I’m a big music festival fan. I’ve gone to Coachella in Indio, California three years in a row, been to Sasquatch three times and went to the first Pemberton Festival near Whistler in 2008. Pemberton had an unbelievable lineup with Nine Inch Nails, Tom Petty, Jay-Z AND Coldplay headlining the three day fest. The rest of the lineup wasn’t too shabby either. The problem was that the organization of the event was a near disaster.
The main problem was traffic. A small stretch of highway between Whistler and Pemberton should technically take about 25 minutes in good conditions. One day during Pemberton it took FOUR HOURS to get to the concert venue. The other problem was the insane amount of dust kicked up on the field. If Pemberton had made logo’d surgical masks, they would have made a killing from those alone. The third problem is more of a problem with the people who attended. Too many girls were on dudes shoulders. I’m sorry, but blocking the view of 5-6 rows behind you for an entire set is not cool and is rarely seen at Coachella and Sasquatch.
Despite those problems the festival was extremely fun and I was really hoping it would return this year after a one year hiatus to figure things out. Unfortunately it’s looking more and more like Pemberton will not be back in 2010. Exclaim.ca and The Whistler Question posted articles recently outlining that there are still issues being dealt with and that Live Nation would “rather do it right than do it quickly.”
There’s still some optimism that they could have a 2010 Pemberton, but considering most festivals sign their headliners at this time of year, I kind of doubt Live Nation or any bands would sign contracts for a festival that likely won’t happen this year. Also, the last thing you want to do when you’re bringing back a fest that took a year off is have a crappy lineup. You definitely want to come back with a bang and a fool proof plan, because if there’s a repeat of last 2008’s traffic, dust, garbage and security problems, the festival will end up another one-off.
Nine Inch Nails at Pemberton- Closer
Jay-Z at Pemberton- Numb/Encore
Tom Petty at Pemberton- I Won’t Back Down