Six years after the inaugural event, Pemberton Music Festival returned to the breathtaking Pemberton Valley and opened its arms to over 30,000 fans of music and the arts. With headliners such as Outkast, Nine Inch Nails, Deadmau5, Snoop Dogg, The Trailer Park Boys, and Blondie, NICHE magazine was there to catch every stylish minute.
(full photo album slide show at end of article)
With the way music festivals are organized these days, one simply cannot catch every minute of every act so you do your best to see as much as you can and hope for the best. Among the best of day one was the much anticipated return of New York icon Debbie Harry and Blondie. The ever-fashionable group entertained audiences with some of their classics as well as posthumous homage to some of New York’s best, The Ramones and The Beastie Boys.
Next was the incredibly talented and photogenic, Grimes, whose music embodies the arts of two-dimensional dance, video and sound. Then Soundgarden took the stage, followed by Empire of the Sun who put on a wonderful show full of theatrics and costume changes coordinated perfectly to their music. The breakthrough and highly collaborative hip-hop artist, Kendrick Lamar performed and Nine Inch Nails were the closing act for the first day of the festival with a visually-stunning stage design and light-show to keep audiences enthralled.
Day two saw some cloud-cover and a little rain but it wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of the fans with their floral-wreaths, hot pants, sandals and bathing suits. Did I mention there was a water-slide in the middle of the festival grounds? This was a great way to keep the crowd cooled down in their beachwear turned festival wear. And, of course, fanny packs were in full force as an ever popular accessory for festival goers who need to both carry their vitals and stay fashionable.
The music on day two began early with Houston’s soul-infused rock band, The Tontons, delivering a high energy-fuelled performance followed by Hayden, TV on the Radio, and Young the Giant. Snoop Dogg and The Flaming Lips were up next and fans went crazy to hear their favourite tracks. In the evening, Emily Haynes and her group Metric entertained fans with a wide variety of tunes from their entire catalogue and really catered to the crowd. The night was capped off by a fantastic show of lasers, lights and blasting beats from the one and only Deadmau5 followed by another highly anticipated DJ who was a fan-favourite at the first Pemberton Music Festival, Girl Talk.
The third day, although filled with even more incredible musical talent, was a little slow to start due to more rain and some fatigue clearly setting in. Nevertheless performances by Hallelujah Train, Foxygen, Sloan, Hey Rosetta, and classically trained violinist Lindsey Stirling raged on for those who ventured out of their tent before 6 p.m. at which point St. Vincent took the stage. The eccentric group’s performance was both visually engaging and musically explorative, taking festival concert performances to a place where music and modern art are combined.
Comedy, especially Canadian, played an important role at the festival as well bringing some of Canada’s greatest exports to the stage. The Trailer Park Boys were the main act but other notables like Norm McDonald, Tom Green and Bob Saget were also on the bill.
Finally, the festival was coming to a close but not before the most anticipated performance of the festival, by hip-hop pioneers, Outkast. Donning black coveralls and a white wig, Andre 3000 introduced himself and a gold chain-clad Big Boi to the fans and the set began. One by one, the group played their hits and fueled the high energy dance party, which didn’t stop until they did.
All in all, the return of Pemberton Music Festival was a huge success and hopefully we won’t have to wait another six years before the next one.
Article by Greg Szabo, musician, music producer, acoustic aficionado and Sr. Magazine Designer for NICHE magazine