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Pemberton Music Festival: day 3 recap

Extreme heat, trap music ubiquity and #fomo defined Saturday at Pemby Fest.

Pemberton festival grounds
Overlooking Pemby's pastoral grounds

Saturday began with a still.

The sun rose silently over Pemberton valley. And if only for a moment, the verdant meadow exhibited an idyllic quality—an effortless breath outwards. A glimpse of the sublime.

“Thump, CRACK, thump, CRACK, thump, CRACK, dee-nerner-nernerrr—BACK IN BLACK” went the sound test at 8:15 a.m. No need to set an alarm.

Enough with the silence already, let’s go day 3.

Beat the heat

A tent is an enclosed airspace constructed of unbreathable fabric. Add a little summer sun to the mix and you’ve got yourself a functional easy-bake oven. But this time, you’re the one cooking in it.

Thus begins the daily narrative here at Pemby.

Saturday’s temperatures spiked in excess of 35C degrees, which roughly translates as: many burnt bods.

To beat the heat, festival-goers maneuver themselves from one shady spot to the next, taking refuge in the giant misting tent, under the central pagoda, beneath blankets and behind soundbooths.

Another common theme is squirts from friendly strangers with spray-bottles. THANK YOU.

Pemberton's pagoda

Shade seekers under Pemby's unmistakable pagoda

Father John Misty

Josh Tillman—known as Father John Misty to the music world—has a reputation for hedging himself between the realms of seriousness and comedy. Never was this more apparent than at his 2:30 p.m. show.

Tillman’s onstage antics oscillated from fits of unbridled passion to strings of hysterical one-liners.

“You can all leave this Chris Isaac concert now.” Tillman announced with the penetratingly on-point self-slander that few can conjure.

Father John Misty taking a selfie

Father John snapping a selfie

Over the course of his set, Tillman spoke into a banana, toted someone’s emoji-inspired poop-on-a-pole, and broadcasted himself to YouTube via a random smartphone from the crowd, stating “Hello YouTube, this is a ski resort from the distant future; there is no snow or polar bears.”

Oh, and he rocked the fuck out.

Beez in the trap

Atlanta is a long way from Pemberton. 4,618 km to be exact.

Despite the distance, ATL’s distinctive trap sound remains a constant fixture on the playlists of many of Pemberton’s noise-making community.

In the a.m., a sound engineer of good taste bumped Migo’s “One Time.”

Earl Sweatshirt rapping

Earl Sweatshirt switched the mic for the DJ booth to end his set

At the tail end of his set, rapper Earl Sweatshirt took over the DJ responsibilities, spinning an all-trap mix (okay, trap and drill if you want to be specific) including “Come to the back door” by Ca$h Out and “Warrior” by Young Thug. Sweatshirt appeared to be having a better time singing along to his selection of bangers than his own music.

DJ Post Malone bumped “Fuck Up Some Commas,” again by Future; DJ Ryan Hemsworth followed up with Young Thug’s “Free Gucci,” a definite year-end list contender. (Warning: song contains offensive language.)


There’s a lot of great stuff going on here. Almost too much. Almost.

Think you’re where the party’s at? Just take a few steps from the incredible concert you’re enjoying and peer over at another stage . . . wait, now that’s a party. This happens a lot.

With so many fantastic artists slotted simultaneously, you can’t catch everything you want to. And here at Pemberton, where every artist is pulling out all the stops, who can’t help but have the occasional fear of missing out? 

Stay tuned for Pemby's final day with @thatlaba

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