Story by Sarah Deveau
British Columbia has long been a destination for travellers wanting to enjoy a gorgeous beach in the hot sun. This year, though, music lovers will pour into the province for what looks like an epic summer of incredible festivals with superstar headliners.
After a five-year hiatus, the unofficial music festival season is kicked off just north of Whistler at the Pemberton Music Fest. Mainstage acts include Outkast, Nine Inch Nails and Canadian DJ Deadmau5 will rage July 18-20. Held in a beautiful valley near the foot of Mount Currie, the site features 300 acres of camping, six separate performance areas and frequent shuttles to nearby Whistler.
Electronic music festival Motion Notion has been likened to a 24-hour rave — or actually 72 hours since it will take place over three straight days. Held from July 24-28 in the heart of the Rocky Mountains at the historic Beaverfoot land near Golden, Motion Notion features a 24-hour stage and a 6 pm to 6 am stage, interactive art installations, and daytime workshops.
Previously held in Alberta, Boonstock has moved to gorgeous Penticton in the Okanagan Valley to take advantage of BC’s enviable weather and a prime location with Skaha Lake just a four-minute walk from the grounds. Scheduled for August 1-3, Boonstock will see more than 17,000 fans take in big-name acts like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, City and Colour, and Awolnation.
The small but mighty Bass Coast offers innovative programming curated on four “technologically lush” outdoor stages. Situated in the Nicola Valley near the Okanagan and with a stunning river and forest backdrop, the electronic music festival is complemented by multimedia installations, performance art and workshops. This year’s festival, held August 1-4, features A Tribe Called Red, Addison Groove and Smalltown DJs, and attendance is capped at 4,000.
At the Logger Sports Grounds and Centennial Fields in Squamish, 45 minutes north of Vancouver, this year’s Squamish Valley Music Festival is headlined by three monster acts. Eminem, Bruno Mars and Arcade Fire will perform to an estimated 35,000 people August 8- 10.