’s not the only live music to return after two years of pandemic restrictions.

Students from the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria spoke to CBC’s Robyn Burns about preparing for their first live performance, Shrek: The Musicalwhich is set for May 6.

Yasmin D’Oshun, right, and Jeremy James Sinclair, both second-year students at the Canadian College of Performing Arts, are doing their first live performance in May. (Robyn Burns/CBC)

“Performing to me is getting to the core truth of what it is to be a human and putting that out to an audience that maybe doesn’t know how to feel those feelings on a day-to-day basis,” student Jeremy James Sinclair said.

This weekend, Prince George is hosting the 2022 edition of the Coldsnap Music Festival and an Indigenous music and culture festival from Lytton will be part of the inaugural Ignite the Arts Festival in Penticton.

Meeka Morgan, artistic director of ‘Q’əmcín 2 Rivers Remix, told CBC Radio it’s been a hard two years filled with crises, but healing from the arts has kept her going.

“The work itself is really what carried us through the devastation and continues to,” she said.

Indigenous music and culture festival ‘Q’əmcín 2 Rivers Remix will be part of the inaugural Ignite the Arts Festival in Penticton. (pentictonartgallery.com)

Ian Tostenson, president of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, told CBC the return of these events has been great, and that they help businesses that were struggling over the last couple of years.

“Anything that brings out people like sunshine, concerts, hockey games, all those kinds of things, invariably, a person is going to stop at a coffee shop, go for lunch, go for a snack, maybe stay downtown, have a cocktail, so it makes a lot of difference.”

Schweitzer said the concert will be different from what she has become used to, but that she still couldn’t wait to go.

“It’ll definitely be weird because it’ll be the first big gathering I’ve been to, technically, but everyone has to be vaccinated to go in, which makes me feel a little bit safer.”

The province lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions in mid-February, permitting indoor and outdoor organized gatherings, as well as indoor seated events, to return to full capacity as long as attendees wear masks and BC vaccine cards are used.

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