Mu­sic fes­ti­val bank­ruptcy leaves ticket hold­ers, sup­pli­ers in the cold

The Province - - FRONT PAGE - NICK EAGLAND neagland@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/nick­eagland

The 2017 Pem­ber­ton Mu­sic Fes­ti­val planned for mid-July was can­celled on Thurs­day, po­ten­tially leav­ing ticket hold­ers and lo­cal firms high and dry.

Pem­ber­ton Mu­sic Fes­ti­val LP and 1115666 B.C. LTD, col­lec­tively know as “PMF,” is in bank­ruptcy and Ernst & Young has been ap­pointed as trustee, ac­cord­ing to a media re­lease on the fes­ti­val’s web­site. The doc­u­ment says there will be no au­to­matic re­funds for ticket hold­ers, who may have to wait weeks to learn whether they will get their money back.

“As PMF is now in bank­ruptcy, it has no abil­ity to pro­vide re­funds for tick­ets pur­chased,” the doc­u­ment says. “How­ever, ticket hold­ers may file a proof of claim form as an un­se­cured cred­i­tor with (Ernst & Young) in ac­cor­dance with the claims process.”

Some ticket hold­ers may also be able to get re­funds from third par­ties if their tick­ets were pur­chased us­ing a credit card. They should con­tact their bank or credit card is­suer re­gard­ing a re­fund, the doc­u­ment says.

Huka En­ter­tain­ment, the pro­ducer con­tracted for the event, said in a state­ment that it did not make the de­ci­sion to can­cel the fes­ti­val, which it claims came from Pem­ber­ton Mu­sic Fes­ti­val LP.

“For the past four years, Huka En­ter­tain­ment has worked to cre­ate a one-of-a-kind ex­pe­ri­ence in the most beau­ti­ful place on earth,” the state­ment says. “We are heart­bro­ken to see the 2017 Pem­ber­ton Mu­sic Fes­ti­val can­celled.”

Mul­ti­ple sources in­volved with the event’s pro­duc­tion, who spoke off the record with Post­media be­fore the an­nounce­ment, said they had learned about the can­cel­la­tion and bank­ruptcy Wed­nes­day night and Thurs­day morn­ing.

Lewis Neil­son, owner of Pro­duc­tion Power Cor­po­ra­tion, a Van­cou­ver firm that pro­vides elec­tri­cal, heat­ing and light­ing ser­vices to the film, en­ter­tain­ment and spe­cial events in­dus­tries, said he is among the many lo­cal firms that have lost money to the fes­ti­val.

He is owed $55,000, his only loss in 35 years of work­ing with the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, he said. He re­ceived word of the can­cel­la­tion Wed­nes­day night. “All of us are owed a lot of money,” he said. “No one’s go­ing to get any­thing. As far as I know, they have no as­sets.”

Neil­son said he be­lieves the fes­ti­val went bank­rupt by bring­ing in U.S. firms and staff for the event and pay­ing dou­ble or triple what lo­cal firms would have charged.

Univer­sity of B.C. stu­dent Colby Mes­sih had made plans to at­tend the four-day event and was up­set by news of the can­cel­la­tion.

Mes­sih said he paid US$500 for tick­ets, camp­ing and park­ing and planned to at­tend with 40 other stu­dents who had scraped money to­gether while study­ing.

Mes­sih said he is hope­ful there will be re­funds, but he knows that is un­likely be­cause “it seemed like (the or­ga­niz­ers) didn’t know what they were do­ing to be­gin with.”

Slated to run July 13 to 16, it would have been the fourth year for the Pem­ber­ton event, and was to fea­ture head­lin­ers Chance the Rap­per, Muse and A Tribe Called Quest, as well as Ma­jor Lazer, Haim, Run The Jewels and dozens more acts.

Last year, the fes­ti­val drew a record 180,000 fans over four days to Pem­ber­ton Vil­lage, north of Whistler. The event has brought ma­jor in­ter­na­tional acts such as Pearl Jam, Snoop Dogg, The Black Keys, Nine Inch Nails, Frank Ocean and Soundgar­den.

The can­cel­la­tion came af­ter lineup an­nounce­ments were de­layed sev­eral times in re­cent weeks.

As of Thurs­day af­ter­noon, four­day, gen­eral-ad­mis­sion tick­ets were still sell­ing for $369, while VIP tick­ets — which in­cluded spe­cial en­trances, view­ing and park­ing — cost $899, and Super VIP tick­ets cost $1,799.

The event is pro­duced and pro­moted by Huka in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Vil­lage of Pem­ber­ton, Sun­stone Group, Lil’wat Na­tion and Squamish-Lil­looet Re­gional Dis­trict.

It is the sec­ond ma­jor fes­ti­val the re­gional dis­trict has lost in the past year, af­ter the Squamish Fes­ti­val was can­celled in spring 2016. Founded in 2010, it brought ma­jor acts to the Squamish Val­ley in­clud­ing Drake, Weezer, Met­ric, Bad Re­li­gion, The Trag­i­cally Hip, Eminem and Bruno Mars.

The Pem­ber­ton Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, slated to run July 13 to 16, was can­celled Thurs­day. Or­ga­niz­ers are in bank­ruptcy and a trustee has been ap­pointed.


Some ticket hold­ers of the now can­celled Pem­ber­ton Mu­sic Fes­ti­val may be able to get re­funds if they bought them us­ing credit cards and file claims with bank­ruptcy trustee Ernst & Young, the fes­ti­val says on its web­site.


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