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Seeing the big picture

Pemberton Festival organizers discuss logistical details with community

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If a bear wanders onto the site during Jay Z’s set, or a train happens to go off the tracks, organizers of Pemberton Festival will have the situation under control.

That’s just one of the messages Shane Bourbonnais, president of North American touring and business development for Live Nation, had for local residents on Monday evening.

At a meeting held at the Pemberton Meadows Golf Club, Bourbonnais addressed a throng of locals who were eager to be brought up to speed on the progression of plans for the inaugural musical extravaganza. With Coldplay playing in the background, members of the community mingled over drinks and appetizers, chatting over plans for the impending extravaganza of fun and festivities.

So far the three-day festival has attracted a huge amount of international media attention, with publications like the New York Times and Rolling Stone Magazine covering the event, and there have been over 552,000 searches made on Google for Pemberton Festival.

“The world’s interested in Pemberton and Pemberton Festival and what’s going on this summer,” Bourbonnais said.

Organizers finally revealed the site plan at Monday’s meeting. The 360-acre festival site will feature at least five parking lots, ten shuttle routes and multiple camping areas.

RV camping will be across Highway 99 at the airport, near staff camping and event parking. The main festival site, on the Ravens Crest property, is flanked on all sides by regular camping sites, with Mount Currie as a backdrop.

While organizers have capped attendance at 40,000 people, which includes concertgoers, security, volunteers and performers, Bourbonnais said it could actually support 65,000 to 70,000 people.

When they last met with members of the public in March to announce the festival, Bourbonnais admitted he was a bit unsure of how people would respond to camping.

“Well, the good news is everyone wants to camp!” he said, adding that they are expecting 19,000 people to take part in the “camper’s dream,” which will include conveniences like general stores and showers.

Public safety was a focal point of the presentation. There will be 100 RCMP officers on duty during the festival compared to the four that typically work in the area, plus an additional 380 security officers from Genesis Security. They also have a fire protection plan in place, developed with help from local fire enforcement officials, two helicopters on standby, equipped with water buckets in case of a fire, and a self-sufficient on-site hospital staffed with a complete medical team.

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