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What not to miss at Squamish Valley Music Festival

Pique picks the can't-miss sets of the weekend

Bruno Mars  - SUBMITTED
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  • Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars

Performing on Friday, Aug. 8

Squamish will get to see three sides of outstanding showman Bruno Mars, the singer, the dancer and the multi-instrumentalist. In the four years since his debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Mars has won two Grammys and sold over 11 million albums. Famously imitating Elvis Presley as a child, Mars meshes a contemporary pop feel with songs like "Locked Out of Heaven" with a retro love of big performances and big hair. He's no slouch as a songwriter for others either, having co-written "Get Sexy" for the Sugababes and "Forget You/Fuck You" for Cee Lo Green.

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  • Lykke Li

Lykke Li

Performing on Friday, Aug. 8

Swedish indie singer-songwriter Lykke Li recently said in an interview: "I think pop culture underestimates people." Li doesn't allow that to stop her from building a career out of making popular, accessible music that is smart. Having lived in Nepal, India, Portugal, Morocco and New York by the time she was 19, she was a hit following her debut album Youth Novels at 22. She released her third album, I Never Learn, earlier this year, featuring new hits "I Never Learn" and "Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone."

Arcade Fire  - SUBMITTED
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  • Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Performing on Saturday, Aug. 9 Serena Ryder

With 16 national and international awards under their belts and a further 15 nominations, Montreal's super band Arcade Fire headlined the Glastonbury Festival in England earlier this summer. The six-member band is in the middle of their tour to support their latest album Reflektor, described by Rolling Stone magazine as the best album they've made. With Reflektor following their Grammy Award-winning album The Suburbs, that is high praise indeed. Arcade Fire is known as a superb live performance.

Serena Ryder  - SUBMITTED
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  • Serena Ryder

Serena Ryder

Performing on Friday, Aug. 8

Taking to Twitter, Toronto singer-songwriter Serena Ryder asks, "Who's coming to @SquamFest with me?" Winning Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year at the 2014 Junos thanks to her 2013 album Harmony and its singles "Stompa" and "What I Wouldn't Do." Ryder also sang "O, Canada" at this year's NBA All Star Game. Artistic and sporty! She says her music has been influenced by genres ranging from R&B, jazz, folk, country, classical and blues; musicians as diverse as Michael Jackson, Stevie Nicks and Neil Young have also played a part.

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  • Eminem


Performing on Sunday, Aug. 10

So... will Slim Shady bring Rihanna with him to Squamish? Probably not, but it's nice to dream as the pair start a tour together this summer. Where to start? Will he perform "Stan," "The Monster," "Rap God," "Without Me," "Mosh," "I Need A Doctor." It's a long list of hits and there's only so much time in a set. The multi-talented, multi-named rapper has sold 200 million albums, picked up a vanload of Grammys (13 to be exact), and brought home one shiny Academy Award for Best Song with "Lose Yourself" from the film 8 Mile, based loosely on his dysfunctional early life.

Foster the People  - SUBMITTED
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  • Foster the People

Foster the People

Performing on Friday, Aug. 8

Los Angeles indie band Foster the People had an unhappy time in their hometown recently, when a mural they had made of a woman on a psychedelic green background was painted over. It had been added to a giant wall on the side of a historical block of lofts. The image had been used on its new album Supermodel. Despite a petition, now the building is shiny white and the mayor is satisfied. Founded in 2009, Foster the People's single "Pumped Up Kicks" was their crossover hit, bringing them to the attention of the world in 2011.

Arctic Monkeys  - SUBMITTED
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  • Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys

Performing on Sunday, Aug. 10

Sheffield, U.K., band Arctic Monkeys released their first No. 1 single "I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor" in 2005. The album it came from, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, remains the fastest selling British album of all time. They seem to change their style of music for every album. Their most recent, AM, was called their most fun album in years, finding that happy place between their love of experimentation with style and just plain fine rock music.

Kevin Drew  - SUBMITTED
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  • Kevin Drew

Kevin Drew

Performing on Saturday, Aug. 9

Performing solo after many years as a creative core of Toronto collective band Broken Social Scene, Kevin Drew sings songs about sex, intimacy and the crazy gulfs in between in his new album Darlings. In his work he aims to show his maturation as a music writer and lyricist. Fun fact: Drew is directing for the second time the Independent Music Residency at the Banff Centre in Alberta. There, he mentors Canadian indie bands and helps them develop for two weeks in October.

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  • Nas


Performing on Friday, Aug. 8

Ranked No. 5 in a list of the greatest MCs of all time by MTV, Nas has also had six No. 1 albums on Billboard. That ties him with Eminem and Kanye West in second place for rappers. Critics talk about his ability to pull words and rhyme together to evoke life in the streets. His most recent album is Life is Good, release in 2012.  An entrepreneur off the stage, Nas has become involved in the Bitcoin world, calling it an industry potentially bigger than the Internet in an interview this month.

Pique picks the can’t-miss sets of the weekend


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