Pemberton Music Festival to return for 2014 

A New Orleans-based promotion company will resurrect the one-time fest

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The Pemberton Music Festival is coming back.

Five years after concert promoter Live Nation brought top-name acts like Tom Petty, Jay Z and Coldplay to the valley, New Orleans-based HUKA Entertainment, along with the Canadian Sunstone Group, announced Wednesday that they would be resurrecting the festival. It’s slated to take place from July 18 – 20, 2014 with tickets on sale Sept. 27.

“Pemberton Valley is unrivaled as a music festival site,” says HUKA Entertainment co-founder and CEO A.J. Niland in a release. “Its spectacular location aligns perfectly with HUKA’s philosophy of producing world-class events in unique settings.”

The company hasn’t released the lineup yet, but say it will be similar to that of the Hangout Festival, which they put on in Gulf Shores, Alabama last May. That festival featured eclectic acts ranging from Stevie Wonder to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Bassnectar. “We cater to the iPod generation where playlists, not genres, dominate listening habits,” says Niland. “Our vision for Pemberton Music Festival includes a wide spectrum of rock, indie, hip-hop, EDM, and more, anchored by top-level headliners.”

Talks have been underway to bring the one-time festival — which was on hiatus until it became “financially feasible” for Live Nation — back for the last several years. The 2008 festival drew around 40,000 people to the Pemberton Valley over three days and added an estimated $5 million to the local economy. One major issue at the time, though, was snarled traffic.

As HUKA points out, since then, improvements have been made to the Sea to Sky highway for the 2010 Olympics. “Organizers of the… festival, in conjunction with the Sunstone Group and the Lil’wat Nation, have effectively doubled the size of the traditional site by acquiring usage of acreage immediately adjacent to the festival grounds,” the release says. “The result has eliminated the need for off-site camping or excessive commuting, which directly contributed to traffic delays at past events in Pemberton Valley.”

Speculation about whether the festival would return dates back to 2010 after the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Village of Pemberton and the Agricultural Land Commission to ensure the festival site would be restored for agricultural use. That agreement was a condition that the commission placed on the SLRD to allow the Pemberton Festival to take place once a year for 10 years. The event did not, however, have to be hosted by Live Nation.

The festival will include on-site camping, but organizers are also working with Whistler Blackcomb and Tourism Whistler to arrange off-site hotel availability in Whistler as well. “We are all very excited to support this world-class music festival in 2014 and look forward to the tremendous energy and exposure it will bring,” says Dave Brownlie, president and CEO of Whistler Blackcomb, in a release.

A limited number of “founder’s program” tickets go on sale online at pembertonmusicfestival.com on Sept. 27 at 9 a.m. Those discounted passes will cost $189. Organizers say the lineup announcement will happen soon. HUKA is hosting a launch event at the Pemberton Golf Course Wednesday night where more details could be revealed.

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