Homegrown talents play big gig 

Find out what Sea to Sky musicians thought about the inaugural Pemberton Festival

click to enlarge Barn Dancers The Hairfarmers were just one of the many musicians from the Sea to Sky corridor that were included in the first Pemberton Festival. Photo by Greg Eymundson, wpnn.org
  • Barn Dancers The Hairfarmers were just one of the many musicians from the Sea to Sky corridor that were included in the first Pemberton Festival. Photo by Greg Eymundson, wpnn.org

It was the opportunity of a lifetime for many local performers — whether they were long-time acts, or newly formed groups, many musicians from the Sea to Sky region had the chance to perform in front of crowds of thousands of genuine music lovers who came to the area for the July 25-27 Pemberton Festival.

While concertgoers may have been lured here by the big names in the lineup — Jay Z, Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Tom Petty and more — quite a few talented locals took to the stage at the Barn Dance Tent during the three-day festival to keep the party going late into the night.

Named for the annual summertime Barn Dance that’s typically held on the same weekend in Pemberton, the organizers of Pemberton Festival, Live Nation, decided to incorporate the Barn Dance, and lots of homegrown talent, into the massive musical event, inviting groups from throughout the Sea to Sky region to step up and entertain crowds.

Jamie Weatherbie, drummer for long-time local punk band, Slush, said the experience of playing at Pemberton Festival was very positive, aside from some traffic issues.

“As far as the band stuff, everything seemed to be pretty solid,” Weatherbie said. “A little bit of a lack of promotion on the local bands, but obviously that wasn’t their biggest priority.”

Weatherbie pointed out that for a group like Slush playing a gig like Pemberton Festival, which didn’t include many punk acts, it was hard to get the word out to concertgoers who are into heavier, faster music. He suggested that next year, it might be a good idea to include bios on local bands so people who are coming to the festival from outside of the region can get an idea of the different kinds of music each group plays.

Slush played an hour-long set on Friday night, which saw the pumped-up crowd tear down the fence in front of the stage.

“It was fun, the sound was great, and we had all-access passes, so it was fun!” he said with a laugh. “We had a party.”

Greg Reamsbottom — more commonly known simply as Grateful Greg — is one half of the infamous Hairfarmers duo, and a member of Whistler’s favourite Led Zeppelin cover band, Whole Lotta Led. Both groups played during the festival, so Reamsbottom had the chance to take the stage in the Barn Dance tent twice, and perform to a crowd of smiling and familiar faces.

Whole Lotta Led performed on Friday night after Nine Inch Nails finished up on the Mount Currie stage.

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