Whether the Pemberton Music Festival will return next year is ultimately up to concert promoters Live Nation, but overall the Village of Pemberton and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District remain positive about hosting the event again, with a few changes.
According to VOP Mayor Jordan Sturdy, the major participants in the event — VOP, SLRD, emergency services, Live Nation, Ministry of Transportation and others — will be hosting a series of post-festival meetings at the end of the month to discuss what went well and what can be improved next year. At next week’s VOP council meeting, a motion will also be put forward to host a public forum in the second week of September.
“What we wanted to do was have some of the technical people have that meeting first where we can look for solutions to some of the issues that have come up, and hopefully at the public event we’ll be in a better position to answer questions on those areas,” said Sturdy.
Live Nation has not yet committed to bringing the event back next year as they continue to work out the numbers to determine whether the festival makes economic sense.
As to what Pemberton wants, the VOP is collecting feedback on their website, www.pemberton.ca, and most of it has been positive.
“There are people offering suggestions how to improve the situation next year, which is a good sign that they want this event to come back,” said Sturdy. “We want that opportunity for people to be involved… we want that feedback, so we can help to ensure that community objectives are being met.
“Right after the concert people were caught up in the emotion of the event, so I think we all need to take a bit of time and give it some serious consideration.”
Some of the issues that have come up in preliminary discussions include ideas to better manage traffic and parking, improving garbage and recycling collection, and building the proposed Highway 99 and Friendship Trails to facilitate biking to the site from the surrounding area.
“(The festival) can help bring to fruition some of these things that were an objective of the community anyway,” said Sturdy.
“There’s also this idea that these things take time to get them right. After a while, in communities where these events take place, everybody understands that for a week before and after the event things are going to be a bit hectic — people come, they set up, the event happens, they take everything down and go away — and that eventually it becomes part of a rhythm for the community. It becomes part of how you live your life, and isn’t disruptive.”