Pemberton’s annual barn dance may be slightly overshadowed this summer, as Jay-Z, Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Tom Petty and The Tragically Hip roll into town to perform at the first ever Pemberton Festival.
After almost four months of planning, Live Nation, an international music events company, confirmed it is bringing a three-day European-style outdoor music festival, featuring more than 50 performers, to the area July 25 to 27.
Shane Bourbonnais, president of North American Touring and Business Development for Live Nation, made the announcement on Thursday evening to a full house at the Big Sky Golf and Country Club in Pemberton.
Eagerly clutching wine glasses and promotional posters, Pemberton residents cheered as Bourbonnais released the full, confirmed lineup and laid out details of the festival.
Rumours of the event first surfaced in late fall. Since then, Live Nation has been working to get approvals from organizations like the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, the Village of Pemberton, the Ministry of Transportation, the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, and the local Agricultural Advisory Committee.
They finally received final approval from the Agricultural Land Commission, and are now ready to move forward.
“I was ecstatic,” said Bourbonnais. “I got the call, I put the phone down, and I just kind of stared outside the window and went ‘wow’ — I was stunned. It had finally all come together, all the different agencies that we had to deal with, and it was great. It was such an amazing feeling that we had passed all the hurdles.”
The primary festival site is about 320 acres of flat field, known as the Ravens Crest property, in Area C of the SLRD. It will feature a main stage, a second stage, a dance tent, multiple bars, vendors, a farmer’s market, local art displays, and a kid’s zone.
Since this is a new venue for Live Nation, organizers aren’t really sure how many people to expect, but are hoping to have 25,000 to 30,000 people come to the festival each day, though the maximum capacity for the site, including all staff, volunteers and security personnel, is 40,000.
“To achieve those numbers in the first year of a festival is very difficult,” said Bourbonnais.
So far, valley residents seem supportive of the plans.
Stephanie Dartois was just one of many people who attended the March 13 announcement. Dartois lives in Pemberton and works for Ravens Crest Developments, so she had an inkling of what was planned for the site, but was shocked to hear the full lineup of performers.