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Epicurious: Which way to the Vendor’s Village?

Fueling up for the biggest musical weekend of the summer

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It’s a question on the minds of most people who are making the trek to Pemberton this weekend — what are we going to eat? I mean, facing a three-day festival, you’re going to need your energy, and food is going to play an important role in keeping you pumped up. While we all know there will be musical talent aplenty, I’m pretty sure no one relishes the idea of eating hot dogs and hamburgers for three days straight.

As it turns out, organizers are taking the same approach towards food and beverage offerings as they are towards the talent — they’re bringing in lots of diverse offerings to keep concertgoers happily sated.

Kelly Burgon is coordinating the vending for the Pemberton Festival. She explained that there are 41 different vendors from throughout the province who have been confirmed to supply eats and treats, offering up everything under the sun (well, let’s hope there’s sun!). While there are sure to be loads of typical concert staples, like popcorn, burgers and beer, some vendors will   have some more unusual options. The bottom line: no one is going to go hungry, with everything from sushi and all vegan options to donairs and Mexican delights available at the Vendor’s Village, located by the shuttle drop-off, facing the Mount Currie Stage.

“That was one thing that we were going for, was to make sure that everyone that was camping — because there are so many people — that there was a wide variety for them to pick from throughout the weekend,” Burgon explained, adding that concertgoers will be able to pick from things like gourmet coffee, kettle corn, waffles, funnel cake, pizza, lemonade, and perogies.

Burgon and her colleagues have plenty of experience feeding big crowds — they’ve coordinated vending for some huge events, like Rolling Stones concerts and the Virgin Music Festival in Calgary.

“It’s a lot of work, that’s for sure,” Burgon said. “It’s been going on for a while, and we’ve put a lot of work into it, so we’re pretty excited!”

While most of the made-to-order food is going to be sold at the Vendor’s Village, a few vendors will be selling wares throughout the concert site, and more will be set up in the beer garden area so people can make sure they’re balancing their alcohol intake with some eats to cushion the blow.

Prices will vary from stall to stall, of course, but Burgon read off of a confirmed menu from one of the vendors, and it looks like you’ll be able to grab a burger for $6, a smokie for $5, and a hot dog for $4. Not bad, if you’re used to eating out in Whistler.

“The prices are not unreasonable by any means — you’re not going to be spending $10 on a hamburger or anything,” Burgon said.

And with vendors up and running from 7 a.m. until 3 a.m. each and every day, festival-goers will be able to feed their rumbling tummies at almost any hour.

For those of us who are “roughing it” (can you really call it roughing it when you have showers and running water?) you also have the option to eat at the campgrounds. Pack a cooler (filled with non-glass containers, of course), and bring a little stove, and we’re cookin’ — literally and figuratively. But don’t forget to leave your spuds at home — Pemberton is a seed potato control area, so no outside root vegetables are allowed on site! Sounds a bit odd that a potato is contraband, but hey…

And don’t worry if you don’t pack enough grub — you’ll have a chance to replenish your food stocks without ever leaving the festival grounds — there will be four general stores stocked with all of the basics, from Wet Ones to dairy products, located throughout the site. Farmers will also be selling their wares during the festival, so don’t forget to show the locals some love and get a real taste of Pemberton, while you’re at it.

Last but not least, there are loads of great places to grab a bite to eat in the Village of Pemberton, so don’t be shy — venture off the festival grounds and check out what the area has to offer! Some local faves are the Pony Espresso and the Wild Wood Bistro and Bar, and there’s even a newcomer to the restaurant scene, a mom and pop-style diner, Mountain Heroes Grill. Located about 1 kilometre south of Mt. Currie, owners Seth Shuster and Twila Burgoyne will be busy whipping up some home-cooked, wholesome meals that will make your taste buds jump for joy without leaving your wallet too light.

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