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Inaugural Mountain Muse Festival kicks off in Pemberton

New event set for Sept. 13 and 14 at venues around the Village
Venues around Pemberton, including the Downtown Community Barn, will host various music acts on Sept. 13 and 14. Photo from pique archives

Pemberton's long, dusty summer is over.

With the (estimated) end of the Downtown Enhancement Project—which saw much of the Village's downtown under construction over the last few months—in sight, the Pemberton Arts Council (PAC) is hosting a brand-new weekend festival.

The Mountain Muse Festival will take place on Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14, and features art and music at various venues around town—from the Downtown Community Barn to Blackbird Bakery, Mile One Eating House, Mount Currie Coffee Company, and Town Square.

"Pemberton has been torn to pieces all summer," says Karen Love, president of the PAC. "It's been hard for those venues. We're hoping the sidewalks will be paved by then and brushed up. Let's use our downtown ... It's going to be fantastic."

The festival kicks off Friday night with a beer garden and country rockers Dakota Pearl and Old Man Grant. Then, on Saturday, catch Thomas Sloss, Suzanne Wilson, Michael Waters, and the Sea to Sky Orchestra at various venues from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

From 2 to 4 p.m., Mount Currie reggae artists The Spiritual Warriors hit the stage, followed by bluegrass band The Courageous Mountain Rangers from 4 to 6 p.m. and soulful roots singer Ev Kinsella from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

All the shows are free.

"There is a beer garden Friday night with donations from The Beer Farmers, but then Saturday is alcohol-free. Anyone can come to town, everyone can walk through and listen," Love says.

The locations for each artist were still to-be-confirmed at press time, but organizers plan to keep options open to allow artists to perform inside the venues or outdoors.

"It depends on the day," Love says. "If the musicians feel like if they're at the bakery, they might want to be on the deck, we're keeping options open."

September is shaping up to be a busy month for the Pemberton music scene. Smack dab in the middle of the festival, The Meadows at Pemberton is celebrating its 35th anniversary with an evening of music on Sept. 14. Then the annual Pemberton Barn Dance is set for Sept. 22.

"September might be our month for music," Love says. "I think it's exciting. Hopefully Pemberton can bring back [its own version of] the Pemberton Music Festival with music in our valley."

Last week, organizers were still deciding on which visual artists to feature in which local shops, but, going forward, Love envisions art being a big part of the festival, too. Currently, they also plan to have live painting on site. "We want to develop it into an art walk as well," she adds.

The idea for the event initially stemmed from a grant PAC received from the BC Arts Council to host a community art festival. "Last year, we had the Garlic Festival, but we've changed it up a bit because it was too far out of town," Love says. "We wanted something closer to town to connect with more spaces and develop it over time. It will turn into a bigger walking festival and you can go over two days and listen to music in our town."

The best way to take in the festival is to check the event's Facebook page (search Mountain Muse Festival or visit to find out which venue is hosting which artist, bring a chair down, and enjoy.

"I'm super stoked because all these musicians are super helpful and happy to be part of it," Love says. "The BC Arts Council, the Government of B.C. has pitched in, the arts council is pitching in, and all those venues are offering up their space as well. That's a really great offer from them to have a space for music as well."