Last weekend we were given a unique opportunity to cross country borders and attend Pemberton Music Festival British Columbia, Canada. Having never been to a music festival outside of the U.S., I traveled to the Pemberton Valley with an open mind and a whole lot of anticipation for the incredible lineup it had crafted.

Overall, I would call Pemberton the Coachella of Canada. Instead of the desert, this venue took place on an extensive grass field in the Pemberton Valley of beautiful British Columbia. Having traveled from Seattle I expected to catch the same vibe I would at Sasquatch or Coachella, but this festival reminded me of how different Canada is from America (in terms of music festivals that is). I’m not sure if it was the rowdy chicken fights until 4AM in the campgrounds or seeing a Canadian flag every hundred steps, but the festival atmosphere was different than anything I’ve experienced in America.

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Pemberton Music Festival offers music from folk to die-hard dubstep and everything in between. Their focus was nothing but the music, with the exception of a few art pieces that worked great as shade structures. Pemberton’s most popular stage was the electronic stage or as they like to call it “Bass Camp”.

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I’d like to give a massive shout out to Pemberton for making the Bass Stage one of the loudest stages I have ever encountered in my music festival career. You could hear this stage from literally a mile away. The bass boomed so loud that it would even interfere with other stage’s sets. Not that that’s a good thing, but for those bass-heads like myself, I think we can all agree THAT S*** BANGED.

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One unique part about Pemberton Music Festival was that they put a lot of effort into their comedy acts just as much as the music. The Laugh Camp is a stage devoted to some of the world’s best comedy. Pemberton featured comedians like Eric Andre, Reggie Watts, and Tim & Eric. The comedy at the festival was usually performed earlier in the day so it was a great to sit down have a beer and laugh it out before the dancing begun.

 

Music Recap/ Highlights:

Thursday:

Flux Pavilion: The first act of our weekend set the bar high as British DJ Flux Pavillion took the decks. His unique style of dubstep took us all the way back to middle school as he dropped the infamous ‘bass cannon’.

Bassnectar:

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Year after year we see artists rise and fall in and out of popularity. Bassnectar, however, has remained king of the wobble and proves it every time he gets on stage. After seeing him earlier this year at Ultra, I expected to hear a few repeated songs within his set. To my surprise he dropped 2 unreleased tracks and brought in more energy than I’ve ever seen him do.

ZHU: Two weeks before the festival, Pemberton announced an additional 10 artists to the lineup and ZHU was one of them. After seeing his North America debut show in 2014 at HARD day of the dead, I was hooked on the faceless DJ. While still attempting to remain anonymous, the only thing that separated him from the crowd was a screen that he’s had since day one. He spun his music while branching out into the darkness that deep house has to offer. Still one of my favorite artists to this day.

Bad Bad Not Good:

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This young jazzy jam band from Toronto closed the first night of the festival in style. This vocal-less group has made collaborations with Ghost Face Killah and Flying Lotus over the past two years and played experimental jams until 3 AM.

Friday:

Charles Bradley: Now this artist is one that you wouldn’t usually see featured on this kind of site, but Charles Bradley deserves a massive shout-out. Bradley is one of the last touring soul artists in the country. His performance brought me back to a generation that is slowly fading away.

Kid Cudi:

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Kid Cudi is an accurate representation of everyone’s ipod at whatever age you were 7 years ago. He’s back and better than ever. Cudi is one of the few artists that sounds the exact same in concert. He plays with a live band and absolutely packed one of the side stages. Pemberton did not anticipate the turnout for this lyrical genius.

Tiesto:

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Let’s get one thing straight, I am not a fan of Tiesto. I respect Tiesto maybe more than any other DJ in the world because he was the first to take EDM to an arena level, however that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy his music. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’d like to give him some credit because after his mainstream house set, he began to play a random trap followed with a dubstep track (which he probably made himself). Hats off to Tiesto for going out of the box and playing something nobody expected to hear.

Saturday:

Alice Cooper:

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Another addition to the Pemberton Lineup just two weeks before the event was Wayne’s World featured artist Alice Cooper. Hats off to Pemberton for booking such an iconic classic rock artist like Alice Cooper. His performace included an abundance of makeup, outfits, and props that made the stage look like a graveyard. Festival attendees young and old sang along to his classic hits like “school’s out” and “no more Mr. Nice guy”.

Ludacris: Yeah you read that right I said Ludacris. To this day I still can’t believe I danced to hip-hop legend Ludacris. Luda and his childhood friend/ partner in rhyme brought us back to the early 2000’s playing all his hits like “what’s your fantasy”, “Get Back”, and “Blueberry Yum Yum”.

RL Grime:

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Almost everyone I talked to said that the trap lord himself aka RL Grime was the most anticipated act of the weekend. Never had I ever seen a trap DJ have so much energy in his set. He played 3 or 4 songs of Drake constantly giving shout outs to Canada which I thought was very interesting but the crowed seemed to dig it. He ended his set with what I believe should be named as the 2015 trap anthem “Core”.

Sunday:

Anna Lunoe B2B Mija:

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Having seen both of these artists in their own separate acts, I was more than stoked to see them on the Pemberton lineup as a part of Skrillex’s Full Flex Express. Surprisingly, other than NERVO I haven’t seen any other woman DJ’s but Anna and Mija dropped some serious bass and got everyone dancing for their 1:00 PM show. If you haven’t already, check out “Crank it” by Mija… you’ll thank me later.

Sango: Singed by Soulection this past year, Sango rocked the bass stage playing anything from hip-hop to trap beats from the works of his collaborators Mr. Carmack and friends. One thing that impressed me was that he played only new music including Kaytranada’s newest track that was released 2 hours before his set.

Missy Elliot:

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Ah yes the DIVA queen herself made it up to Canada for one of the best performances of the weekend. With over a dozen of backup dancers, her hour-long set was completely choreographed. Missy played all the hits like “Work It” and “Get Ur Freak On” that everyone sang along to.

 

Jack U:

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Pemberton was the last show of the Full Flex Express tour and Jack U went out with a bang. While Skrillex rolled out on stage on a skateboard, Diplo took the decks and opened with “Take U There” for arguably the largest crowd of the weekend. While both Skrillex and Diplo played a B2B set, I mostly heard Skrillex originals being played. Nonetheless, every song those two produce is gold and there couldn’t have been a more perfect act to finish a perfect weekend.

Check out the rest of our photos from the weekend HERE