Published Aug 01, 2008Forget "Im sorry: the first-ever Pemberton Music Festival has a huge "thank-you to extend. Any success garnered from this three-day event is all thanks to a crowd of 40,000 ecstatic, half-naked and most importantly well-behaved audience members geared towards experiencing the big names of music instead of popping collars and stirring up shit in the beer gardens.
Many problems plagued Pemberton, as can be expected from any inaugural event on such a large scale, but somehow, despite their anger and impatience, fans didnt let the scant organization get the best of them. Those who chose the half-hour commute from Whistler, BC faced three to six hours in standstill traffic conditions (the only way in and out was a one-lane undivided highway), forcing many anxious music lovers to create makeshift parking lots amidst the beautiful mountain surroundings and walk 20 kilometres to the site. Getting out of the festival at night wasnt any better.
And while the traffic was pressing peoples buttons on the road, the line-up to the Bacardi B-Live Tent was fuelling the fire on site. A good chunk of the artists featured at Pemberton were DJs, but for some odd reason, they were stuck in a tent that held maybe ten percent of the attendees. In order to catch the sweat-dripping, heart-racing acts like Chromeo, MSTRKRFT, Booka Shade, DJ Shadow or the Crystal Method, youd have to give up watching the main stage and stand in line at noon.
Again, things couldve easily gotten out of control if it werent for everyones good nature, especially since staff were uninformed and the security lax. But all gripes aside, you have to admit that gathering together such an orgasm-inducing line-up of artists deserves a hefty round of applause.
Friday saw Metrics Emily Haines glittering in a silver outfit as she head-banged to "Dead Disco. Kathleen Edwards was as passionate as ever. Frisky Wolfmother, emotive Interpol and the boogie duo Chromeo revved everyones engines, leading crowds into the Nine Inch Nails show of a lifetime.
Then Saturday, Vancouvers Black Mountain fed the crowds desire for some local talent, the Tragically Hip and the Flaming Lips put on wildly vivid and expressive shows, and MSTRKRFTs Jesse Keeler sipped a 26 ounce bottle of Jack Daniels between spins. The highlight came when Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers took the stage, capping off the evening with every classic tune you could imagine.
Sunday was the day of all days, when Wintersleep drew a crowd as big as N*E*R*D did, although Pharrell used his washboard abs to lure dusty, sweaty, booty-shaking females onto the stage. Vampire Weekend and Death Cab For Cutie calmed the crowd before the storm that was Jay-Z, who was the master of hip-hop and a self-proclaimed fan of topless women.
It wasnt until Coldplay took the stage that onlookers realized the spectacle theyd just witnessed over the past three days. If there was anyone that couldve made festivalgoers truly appreciate the magnitude of the festival, it was Chris Martin and his mellow, introspective melodies. Fans ended up leaving Pemberton in good spirits, singing "Yellow under their breaths as they counted the stars while waiting in a nights worth of traffic.