Chaos mars first day of Pemberton festival

Catherine Rolfsen The Vancouver Sun 07/26/2008 07:53
Chaos mars first day of Pemberton festival

After many arrivals were greeted by "total chaos," partiers at the Pemberton Festival were making up for lost time as the first full day of festivities got underway Friday. All morning, concertgoers were trickling onto the site with stories of lost luggage, long hikes and confusion. Many spent the night at the airport, which is serving as a makeshift parking lot for attendees.

"I really hope somebody is taking notes [on] the situation for next year, because as far as I'm concerned, I'm not coming back," said Lindsay Winch, who said she arrived in Pemberton at 4 p.m. Thursday and didn't get to the site until 11 p.m.
"The lack of planning is just astounding."

All evening Thursday, the airport was jammed with a bottleneck of cars waiting to park before people could be searched and queue up for shuttle buses to the festival site.

Some passed the hours drinking and smoking pot, others swing danced and cartwheeled. Systems for security checks and issuing parking tickets were inconsistent.

Shane Bourbonnais, president of touring and business development for concert promoters Live Nation Canada said the situation was caused by more people than expected showing up on Thursday and many arriving after 9:30 pm, when the campground check-in was meant to be closed.

A survey of ticket holders suggested that around half were planning to come on Thursday, but Bourbonnais estimated that around 80 per cent of campers showed up.

"Unfortunately we had a bit of a breakdown on some of the traffic procedures that we had in place," he added.

Bourbonnais said he was personally on site until 2 am Friday morning loading people on busses, some of which were brought in from Vancouver last-minute.

RCMP Cst. Kalinda Link said Friday that police had made "a few" arrests overnight, mostly alcohol-related such as public drunkenness.


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