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Mountain Muse Festival returns for 2024

The Pemberton-based music event will run June 22 and 23
The Pemberton Downtown Community Barn at the 2023 Mountain Muse Festival.

Mountain Muse is back for another year.

This year’s edition of the local music festival will again light up the Pemberton Downtown Community Barn for two fun-filled summer nights. 

On Saturday, June 22, Austin Ross and the Pemberton Project will join the Big Love Band in putting on a lively ticketed show for guests aged 19 and up, with hot food and beer on tap. The next day, Sunday, June 23, festival newcomers Laura’n Art and the New Mountain Rangers are in the mix alongside Archie Peters and Broken Arrow for a free concert and artisan’s market. 

“For us, it's really important that these artists have original work that they're going to perform because that’s what we’re trying to support,” says Pemberton Arts Council (PAC) chair Joan Richoz. “Saturday’s a really high-energy event. Sunday’s a little more low-key and we’re encouraging families to come. 

“Austin Ross is a born-and-bred Pembertonian, the Pemberton Project is a rock ‘n’ roll kind of band, and Big Love is great. They really get people dancing,” she adds. “We don't have a children's entertainer like we did last year, but we've got two Indigenous artists from Mount Currie: Archie Peters and Broken Arrow. [This will be the first time] Laura and the New Mountain Rangers will be performing … and they are fabulous.” 

As Pemberton continues to expand, there is much discourse surrounding what could happen and how to prepare for the inevitable. Grassroots music festivals cannot solve all of these problems, but they are a valuable way for locals to remain connected with each other and keep their fingers on the pulse of their own arts community. 

“I think it’s so important not just for people who are well-established, but for new people to come and find a way to be part of the community,” Richoz opines. “When you move to a new place, it's not easy for everybody to make new friends and [Mountain Muse is a great way to do that].” 

‘What we love to do’

The New Mountain Rangers—also known as the Courageous Mountain Rangers—haven’t been together quite as long as The Rolling Stones, but Jeff Heintzman figures he and co-founder Mike Grenzer have been playing for more than 20 years. Both are versatile musicians who sing in addition to handling the guitar, banjo and mandolin. 

They’ve gone through their share of lineup changes over time, but are currently joined by guitarist and dobro man Brett Florio and bassist Rajan Das. 

All look forward to being part of Mountain Muse for the first time. 

“This is what we love to do,” explains Florio. “A lot of bands do just corporate events, bars or certain types of venues, but we really like to do community arts events. It’s a good vibe, we feel good … what a magical part of being in the Sea to Sky. It's such a wonderful place, people are so nice, and we get to play music that we're excited about.” 

Armed with a flavourful repertoire, the New Mountain Rangers liken their content to a mix of “hard-driving bluegrass, blazing hot fiddle tunes, melancholy murder ballads, Latin love songs, Western and jazz-inspired numbers and plenty of originals” on their website. They’ve also got unique takes on familiar work by Neil Young, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Gillian Welch and more. 

“By the nature of playing acoustic instruments, we don't get a chance to play a lot of bars and noisy venues where we would overpower the audience,” Heintzman says. “The best venues for us are the ones where we're outside, or where the sound of people talking will dissipate and we can be heard.” 

The Downtown Community Barn fits that bill, and Richoz for one looks forward to seeing everybody strut their stuff.  

“These musicians are all really good,” she says. “There’s so much talent in the corridor … and [this Mountain Muse] will be even better than the last two years.”

More information can be found at Early birds will receive a discounted rate of $25 per ticket up to the first 100 tickets sold, compared to $35 the day of.