Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pemberton Festival: Death Cab, Tom Petty, MSTRKFT, other news from Pemberton

This has been an amazing, sometimes insane festival to be a part of. I can't complain much because media has been taken care of, but the rants still continue from many festivalgoers.

In a nutshell, as I wait for my ride this morning to Pemberton from Whister, here's what I know:

* The Pemberton Festival seems to have run more smoothly yesterday compared to a frantic Friday when the number of attendees expected at the event doubled. It's rumored that several volunteer staff and security team members walked off their jobs on Friday due to disorganization, though I will say to the organizers' credit that any midnight discussions seemed to have remedied earlier issues at this festival (transportation, etc.). So, the festival made great improvements yesterday - bravo to the staff for that!

* I met a band member of Carolina Liar yesterday, who was very sweet and so thrilled to be at the Pemberton Festival. He actually told me about a huge party at a mansion in the Pemberton hills last night, though I chose to party elsewhere.

* Death Cab for Cutie is scheduled to check-in at the festival at 1:00pm from Whistler, meaning they either pulled into this ski resort area last night or this morning. Not sure if they've come directly from Seattle or not. Their performance time is at 6:15pm today.

* Many of the bands and upper festival management are staying at either the Fairmont Chateau or the Four Seasons Resort. I saw one band filing out of a van late last night, checking into their guests-only section of the Chateau. It may have been Flaming Lips, though I'm just not sure - one of the group members had a pink suit jacket on.

* Speaking of the Flaming Lips, they gave an energizing performance yesterday that included confetti and giant white balloons.

* Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, yesterday's headliners, were a half hour late getting onstage. And I honestly don't know what took them so long because they apparently were staying at a rented mansion down the road from the festival. They opened with "You Wreck Me" to huge, huge audience - many of whom were stumbling drunk into the main stage area. Other songs on the set list were "Breakdown", "Even the Losers", "I Won't Back Down" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance". This marked the fifth time I've seen Petty, and it brought the same level of excitement to see them here as it did the previous four times. The crowd sang, danced, and cheered exhuberantly at everything the group did. The lighting was quite spectacular, a series of colorful lights illuminating a drizzly, muggy night with a gorgeous backdrop of Mount Curie. Tom Petty brought it to Pemberton, delivered an outstanding performance!

* MSTRKRFT drew the biggest crowd, thus far, to the Bacardi B-Live tent. A closely-followed DJ who's performed in nearly every large city across the universe, he jam-packed the tent and still had a half mile-long line trying to get in. I went in for about 15 minutes, got my groove on, and thought I'd offer my space to someone outside desperately wanting to get in. There were so many people inside that tent, and the music was totally full-force.

* Dust is a big, big, big problem at the Pemberton Festival. The grounds are a rundown farm, so there's dirt everywhere! My somewhat new Nikes are filthy, and concertgoers are having to wear handkerchiefs or extra T-shirts to cover their mouths. Driving into the festival grounds, you can see a thick layer of dust cloud over the area. There's so much dust, that you can scrape it off the tops of the chairs and tables throughout.

* Speaking of Bacardi, I must thank them for their generous media lounge with complimentary mojitos all day and all night long. Plus, clean restrooms. Many of the DJs performing at the Bacardi B-Live tent stop by for a drink before or after their set. The maple mojitos are quite delicious, and last night a tray of curry-veggie stuffed wraps and chicken skewers was brought in for the hardworking (uh-huh) press folks. Bacardi is the coolest!

* My favorite thing at any festival is the people, who deliver some of the funniest and most insane moments. Here's a few of them for you.

- One guy brought a lasso to the festival yesterday, and was seriously trying to lasso other people as they walked by him. He caught one guy, who then pulled on the lasso from the other end and knocked down a girl - and then she chased him in a bit of revenge.

- Several people tried to climb over or sit on a fence that barricaded one of the huge speaker systems during Petty's set last night. Security told one girl to get down, so she jumped off and landed right on her face. Oww!!! Right on her face!

- One guy decided to carry his girlfriend into the main stage area for Petty last night, and he nearly dropped her. They were both so hammered, I don't even think they knew where they were going.

- Unique festival gear ranges from a guy dressed as a Mexican masked wrestler to a dude in a sexy policeman outfit (???) to a pair of girls arriving as some kind of chiquita banana thing. Elsewhere, a very high percentage of the boys walk around shirtless with the tips of their underwear sticking out, headbands and some with feathers in their hair (from a nearby creek).

- Finally, before I head for Death Cab for Cutie and Coldplay, I have to note that when you combine Americans - very well known for being a rowdy bunch - and Canadians, an underrated bunch in the world of crazy drunks - it makes for one giant zoo of wild animals. Such is the Pemberon Festival, a zoo of wild animals! And me likes it that way.

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