Pemberton Music Festival

Pemberton Music Festival

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This is a guest post by Amanda Palmer, a Vancouver-based video/photo shooter with an infectious energy. Amanda has lived across Canada and once traveled holding down a different job every week for a whole summer. Follow Amanda's adventures on instagram @amandalcam

Music Festivals. They are crazy. They are messy. They are inspiring.

A few years ago, when some friends and I joined the masses at Coachella, it was hot, crowded and frantic. I swar we spent more time in search of water and each other than we actually did listening to the music. So this year when my husband and I snagged VIP tickets to the Pemberton Music Festival in British Columbia, we went in with the attitude of let it happen. No rushing to stages, no worrying about seeing absolutely everything and most importantly: no cranky pants. We promised to explore the grounds, the crowds and the bands at our own pace and without expectation.

After a 3-hour drive into the Garibaldi Ranges north of Vancouver, we arrived at the festival site. Mount Currie stood guard over us as we set up our tent and started exploring. A black bear sighting right outside our campsite reminded us just how far into the mountains we’d come.

The festival site itself was well laid out: stages were close enough to saunter between but far enough away from one another to contain each performance. There were plenty of food trucks (and healthy eats) to choose from, well stocked beer gardens and smiling strangers everywhere. Something that Pemberton definitely excelled at was choosing their artists. Festivals like this exist to showcase a wide range of music, and this weekend did not disappoint.  Where else can a person shake-it with Outkast, dance their sweaty hearts out to Girl Talk and Deadmau5, and then sing along with Randy Newman as he plunks out ‘Short People’ on his Steinway? (Newman was one of my absolute favourites. Such a snarky man).

The comedy stage added another element to the fest – Danny Tanner himself (Bob Saget) brought his crass humour to the masses, along with homegrown crowd pleasers Trailer Park Boys, Lisa Lampanelli and more. The atmosphere of Pemberton was friendly and open. At every step of the weekend, there was a new friendship to be made and a new sound to experience.  I loved arriving at each stage and finding the music. People dressed as they saw fit - from the extreme (bear suits and penguin costumes) to the hipster (floppy hats, leather tassels and heart-shaped sunglasses). For better or worse, festival fashion was alive and well.

It was such a treat to wake up to fresh alpine air every morning and listen to the music echo off the nearby mountaintops every night. When our voices were shot and our air mattress could no longer hold air – we knew it was time to go.

With a heart full of music we headed back to the city. Pemberton 2015 can’t come soon enough. Definitely no cranky pants here.

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