The long wait for the Spud Valley to host another massive music festival is over.
The Pemberton Music Festival was officially introduced Wednesday (Sept. 25) in a press release, promising to turn the region into a “premier musical playground” for three days in July next year.
Huka Entertainment will produce the event at the same site as the Pemberton Festival put on by Live Nation in 2008, but with expanded grounds that organizers hope will be “more conducive to festival activities.”
“Pemberton Valley is unrivalled as a music festival site,” said A.J. Niland, Huka Entertainment CEO and co-founder, in the release. “Its spectacular location aligns perfectly with Huka’s philosophy of producing world-class events in unique settings.”
Huka Entertainment has been successful in producing well-attended contemporary music festivals across the U.S. over the past several years, including the critically-acclaimed Hangout Music Festival that has been held each May in Alabama since 2010.
Performers for the Pemberton Music Festival were not revealed Wednesday, but the release said the lineup would be similar to the ones seen at the Hangout Festival. This year, headliners at the Hangout Festival included Kings of Leon, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Stevie Wonder, while big-ticket artists gracing the stage in 2012 included Jack White, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Dave Matthews Band.
“We cater to the iPod generation, where playlists, not genres, dominate listening habits,” said Niland. “Our vision for the Pemberton Music Festival includes a wide spectrum of rock, indie, hip hop, EDM, and more, anchored by top-level headliners.”
The festival site is jointly held by the Sunstone Group and Lil’wat Nation, each of which have partnered up with Huka Entertainment for the event. Both organizations stated their excitement over being involved with the festival in Wednesday’s release.
“The Lil’wat Nation is proud to support Pemberton Music Festival, continuing our legacy of participating in world-class events,” said Chief Lucinda Phillips. “The Nation is happy to showcase its traditional territory and share our history and culture while promoting our economy.”
The festival is scheduled for July 18 to 20, with tickets going on sale beginning at 9 a.m. Friday (Sept. 27). The event is also slated to feature “a variety of arts, activities and other forms of entertainment,” said the release.
After the 2008 Pemberton Festival attracted an estimated 40,000 music fans to the region for a star-studded lineup of artists, Live Nation never returned, citing a number of logistical and financial challenges with the event.
Huka Entertainment is hopeful that some of those challenges will be addressed via the expanded festival site, which has “effectively doubled” in size by accessing land adjacent to the original grounds. The promoter is anticipating that the larger site, coupled with improvements to Highway 99 in recent years, can eliminate “excessive commuting” and the need for off-site camping.
“The improvements made to the land base not only make the grounds more conducive to festival activities and camping, but have had a great and positive impact on parking and traffic management plans as well,” said Niland. “Discussions are already underway with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure officials to review these plans and put them into effect.”
While on-site camping will be available for the festival, the event will also provide transportation options for attendees opting to lodge off the grounds, including shuttles between Whistler and Pemberton, said the release.
The Village of Pemberton and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District have also been consulted on the event. The local government agencies have worked hard to attract a new festival producer to fill Live Nation’s absence, completing a new memorandum of understanding with the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to allow any promoter of their choosing to use the festival grounds. A previous agreement with the ALC stipulated that Live Nation was the only event producer permitted to operate on the site.
“I think I can safely say that we are all eagerly anticipating a great event,” said Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy in the release.
It is expected that more details will be revealed during a launch event scheduled for Wednesday night at The Meadows at Pemberton Golf Course. Check back for updates on this story.