Smooth sailing so far at Pemberton Music Festival 

Event officials report no major issues so far at four-day event

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BARRY CALHOUN / COURTESY OF PEMBERTON MUSIC FESTIVAL - SMOOTH OPERATORS There have been no major challenges to report so far at this year's Pemberton Music Festival. A shot of the crowd on Friday, July 17 can be seen above.
  • Photo by Barry Calhoun / Courtesy of Pemberton Music Festival
  • SMOOTH OPERATORS There have been no major challenges to report so far at this year's Pemberton Music Festival. A shot of the crowd on Friday, July 17 can be seen above.

With over 28,500 expected attendees onsite for Day 3 of the Pemberton Music Festival, event officials are happy with how smoothly things have been running so far.

There have been no major medical incidents to report, with six patients transferred to local hospital for treatment over the event’s first two days.

“We’ve had appendicitis, we’ve had an asthmatic… an ectopic pregnancy, two diabetics, and a guy with an eye injury who got hit with a ball,” noted Dr. Sam Gutman of medical services company Rockdoc Consulting. “These have nothing to do with people taking drugs or harm reduction or smoke or any of the things we’ve been worrying about. They’re all just random things that happen when you put this many people together.”

The site’s main medical station has seen approximately 250 patients in the past 24 hours, Gutman said, with the first aid stations scattered throughout the grounds serving many more in addition.

The most common medical issue has been skin ailments, said Gutman, with personnel treating a wide variety of cuts, abrasions, blisters and other minor injuries.

Gutman said heat exposure and dehydration have also been a major factor, and with the thermometer hitting 32 C Saturday, event crews added another water station to deal with demand.

“There have been some lineups to get water but not exhorbitant or unreasonable,” said Gutman.

Festival producers HUKA Entertainment addressed rumours circulating on social media yesterday that campers did not have adequate access to water.

“Not only is there adequate water on site, as per our government-approved plan, we offer water free of charge through refill stations in the campgrounds and festival grounds,” a press release stated.

With the general admission campgrounds at capacity, organizers opened an overflow area on Saturday adjacent to the Mount Currie stage and main campgrounds. While there is no water station in the opened area, it’s located a short walk from the main campground and nearest refill taps.

“It’s in an area that’s contiguous to the other campsites and continuous to the venue, so it’s not like they’re way off and there’s no water, medical or services,” said Gutman, who urged festivalgoers to stay hydrated and consume electrolytes as much as possible to beat the heat.

For the first time under the HUKA banner, Gutman invited community groups Karmik and DanceSafe to the festival grounds this year to provide substance- and consent-related counselling and services.

“It’s been a great collaboration,” Gutman said. “We’ve had people come in in distress, we’ve stabilized them, medically cleared them and then transferred them to Karmik, and the other way as well.”

With such hot and dry conditions, firefighters have been on high alert since the thousands of attendees began streaming into the site on Wednesday. Pemberton Fire Chief Rob Grossman has been more than happy with the event so far.

“It’s going really well,” he said. “The messaging that the festival put out has been really good and we haven’t had any fire incidents at all in the festival grounds.”

Checking in with SLRD board chair Jack Crompton on Saturday, he said he hasn’t heard of any major logistical challenges and was satisfied with how the event was running.

The Pemberton Music Festival wraps up Sunday, July 19, and features performances by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Hozier and Kendrick Lamar.

Single-day and weekend shuttle passes, as well as VIP and SVIP camping passes, are still available.

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