Crowds of festival goers have begun arriving for this year's Pemberton Music Festival, with headliners including Nine Inch Nails, Flaming Lips, Deadmau5 and Outkast.

It's anticipated that about 25,000 people will surge into the picturesque valley at the base of Mount Currie, about 150 kilometres north of Vancouver, to rock out to 100 bands and comedians on six stages.

Other headliners include rap craftsman Kendrick Lamar, resurging rock outfit Soundgarden and R&B crooner Frank Ocean. Bob Saget, Tom Green, the Trailer Park Boys and Lisa Lampanelli will also perform.

Attendees can camp within walking distance of the site or be shuttled in from nearby Whistler. Organizers hope early Thursday shows by Tragically Hip front man Gord Downie, with the Sadies, will further ease traffic and boost tourism.

Revived six years later

The festival is being promoted as the most highly produced in Canada this year, one that will strive to top attendance charts and has the potential to become the most-vaunted jam this side of the Rockies.

New promoter, New Orleans-based Huka Entertainment, is envisioning the July 16-20 relaunch as "year one" of a new festival, which they've planned meticulously to avoid past mistakes.

In July 2008, local First Nations residents had their lawns, and sense of security, trampled over three days when 40,000 concert-goers squeezed into sacred territories normally inhabited by 2,400 people.

Despite the inaugural gong show, organizers were planning a second concert for 2009. It was cancelled when permitting was bogged down by the province's Agricultural Land Commission.

Pemberton Music Festival 20080727

Pharrell Williams, of N.E.R.D., performs at the Pemberton Festival in Pemberton, B.C., on Sunday, July 27, 2008. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Huka Entertainment has since pumped $18 million worth of infrastructure into the region, aspiring to revive the extravaganza that was previously mired in snarled traffic, out-of-control dust and putrid porta-potties.

This time, organizers have doubled the size of the site by leasing 40 hectares of the Lil'wat Nation's reserve lands.

They've built two kilometres of additional roads, installed a permanent irrigation system and spent months on a land-clearing project.

Traffic mitigation strategies are in place, six entrances have been built instead of two, and a pedestrian overpass has been erected over the highway.

RCMP will bring in extra officers from the Lower Mainland to patrol campers, a move that has been sanctioned by the Lil'wat's local tribal police.


Are you heading to the Permberton Music Festival? What's in your personal music festival survival kit? Tell us in the comments below.

With files from The Canadian Press