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Brisk sales for Pemberton Festival

Early bird tickets already sold out; organizers add Wolfmother, N.E.R.D. and others to lineup



Weeks after the official announcement was made, buzz for the upcoming Pemberton Festival only seems to be growing, and so far, sales are going strong.

The three-day event will be held on the Ravenscrest property in the Pemberton Valley July 25 to 27, and will feature performances by almost 50 musical acts, including Coldplay, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jay Z, Nine Inch Nails, and The Tragically Hip. The maximum capacity for the site is 40,000 people, and organizers say they are now expecting to sell out.

“It’s been an incredible response, surpassing our expectation,” organizer Shane Bourbonnais said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “…We’re well on-track to where we want to be, and we’re well on track to selling this event out, which is an incredible feat for a first-year festival.”

There have also been some slight changes to the massive 50-act lineup — while MGMT had to pull out because of scheduling conflicts, N.E.R.D., Matisyahu, Minus the Bear and Inward Eye were added in late March. And organizers just announced that Wolfmother, an Australian hardrock band, and Canadian vocalist, Kathleen Edwards, will be joining the festival, as well.

“We’ve got a partnership with Whistler-Blackcomb and the reservations have also been good, so we’ve got a lot of people coming to stay in Whistler, as well,” said Bourbonnais. “So it seems like a lot of people are traveling from all over, really, to come and enjoy the festival, which is exactly what we’d hoped.”

The first round of 500 tickets went on sale to Pemberton locals at a rate of $199.50 on Monday, March 24, and sold out in about five hours. Then, the next week, another 500 were made available, and this time, they sold out in about three hours.

Organizers also offered a round of tickets at a reduced price of $219.50 to Whistler-Blackcomb season pass holders and staff members on March 25, which quickly sold out, though Bourbonnais wasn’t sure exactly how many were sold.

“I don’t have that data yet, but I know that it was very well received,” Bourbonnais said.

Finally, on March 28, the general early bird passes, which account for about 35 to 40 per cent of all passes, went on sale for $239.50 and sold out quickly. Now, passes are available at the regular price: $259.50.

The four-day camping passes, which provide access to either the family or festival campgrounds, have also been selling well, with the early bird passes already sold-out, and spots at the RV site almost gone.

Bourbonnais is pleased that a lot of people are purchasing the camping passes, because he says it will not only add to the atmosphere of the event, but may enable them to offer one-day tickets to the festival.

He explained that traffic consultants provided a formula to organizers to help maintain a balance of people moving to and from the area.

Despite brisk sales, Bourbonnais says people holding off on buying their passes until their next payday shouldn’t worry too much about the event selling out entirely.

Some locals may also be able to score a free pass — organizers are currently putting together a volunteer program, so those who give up a certain amount of their own time will be eligible for a pass. More information on this program will be released in early May.