With music festivals popping up in seemingly every open field these days, it takes a lot to stand out—and even more to endure failure. Somehow, Pemberton Music Festival is doing both of those things this year. After a disastrous debut in 2008, Pemberton Festival weathered a few false starts before landing in the capable hands of Huka Entertainment, who have had a heavy hand in festival successes of recent years, including the burgeoning Hangout Festival. Now with a fresh face and a fresh name, Pemberton Music Festival is making its return with a remarkably diverse lineup. So far, they’re reminding us why everyone deserves a second chance.
Boasting sets by everyone from Blondie to Rebelution, the roster covers all possible bases. It even puts the oft-festivally-ignored genre of hip hop in the spotlight with appearances by Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and the recently-added Chance the Rapper (not to mention Snoop Dogg himself). The Flaming Lips, Nine Inch Nails, Metric, Deadmau5, and Minus the Bear are all returning to the festival after performing at the inaugural event six years ago.
Not convinced? Here are five more reasons you should seriously consider booking your trip to Canada next month.
- Frank Ocean + Tyler, the Creator + Earl Sweatshirt - With his only other 2014 festival performance behind him and a highly-anticipated sophomore album on its way, Frank Ocean could be the rarest get this festival season. Throw fellow Odd Future members Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt into the mix and what happens onstage will be anyone’s guess. The latter two shared their respective stages at Governors Ball a few weeks ago, and we can only hope Frank will be just as generous, paving the way for some potentially electrifying collaborations. Update: With just a week to go, Earl Sweatshirt has reportedly pulled out of Pemberton citing exhaustion, so we can kiss our "Super Rich Kids" dreams goodbye. Hopefully this is even more of a push for Tyler + Frank to come together onstage, making up for Earl's absence
- The New Pornographers - Since their last record dropped in 2010, a few members of this Canadian supergroup have released their own albums while Neko Case has dominated the festival lineups with her enthralling solo set. To the thrill of their fans, their next album will be released this fall in conjunction with a cross-country tour—a trek that begins with their date at Pemberton, marking their first live show since 2011.
- Randy Newman - The full lineup was announced in April, but just a few weeks ago Pemberton Music Festival made some surprise additions—including none other than classic crooner Randy Newman. We can only hope this is just the beginning of what Pemberton has hiding up their sleeves!
- The Comdey - Ready to laugh? Between Bob Saget, Norm MacDonald, and Tom Green, Pemberton’s comedy lineup is a ‘90s girl’s twisted wet dream. Add in the modern hilarity of Natasha Leggero, Jay Pharaoh, and Canada’s own Trailer Park Boys, and it’s guaranteed to be tough to tear away from the comedy stage.
- Modest Mouse - Last year, Modest Mouse canceled their entire European tour to work on their new album, the follow-up to 2009’s EP No One’s First, And You’re Next. Although the group has kept mum on details about the upcoming release, they’re in the middle of a fairly extensive (and recently expanded) tour of North America. Most shows sold out instantly, and a few lucky cities have even heard some new material. Pemberton could be your only chance to catch them before they disappear for six more years to complete the record.
Pemberton takes place July 16-20 in Pemberton, BC, at the base of Mt. Currie. If you’re not tempted just yet, go ahead and google a picture of Mt. Currie.
I’ll see you at the festival.