Hi guys! As a 5 year Coachella vet, I thought you'd be interested in how the new Pemberton festival (in BC) went down.
Total gong show.
We arrived by car from the north (the back route, from Calgary et al. rather than Vancouver). Parked in some sort of car line-up, and were told that since this was a "green festival" we had to push our cars around to the end of it. This took around an hour. Why? Still not sure... they were basically just handing out wrist bands and then sending you to the REAL parking lot... where we waited 6 HOURS for a fucking shuttle to take us to the camping. People just started rushing the busses when it became apparent that there was no rhyme or order to how things were being done. After 6 hours, that's how we got on too. Security couldn't be bothered to do anything about it, but they DID have the nerve to tell us to stop drinking at our cars (what the hell were we supposed to do with our time, tip cars??). They were supposed to search us too, but soon gave up since they had no control over the situation. Wish i'd hidden more goodies!
Anyhow, got to the site and had just enough daylight to set up our tents. Met some cool Vancouverites, who had their own horror stories. Some people had to sleep in the parking lots, apparently, and got in the next day. I should mention that parking cost $50.
NIN's new show is WAY improved, as if that was possible, and they've easily transcended perfection by this point. SEE THEM! People who came up exclusively for Jay-Z were raving. Everybody was raving. Hot damn.
Tom Petty was also surprisingly stellar, and I enjoyed Interpol, N.E.R.D, Metric and even Jay-Z was decent for a non-fan.
The "Bacardi B-Live" (dance) tent was a major issue: 30,000 fans at the festival, relatively big dance artists (MSTRKRFT, Chromeo, Crystal Method) and a 2500 person capacity limit in the tent! Seriously! I couldn't see half the bands on the poster! The fact that there wasn't a riot in the (often 3 hour) lineup is testament to Canadian passivity.
By the end of 3 days, the camp site and beer gardens looks like something from Darfur, with huge piles of garbage everywhere, overflowed dumpsters, and unusable toilets. The staff were largely non-existent, and the few who were there were completely uninformed, and mostly just there to do drugs and watch the bands for free (good idea... submitting resume for next year).
There were serious safety issues as well... no security protecting the tents, and someone DID try to break in to our neighbours'. No water at or near the dance tent after they stopped serving alcohol, and they actually shut down the "safety (medical) tent" at 1am and wouldn't let us in when we asked.
Surprisingly awesome! The complete lack of security, plentiful drugs and contraband booze, and in-out tent access made for one fucked up but surprisingly cool crowd. Us Canadians really are a nice bunch, even when chaos breaks out. Didn't see a single fight or anything. It was pretty much 3 days of beautiful anarchy. I'm really surprised no one died though (actually this isn't confirmed... i've heard rumours of several deaths or near-deaths).
Would I go back? Depends entirely on the lineup. I have an all new respect for the organizational abilities of Goldenvoice (Pemberton was put on by Live Nation, who do Glastonbury - no excuses!). Next year I'm definitely bringing more liquor. DO NOT BRING YOUR KIDS TO THIS FESTIVAL!