Opinion: How does the Pemberton 2016 lineup stack up?

Dec 19 2017, 9:09 pm

Now THAT’S what we call the 90s! After months of speculation, the folks at the Pemberton Music Festival finally released their artist lineup this morning and many of us are still scratching our heads.

Some of the choices are great – headliners Pearl Jam are nothing short of iconic, and new kids on the block like Halsey and FKA Twigs are making big waves in the music scene.


But compared to previously announced festival lineups like Montreal’s Osheaga (which features Future, Radiohead, and Lana Del Rey), PembyFest is coming up a little short. Fans of a certain age will no doubt be stoked for Cypress Hill, Noel Gallagher, and Billy Idol, but Vancouver’s hipster crowd might be more inclined to party with Disclosure, Florence + the Machine, and Major Lazer over at Sasquatch in May.

So how does this year’s PembyFest lineup stack up? We asked our music writers to weigh in on their thoughts on this year’s artists:


“I saw the list on the way to work this morning and kept scrolling, thinking the headliners were buried towards the bottom. And after having attended the last two stellar editions of the Pemberton Music Festival, I have to say that I was disappointed that this wasn’t the case.

I love me some Snoop, and I’m super excited that Ice Cube is being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year, but it’d be almost impossible to make a playlist for the drive to Mt. Currie if your car doesn’t have a tape deck. And where’s the 2Pac hologram?!? Anyway, I’m the kinda guy who makes lemonade out of lemons and I’ll be more than happy to party like it’s 1999 with the rest of my older hipster pals.”


“Pearl Jam, Method Man & Redman, Noel Gallagher, Ice Cube, Cheech & Chong…personally, I’ve never been to Pemberton because there hasn’t really been enough of a draw for me, but I’m far more inclined to go this year just based on those artists alone.

They’re legends, and I think that them being included on the lineup is a big deal. Plus, with other performers like Savages, FKA Twigs, and Arkells, it’s nice to see an assortment of artists that can appeal to a variety of tastes.”


“At first glance, I’ll admit that the headliners didn’t strike me as very interesting. Spending a little more time digging into the undercard, however, completely changed my attitude. As a huge fan of the alternative, electronic, rap and R&B music scenes that are on the come up right now, this is really what’s going to make the festival special for me.

Being able to see artists like Miguel, Purity Ring, Die Antwoord, Tory Lanez, Rae Sremmurd, Kehlani, Anderson.Paak, Sza, Hudson Mohawke, Lido, DIIV, Hucci, and Esta all within a few days is going to be amazing.”


“Is it April 1? Has it been for the last month? From the cancellation of one festival, to a lineup that doesn’t quite live up to the hype at another, is this the end of music festivals as we know it in B.C.? I understand it’s really tough to compete with any lineup that secures LCD Soundsystem or Radiohead (side note: why aren’t we getting Radiohead at all here?). But Radiohead (and Wayhome and Osheaga) aside, the highlights for me include Thievery Corporation (hello ex-Squamishers!), HudMo, Tory Lanez, and Noel Gallagher.

But let’s take the case of Noel Gallagher for a second. He is on an East Coast tour in July, and he’s somehow flying out West between a date in Pittsburgh and Ohio – really? As for the rest, I’d rather wait to see them in more intimate venues around our city. Is this worth the $300, plus camping? Perhaps the views are, but since it’s 2016 and Osheaga and Wayhome haven’t sold out yet, this may be time for me to take some trips back home. You win this round, East Coast. You win.”

Those are just our humble opinions – who are you most excited to see this summer? And how does this year’s version of the Pemberton Music Festival stack up when compared to previous editions? Sound off in the comments section below.


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