Big names like Jay Z and Tom Petty may be the main attraction at Pemberton Festival, but performers from the Sea to Sky area haven’t been left out in the cold. Rather, organizers have recruited a veritable army of local solo and group acts to perform at the Barn Dance Tent throughout the festival.
Rather than cancel the 12 th annual Pemberton Barn Dance, which benefits the local Chamber of Commerce, Legion, Lions and Rotary Clubs, Pemberton Festival organizers decided to swallow the event in one gulp.
“We’re thankful to the community of Pemberton for working with us to incorporate this local tradition into the inaugural festival,” Shane Bourbonnais, president of North American touring and Business Development for Live Nation, said in a statement. “The Pemberton Festival will provide a unique opportunity for local performers to perform alongside internationally renowned artists.”
Now, what used to be a one-day country music extravaganza will run for all three days, and include a wide range of performers from throughout the corridor. The Barn Dance Tent will be open from 7 a.m until 11 a.m. daily for breakfast, and from noon until midnight for performances. And on Thursday, before the festival even begins, eager campers will be treated to a special local show in the Barn Dance Tent from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Sue Stearns is the lead vocalist, and plays harmonica and rhythm guitar for Still Smokin’, a classic rock and roll group from Pemberton that has been on the local music scene for almost 11 years.
They’re leading the charge at the Barn Dance Tent during the Pemberton Festival, and hope to get the weekend of musical mayhem off to a stellar start with their performance on Thursday evening.
With Don Murray on bass and Brad White on drums, the group first entered a battle of the bands competition in Whistler back in 1997. Today, Gary Yoshida joins the original members on lead guitar. Almost 11 years later, Still Smokin’ is living up to its name.
They’ve had time to establish a loyal fan base here in the Sea to Sky region, playing venues throughout the corridor and even making an annual road trip to play a gig at Sun Peaks resort, where they have a ski run named after them.
Stearns got in touch with organizers to let them know they were interested in being part of the inaugural Pemberton Festival as soon as she read their announcement in the paper.
“I sent an e-mail and said that we were probably the oldest local band in the corridor, both figuratively and literally,” Stearns said with a laugh. “And if we had a chance to be a part of the festival, then we would enjoy that.”
The organizers replied that they were looking to kick the weekend off right with a series of quality performances on Thursday evening, and now, Still Smokin’ is set to take the stage at 5 p.m.
Sterns isn’t sure about the size and capacity of the Barn Dance Tent — she’s heard it will accommodate crowds of 2,100 to 7,500 people — but she hopes they draw a good crowd.
“We’re not looking to really get anything out of it, because we like to play for the love the music and it’s our passion,” said Stearns.
Pemberton Festival will, without a doubt, offer many local performers the opportunity to play in front of their biggest crowds.
And while this long-time local act certainly isn’t dreaming of being discovered at the festival, you can bet that some hard-working, ambitious groups are hoping their performance will gain them much needed exposure.
Organizers have also just announced that the Bacardi B-Live Tent will feature some incredible collaborations, including a jam session on Friday with DJ Jesse James, Bongo sensation Zuzu, and local saxophonist, Kostas. On Saturday, Vancouver-based house DJ, Maurice, joins the local favourite, Kostaman, to create a sensational combo of live vocals and tracks. And on the final day of the festival, DJ Dopey will join forces with members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to create a synchronized symphonic masterpiece.
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Check out the homegrown talent:
Still Smokin’, DJ Richy Hartl, 3-Legged Ginger, DJ Milton, DJ Vinyl Ritchie, Dale & The Coolers, DJ Julian Hine, J.P.’s Kitchen Party, DJ Dagan, Papa Josh, DJ Tone, Courageous Mountain Rangers, DJ Toddski, Kostaman and The Vibrations with DJ Phroh, Slush, DJ Ricochet, DJ Lon, Whole Lotta Led, Jay Greenway, Wes Makepeace, DJ Sheila, The Rising Tide, DJ Praiz, Hairfarmers, DJ Feet Banks, Animal Nation, DJ Mr. Fister, Fall of Summer, Black Collar Crowd, The Hits, Andrea Graham, DJ Foxy Moron, Acid Wash, Tessa Amy, DJ Kori K, Gordo, DJ Rob Banks, Brother Twang, DJ Rick Flebbe, Bluesparks, DJ Peter McCrae, Altered Beast, and Donny’s Ashes.