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Second big-name music festival announced for Pemberton

Wayne Coyne, lead singer of the Flaming Lips, rolls over the audience in a plastic bubble on July 26, 2008, at the Pemberton Festival in Pemberton, B.C.

Jennifer Roberts/The Globe and Mail

It is shaping up to be an excellent summer for music festivals in British Columbia, with details of a second major event along the Sea to Sky Highway now announced.

The organizers of the new Pemberton Music Festival have revealed a long list of high-profile acts for the July event on Wednesday, including headliners Nine Inch Nails, Outkast, Deadmau5 and Soundgarden. The lineup also includes Frank Ocean, Lauryn Hill, Kendrick Lamar, Metric, Modest Mouse, Snoop Dogg, Blondie, TV On The Radio, the Flaming Lips and Grimes. Other Canadian acts include Sloan, the New Pornographers, Matthew Good, Stars, Hey Rosetta!, and Gord Downie and the Sadies.

The announcement came weeks after organizers had originally hoped to make it, but the CEO of New Orleans-based HUKA Entertainment says the content of the announcement should make up for the delay.

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"It was one of those things where we had options to roll out earlier but the lineup wasn't going to be as good as this," said A.J. Niland, who is also HUKA's co-founder. "Even though we missed the deadline, I felt that what was more important than the deadline was putting together an amazing bill." Mr. Niland said there would be more announcements ahead.

The festival, planned for July 18-20, will feature nearly 100 performances and six performance areas, including a comedy stage – with acts booked such as Bob Saget, Norm MacDonald and the Trailer Park Boys.

HUKA is bringing a major music festival back to Pemberton, north of Whistler, for the first time since 2008. That summer, Live Nation staged an enormous event – with A-list headliners such as Coldplay, Jay-Z and Nine Inch Nails. But the festival also generated problems related to transportation, garbage and washroom facilities, and it was cancelled in subsequent years.

Mr. Niland said this year's festival will address those problems.

To alleviate traffic snarls, people will be able to camp as early as the Wednesday night. Further, there will be no on-site parking for day-pass holders, who will have to park in Whistler and use a shuttle service. "That is really going to alleviate a lot of the headaches," says Mr. Niland. There is also a completely revamped traffic management plan for on-site parking. At 121 hectares, the footprint is a little more than twice the size of the 2008 event, he says.

Washroom facilities will be tented – to improve sight lines, and contain any odours.

Live Nation, which was responsible for the 2008 Pemberton Festival, now stages a music festival in Squamish, north of Vancouver. In February, it announced the lineup for its Aug. 8-10 event, with headliners Arcade Fire, Eminem and Bruno Mars – as well as Arctic Monkeys, Foster the People and Tokyo Police Club, among more than 40 additional acts.

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Comparisons between the two festivals are inevitable, but HUKA says the events can be complementary.

"We originally set out to both co-exist. That's still our game plan," says Mr. Niland. "We feel like we're delivering two different experiences. Our lineups are different. The sites are pretty close and one could argue the experience is the same, but we're out in a wide-open space; that's a bit of a differentiater. The buying process definitely got competitive, but I feel at the end of the day we both put out great lineups and there's two different experiences and we'll see how it goes."

Mr. Niland says HUKA's business model for Pemberton requires that the festival be an annual event, and says they've already started the booking process for 2015. "We'll be here for some time."

Follow me on Twitter: @marshalederman

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About the Author
Western Arts Correspondent

Marsha Lederman is the Western Arts Correspondent for The Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver. She covers the film and television industry, visual art, literature, music, theatre, dance, cultural policy, and other related areas. More


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