Ever wonder what it's like to be a young band catching its biggest-ever break?
Three Sea to Sky bands — Lovecoast, Dakota Pearl, and the Will Ross Band — got a tantalizing taste of this at last weekend's Pemberton Music Festival.
Squamish indie band Lovecoast won the regional battle of the bands — Be the Best, Play the Fest — in June, and a spot on the Bass Camp stage was first prize.
Singer Danielle Sweeney says there were a lot of nerves at first, but organizers made them feel welcome.
"They've been so great to us. The festival organizers have been treating us as if we were a band they hired to be here," Sweeney says.
"We're getting the same perks as everyone else and it's been a mind-blowing experience."
Along with their set, on Thursday, July 16, the band also took home $5,000 in the competition.
The festival was a "super-positive experience," Sweeney says.
"It's like, 'What? We get to go through here? No one's going to get mad?'"
She adds that they've had access to people they wouldn't normally get the chance to meet.
"We met other bands from Vancouver, the guys from the Gay Nineties and other people as well. It's just been a fun weekend of being around cool people," Sweeney says.
Still a relatively new band, Lovecoast has never been in a music event of this size.
"We've played weekend festivals with three other bands, something along those lines. This many people in Pemberton, it's large scale," Sweeney says.
Dakota Pearl, winner of the first Be the Best competition in 2014, was invited back to perform at the festival this year.
Lead singer Adam Leggett said they were even more nervous this time.
"We had a couple of members change out and we wanted to prove to people that we are who we are and we can throw it down," Leggett says.
"We had a very good reception. Thank god for local support and friends and family being there."
They played 12 songs, half new and half off their last record.
In terms of what it does for the band psychologically and in terms of their playing, Leggett believes the Pemberton experience prepares them for bigger and better opportunities.
"Huka gets the best of the best for everyone and it's one of the biggest festivals in North America. It's crazy," Leggett says.
"It gives us the drive and I don't want to stop until we're playing concerts that size on a regular basis."
And Sweeney says Lovecoast got the benefit of meeting more experienced people behind the scenes.
"After our set we got a lot of positive feedback from the sound guys and music people who have to do this all the time," she says.
"It's not an ego thing, I don't mean it that way. It was just such a positive push for us. The reassurance that we're doing the right thing, and we can be successful as a group if we keep moving. It's another thing to add to the resume."
Sweeney says they will take away a lot from the Pemberton experience in terms of future performances.
"Stage-presence wise. Watching a lot of these other bands on huge stages. It's the biggest we've played on and there is so much space to work with. We're used to being on little bar stages where we're shoulder to shoulder," she says.