Organizers are keeping tightlipped about the lineup they’re planning for the 2014 Pemberton Music Festival. Fair enough, the three-day show is 10 months off and was only announced this morning (September 25). But Huka Entertainment CEO A.J. Niland did tell the Straight that people should have high expectations.
“Expect a world-class lineup,” he said in a helicopter doing a flyover of the festival site. “Expect it to be on calibre with the previous event.”
Bold words given that headliners for the 2008 event held on the same piece of land included Jay Z, Coldplay, Tom Petty, and Nine Inch Nails.
Back on the ground, Niland, a native of New Orleans, recounted his first time visiting Pemberton roughly a year ago.
“This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I was amazed and it immediately became about how to make this happen.”
Niland revealed that the event is going to run with a maximum capacity of 40,000 people and include space for 25,000 to camp on-site.
The festival will run for five nights beginning Wednesday, July 16, 2014. The plan for the first couple evenings is for a more relaxed vibe that will let people set up camp and prepare for the main event. The festival will then officially begin Friday, July 18. That will mark the first of three nights worth of headliners and high-calibre entertainment playing four stages plus a fifth in the campground.
Details on who's performing will begin to be announced in January.
Niland and Huka Entertainment were in Pemberton with partners Paul Mercs Concerts for the festival’s launch party at Meadows restaurant at the Pemberton Golf Course. The free concert featured Halifax’s Rich Aucoin and a surprise “appearance” by Bubbles and the Trailer Park Boys.
Neil Colquhoun is president of Sunstone Group, which purchased the festival property in 2011. At the launch party, he told the Straight that they’ve been working to bring a music event back to Pemberton for two years.
Colquhoun addressed complaints about the 2008 festival, which received some criticism for challenges like traffic congestion.
“We’ve had five years to look into those issues and we’ve done a lot of homework,” he said. “Luckily, we have the benefit of looking at that festival from a distance and I think we’ve gone a long way to figure them out.”
A limited number of “Founder’s Program” tickets (we’re hearing it could be as few as 500) go on sale on Friday (September 27) at 9 a.m. Those three-day passes will go for $189 and include an amenities bundle that’s only available with these early-bird tickets.