Live from Pemberton

Hey all you hep-cats and -girls, the first (and maybe last) Pemberton Music Festival is underway here in beautiful B.C. People started arriving Thursday, got stranded by the side of the road overnight, and continued to arrive in droves yesterday. Pemberton is located half an hour north of Whistler, the playground of the rich and the snowboarding, but traffic was so slow yesterday (Friday) that the drive took about two hours. Naturally, with the first edition of a festival of this kind and size (40,000 expected each day), there are going to be some growing pains. Yet for all the disorganization, overpriced beer ($7 for a Coors Light? Gimme a break!), and dust, the vibe was positive on the festival grounds. I’m sure this was due a great deal to the natural beauty of the surroundings–mountains on all sides. The grounds are located in a valley, though maybe dustbowl would be more accurate, making it hard to watch, say, top-hatted bore Serj Tankian (of the Armenian-American political hard-rock band System of a Down) or angry man Trent Reznor and his Nine Inch Nails when you could be looking at the gorgeous scenery.

And, as usual with these kinds of things, you never know who you’re going to run into–although it’s a safe bet you’re going to run into some music industry types, recognizable by their search for free booze. I ran into Robin Esrock, who hosts a travel show on OTN I believe, backstage at the Bacardi B-Live tent, and who I haven’t seen since the infamous Global Warming pool party in March. (Overheard just now in the Fairmont Whistler Hotel lounge: “We came all the way from Chicago to see bears. What is the best way to do it?”) Also hanging out–actually lying recumbent on one of the canopied beds set up outside–was Janine Jankowski, she of the nice stems, while her DJ boyfriend Jesse James did the rounds. Nearby, the B-Live tent, devoted to electronica and dancebeats, was a frenzied, sweaty barn-dance the couple of times I looked in on it. The musical highlight of the day was easily Kathleen Edwards rocking out (in a black evening dress, no less) on her great, funny, killer post-revenge track “Back to Me.” This lady can rock, no doubt.

Meanwhile, the girlfriend-type-thing (a phrase coined by her own friend Rachel!) is also in Whistler, where I’m staying when not at the festival. But she’s with five other girls as part of a stagette party. I’m hoping, so I have something interesting to report next time, for stories of decadence and debauchery with lingerie and battery-operated toys.

1 Response to “Live from Pemberton”

  1. 1 Big E
    July 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Nothing truer could be said about the dust. It was an excellent time at the festival for myself and those I attended with. The answer for us was the RV site, the average age was a bit higher and the atmosphere really casual. I felt a pang of sadness listening to CBC radio this moring when they played In My Place by Coldplay as they had to be missed for us to travel back home and be at work in a semi prepared state.

    The return to the realities of living in a small town in the central interior is somewhat heart breaking after a weekend of feeling like being part of the cool crowd. Needless to say I have decided to let my hair get that much shaggier and my music a little bit louder. Personal highlights were meeting some people that will hopefully keep in touch as time goes on and we will be a ble to meet at the next pemberton festival. The hip were amazing, the break out performance in this blogger’s opoinion was by my morning jacket, holy smokes they were absolutely amazing and brought the crowd to energy levels borderlining ridiculous. Their album is definite going to be bought.

    Saying good bye to a great weekend was tough, the people I met were some of the best. I wish that there was more to hold on to. Here is to next year.


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