Huka Entertainment CEO talks Pemberton Festival lineup delays and reveals what slowed things down

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      “Great things take time,” teased Pemberton Music Festival on Facebook all the way back in February.

      With the 2014 lineup finally released today (April 9), Huka Entertainment CEO A.J. Niland says organizers are in full control and he’s confident they’ve found a musical something for everyone.

      “We made a promise that we were going to put out the best lineup that we could and the best experience,” Niland says in a telephone interview shortly after the lineup was released. “You know, it took longer to get here than we thought, but we weren’t going to rush it out and put something out that we didn’t like.”

      Niland wouldn’t say exactly what slowed things down, but he dropped enough hints to reveal it was an eleventh-hour booking that led to a slight delay on the lineup announcement.

      “We had a headliner come in graciously at the last minute,” he says. “That’s why you see four names [at the top of the lineup].”

      “But we are now back in control of the experience. Through the booking process, the artist gets to dictate a lot of the tempo. But from here moving forward, it’s all under control on our end.”

      Headliners for the three-day festival beginning July 18 include Atlanta hip-hop duo Outkast, industrial icons Nine Inch Nails, Seattle grunge band Soundgarden, and Canadian producer turned super DJ Deadmau5.

      The lineup also includes A-list hip hop acts such as Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, and Snoop Dogg. Rock fans will be happy with Blondie, the Flaming Lips, and St. Vincent. And the electronic crowd will be staying up late with Girl Talk and Above and Beyond, among others. (Find complete lineup details here.)

      “I’m really excited about just about everybody,” Niland says. “I can really run through this list and pretty much say that I like everybody, and it would be the truth.”

      With headliners accounted for, Niland says he’s sure that planning the rest of the festival will go smoothly.

      “We’ve got a pretty amazing experience planned, definitely nothing that I’m aware of that’s been seen up in Canada,” he continues. “We’ve been working really hard, and we’re really excited for July.”

      More surprises are in the works, Niland reveals, but ticket holders are going to have to wait a little longer to find out what exactly those will be. Niland was determinedly tight-lipped on further details.

      “Nope, can’t get into them just yet,” he says. “They are going to be part of our ongoing releases and folks will be hearing a lot more from us over the next little while.”

      Pemberton Music Festival general admission tickets go on sale this Friday (April 11) at 10 a.m., at


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      Apr 9, 2014 at 4:49pm

      Even though they've put out a stellar lineup this year, the same cannot be said of their communications department, whom over the course of the delay continuously "disappear" and would not address the situation head on leading to frustrating fans and first time founders. Their poor or lack of communications is what drive people mad (see all the social media comments before the lineup was announced) I truly hope Huka Entertainment can pay more attention and develop better communication strategies so this whole nightmare would not occur

      Happy Founder

      Apr 9, 2014 at 10:09pm

      Communications could have been better. There's room to improve in that department. That's a bit of an understatement really. That being said people the amount of complaining got to the point of downright annoying. Sure vent your frustration. But once you've made your point move on. No need to linger on with the criticism. As a Canadian I was embarrassed.

      At the end of the day though they did deliver on their promise of an epic lineup. The great comedy lineup is a bonus. Huka is known for putting on award winning festivals with an emphasis on the arts, not just music. I hope they do the same in Pemby. Lastly, I hope this isn't a one and done deal like the first one.

      Crossing fingers for more surprises from their "more to be announced" statement.


      Apr 10, 2014 at 9:32am

      The price for this festival is nuts.

      Go Go Go

      Apr 10, 2014 at 12:16pm

      I wouldn't call it nuts. Look at all the artists. I Usually spend $60 to $120 on one ticket to a regular concert.