A&E » Arts

Celebs snag schwag

High-profile visitors to Pemberton Festival treated to local goods, services and hospitality



Not everyone was roughing it at Pemberton Festival last weekend.

While the event drew music lovers by the droves, it also attracted some high-profile personalities who certainly weren’t setting up shop at the main festival campgrounds. Instead, celebrities like singer Beyonce Knowles, actress Elisha Cuthbert, the Calgary Flames’ Dion Phaneuf, and members of The Crystal Method, My Morning Jacket and Junkie XL were indulged in a gifting lounge for the Pemberton Festival, which was set up in Whistler’s Adara Hotel.

No Affliction, a group based out of New York, organized the lounge, dubbed the Artist Sanctuary, to help make the talent feel welcomed to the area and comfortable.

“It’s kind of just a meeting place for them to come and enjoy,” explained Laura Bryce of Pennant Media Group, the company handling press from the Artist Sanctuary. “They can do interviews with media that attends there, and it’s also a gifting lounge, as well.”

They also ran a car service between Pemberton and Whistler for the talent to make it easy for them to get back and forth.

According to Bryce, the sanctuary was popular with many of the acts and other celebrities that came to town for the festival.

“Everyone was really happy coming through,” Bryce said. “It’s just really a kind of relaxing place for them to kind of get away between things. They can kind of interact with one another and hang out.”

The presenting sponsor, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and Redken, Grey Goose, Reebok and Mavi Jeans gave away products, and even local businesses got on board with the project.

“It’s convenient as well as kind of bringing in the community to the Sanctuary, as well,” Bryce said.

The Loft Salon, The Mountain Club and Harmony Massage Therapy provided services for the high-profile guests, while Eleni Floral Design was responsible for the floral arrangements scattered throughout the luxurious two-floor apartment suite.

Gillian Tiffin is the owner and operator of Eleni Floral Design. She was more than happy to oblige when Andy Winkler of No Affliction called and asked if she would be interested in getting involved.

“It just sounded like a fun thing to do!” she said with a laugh. “I think, for me, it was a fun thing to do because we were allowed to create things that we wanted.”

She and her staff were given artistic license to be as creative as they like, as long as they follow a few basic guidelines.

“I think my favourite one was we designed one that looks like a cocktail,” Tiffin said thoughtfully. “It was in a tall vase that looks like a martini glass, and we just filled it full of acrylic ice and… pink flowers on top, so it looked like a fluffy margarita, and another one in that looked like a straw, and like a cherry and a lemon.”

While Tiffin often prepares arrangements for lavish weddings and events held in and around Whistler, she often isn’t privy to information about the client. This is the first time that she has been directly involved with such a high-profile event.

Tiffin and her staff also had a chance to hang out at the Artist Sanctuary. Tiffin said she was unsure if she met any celebrities, though they did indulge in massages and hair cuts.

She said she wouldn’t hesitate to get involved again, next year, if there is a 2009 Pemberton Festival.