Don’t bust out your rompers or your flowered crowns just yet: the Pemberton Music Festival has been cancelled.
Ernst & Young, the trustees handling the festival’s bankruptcy proceedings, blamed both the weak Canadian dollar and the lack of artists touring in 2017 for the cancellation (neither of which has prevented Montreal’s Osheaga or Ottawa’s Bluesfest from moving forward as planned).
So now what?
With Pemby gone and the Squamish Valley Music Festival a distant memory, Vancouverites who bitched and moaned about the lack of stars at this year’s Sasquatch festival might find themselves scrambling to get tickets to the Seattle event.
Or fans of past Pemberton lineups might be compelled to hop the skytrain for their festival fix and head to FVDED In The Park, where former Pemby headliners Wiz Khalifa and The Chainsmokers are slated to perform.
We covered the last three Pemberton Music Festivals and, like thousands of other disappointed concert goers, we’re definitely experiencing the five stages of grief today (especially depression).
After all there’s a lot to miss.
Pemby’s organizers had impeccable taste when it came to booking promising new artists: Chance The Rapper played the festival three years before winning the Grammy for Best New Artist, and Kendrick Lamar was billed as a “junior artist” in 2014, just months before his To Pimp A Butterfly album elevated him to GOAT status.
And fans of local talent will be hard pressed to find another major festival that focuses so heavily on Canadian artists. From deadmau5 to Sloan to Metric to Sam Roberts, homegrown acts from coast to coast dominated Pemberton’s stages over the last three summers.
And it wasn’t just the new kids on the block that kept us coming back year after year either. Past Pemby Fests have featured killer sets from bonafide legends like Ice Cube, Alice Cooper, Blondie, and Billy Idol to name just a few (sad note – the late great Chris Cornell and his iconic band Soundgarden headlined the 2014 edition).
But it wasn’t all about the music – the view of the majestic Mt. Currie, home to the Pemberton Music Festival, was worth the price of admission alone. In addition to concert stages, the site was loaded with awesome amenities like food trucks, water slides, and enough pop-up clothing shops to delight even the most jaded hipster. We’ll especially miss the shuttle buses and campsites, where cries of “ALLAN?” and “STEVE!!” kept us in stitches every summer.
So while we take the rest of the afternoon off to grapple with our summertime sadness, please enjoy a trip down memory lane with our favourite photos from Pemby Fests passed.
Some photos in this article were provided by Brandon Artis Photography.