2009 Pemberton Festival gets green light
Published Wednesday, November 26, 2008 11:56AM PST
It looks like B.C.'s newest and biggest music festival is safe for another year.
B.C.'s Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) has approved an application by concert promoters Live Nation Canada to use the 2008 Pemberton Music Festival site for another year.
The decision was announced in the form of a letter sent to Live Nation's president of touring and business development, Shane Bourbonnais on Nov. 25.
The letter states that Live Nation can use the land, but must work with the ALC to preserve the agricultural integrity of the festival music site at the base of Pemberton's Mount Currie.
The Village of Pemberton and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) are also compelled to work with the commission, and enter into what is called a "memorandum of understanding" by July 1, 2009.
The decision comes after months of nail biting as to whether Live Nation would be allowed to use the prime farm land for another year. Festival organizers worried if the ALC put off the decision any longer, the 2009 festival lineup would be in jeopardy.
Festival makes Pemberton a boomtown
More than 40,000 music fans descended on the tiny town of Pemberton this July for a four day festival featuring rapper Jay-Z and British super-group Coldplay.
The festival injected more than $10 million into Pemberton's local economy, and an estimated $35 million into the province.
Paul Selina, the president of the Pemberton and District chamber of commerce, says the festival is a huge boost to the local economy, and they've proven there is no damage to the land.
"We've got support from both our local agricultural advisory committee and the province," says Selina.
Selina says the only time the festival site is not in agricultural production is for five weeks surrounding the festival, and is put back into good working order for the rest of the year.
Conditions of approval
Several conditions have been put the ALC approval. Live Nation must hire a professional agronomist to oversee reclamation of the site after the event, as well as prepare a pre-event plan to mitigate soil damage.
Live Nation must also submit a $250,000 letter of credit as a guarantee the lands will be returned to their natural state once the festival is complete.
The concert promoters have not officially announced whether it is proceeding with a 2009 festival, but the land concerns were always a primary concern to whether it would go ahead for another year.
Bourbonnais told a Whistler newspaper last week that even if approval for the festival was granted, putting it together in time for summer 2009 was going to be challenging.
The Pemberton Chamber of Commerce is working with Live Nation towards having a fully sustainable festival, feeding all 40,000 visitors with local produce.
Other possible venues
In a letter dated Nov. 4 from Live Nation to the ALC, it states promoters had considered other venues along the Whistler to Pemberton corridor, but none were suitable because of the rough terrain.
It also states they had reviewed using the Lillooet Rodeo Grounds on the Mount Currie Indian Reserve, but the land was too small for the festival. The Pemberton Meadows were also in the running, but ruled out because of the prime agricultural land in the area.