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Prepping for Pemberton Festival

Everything you need to know to survive – and thrive – at the inaugural musical extravaganza



With only one day to go until Pemberton Festival, people are packing their bags and asking a lot of questions, anxiously trying to anticipate what this three-day event has in store. After quizzing Shane Bourbonnais, president of North American touring and business development for Live Nation, the company putting on this massive show, and obsessively perusing the festival’s website, Pique presents your local guide to the Pemberton Festival.

A brief history

Bourbonnais has invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears in making this event a reality. He first envisioned Pemberton as the perfect site for a European-style music festival last summer, and after some serious collaboration with local and provincial government agencies, businesses, and community members, Pemberton Festival was born.

So far, Bourbonnais is extremely pleased with how things are coming together, even just a few days shy of the big event. He admits that it’s been a learning process, like any other first-year operation, but seems confident that everything will run smoothly.

“This weekend was really essentially like weekdays of work,” he said with a small sigh. “We had crews out pulling 12-hour days both days, but that’s how it should be, right?”

The response to the brand-new event from the music loving public and major media has far exceeded anyone’s — even Bourbonnais’s — expectations. Back in March, Bourbonnais gave a hopeful estimate of 25,000 to 30,000 attendees. Now, the event is poised to sell out completely, which means that, come this weekend, almost 40,000 people will be making their way along Highway 99 to Pemberton to partake in the fun and festivities.

They’re still seeing steady ticket sales, with campgrounds completely sold out and only a handful of VIP passes and single day tickets left for each day.

“We just hope that people come and have a great time and really experience an event that is really world-class, that we have in our backyard,” he said. “So just come and enjoy it and have a great time and experience the magic in the mountains.”

What to pack, and what to stash

It’s time to pack! Here are a few key items you should remember to bring along to make sure your first Pemberton Festival experience is memorable.

You’ll probably want a camera, cash (though there will be ATMs on site), ID, medical card, sunglasses, hat, blanket to sit on, water bottle, sunscreen and bug spray for your time at the festival site. If you’re camping, don’t forget to pack some snacks, a hooded sweatshirt, boots (in case it rains, touch wood), camp stove, garbage bags, lantern or flashlight, batteries, and a flag or balloon to mark your site.

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