After a few rumors had been swirling about, it was announced yesterday afternoon that the Pemberton Music Festival was going into bankruptcy.
The official website for the festival, pembertonmusicfestival.com, was modified to display the following message:
IN THE MATTER OF THE BANKRUPTCY OF PEMBERTON MUSIC FESTIVAL LIMITED PARTNERSHIP AND 1115666 B.C. LTD. (Collectively the “PMF”)
On May 18, 2017, PMF made an assignment into bankruptcy pursuant to Section 49 of the Bankruptcy
and Insolvency Act (the “BIA”). Ernst & Young Inc. (“EYI”) was appointed as the trustee in bankruptcy (the “Trustee”).
As a result of PMF’s assignment in bankruptcy:
The 2017 PEMBERTON MUSIC FESTIVAL IS CANCELLED.
The 2017 Pemberton Music Festival scheduled for July 13 – 16, 2017 is cancelled and will not proceed as scheduled. The Trustee will issue formal notice of the bankruptcy proceeding to all known creditors of PMF within 5 days of its appointment.
Unfortunately there are no automatic refunds from PMF. As PMF is now in bankruptcy, it has no ability to provide refunds for tickets purchased. However ticketholders may file a proof of claim form as an unsecured creditor with EYI in accordance with the claims process. Proof of claim forms will be mailed to known PMF creditors in due course and made available on the Trustee’s website. A determination of recovery, if any, on the claims of ticket holders from the estate will not be known for several weeks. The Trustee will provide an update to creditors in due course.
Refunds may be available to ticketholders from third parties if tickets were purchased using a credit card. As each bank and credit card issuer have their own specific policies, ticketholders are to contact their bank or credit card issuer directly to determine whether a refund can be obtained. The Trustee will provide further details concerning contact information for the various credit cards and financial institutions on its website.
Important information pertaining to the PMF bankruptcy proceeding is available on the Trustee’s website at: www.ey.com/ca/pmf or by calling the EYI representatives noted below:
For General Inquiries: Mr. Jason Oliveri at (604) 891-8493
Documents have revealed that the festivals owe US $2.5 million to its creditors. The festival has stated they have $8,225,000 in ticket revenue so far this year but budgeted expenses stand at $22,000,000.
Huka Entertainment, the brains behind the festival, released the following statement:
“For the past four years, Huka Entertainment has worked to create a one-of-a-kind experience in the most beautiful place on earth. We are heartbroken to see the 2017 Pemberton Music Festival cancelled.
As a contract producer, Huka did not make the decision to cancel the festival. That decision was made by the Pemberton Music Festival, LP. We are extremely disappointed for our fans, artists and all of our partners who have supported the festival over the years.”
Right now things are up in the air for many ticket holders. The most immediate question lingering is surrounding getting refunded for their ticket purchases.
It seems the best bet for those that paid by credit card is to call your credit card company and request a chargeback.
For those that paid by debit or other means, reaching out to your bank and opening a formal claim may also be beneficial.
The next big question people have is figuring out if this festival, in any form, will return at some point in the future. No one can really answer that. Right now, what we can say is that two companies have tried to make a festival work on these grounds in Pemberton. Back in 2008, Live Nation started the initial festival, Pemberton Festival, but it failed, mostly due to logistical issues. Then from 2014 to 2016, Huka Entertainment offered up the 2nd iteration, which failed from what would appear to be a weakening Canadian dollar and weakening offering of artists year over year in their lineup.
The best bet for any festival on these grounds would be to start smaller.
Don’t come in and bite off more than you can chew. Just come in with a vision and get support from the local communities. Take time to properly plan for things like camping, waste management, traffic, and similar. If someone takes the time and does it right, the festival could very easily blossom over time into a destination event for people from around the world.
Those that have been can attest to the beauty of the location; the majestic mountains, the green lines of the surrounding forests, and the rolling cloud formations above.
If someone had the patience to grow it from the ground up, it could be something that in 5-10 years could rival the likes of Coachella and other mega-fests around North America.
I am sad that Pemberton Music Festival is gone.
I am sad that I won’t get to spend a long weekend in July surrounded by beautiful scenery, beautiful music, and beautiful people.
The West Coast has now lost 4 music festivals in the last year or so; Pemberton Music Festival (2014-2016), Squamish Valley Music Festival (2010-2015), Levitation Vancouver (2015-2016), and Rock The Shores (2013-2016).
Hopefully, someone will bring a music festival back to Vancouver or its surrounding areas, and work it out right so it stays for decades to come.
For now, I sit back in my chair and pour one out for the loss of another amazing festival.