Hotels ready to help bring back Pemberton Festival 

A future Pemberton Festival exists nowhere outside speculation, but Whistler hotels have nevertheless offered accommodation to workforce and artists associated with the event.

Mark Herron, general manager of the Four Seasons Whistler and chairman of the Hotel Association of Whistler, said in an interview with Pique that hotels in Whistler have collectively committed to assist with rooms should the music festival return in 2011.

"A number of the hotel association properties have committed to bring the Pemberton Festival back," he said. "Just in the spirit of co-operation, there's nothing we've put in writing, it's a good faith gesture to try and bring the event back here in 2011."

Herron said that a future festival could require accommodation for various guests associated with the festival. That includes RCMP members contracted to secure the site and the road leading up to it, as well as employees with Live Nation, the music promoter that organized the 2008 event.

Herron describes the offer of assistance as a "good faith" gesture but nothing has been made concrete at this point.

"We met at a board meeting," he said. "There were a number of properties that stood up and said they would assist."

Herron could not elaborate on the commitment to the festival when asked which hotels would be providing accommodation to anyone associated with the event.

"There's a multitude of different clientele that need rooms," he said. "I think we'd determine that later as the time gets closer. I think right now they're just looking for assistance. The traditional avenues I think that might have assisted in the past, may not be there for them, and so they're asking the hotels themselves to help out."

The future of the Pemberton Festival hinges entirely on the wishes of Live Nation. Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy recently went to London, England alongside Village Administrator Daniel Sailland and Ravens Crest property owner Cam McIvor to meet with Shane Bourbonnais, organizer of the 2008 festival and now Live Nation's president of talent and international music.

There they discussed issues getting in the way of a festival return. That includes issues such as liquor licensing, police costs and questions around transportation.

Sturdy did not return a request for comment by deadline, but he said last week that he came back with a positive feeling about the discussions. He added, however, that if the festival doesn't come back in 2011, then the loss of momentum could end the event for good.

McIvor, owner of the property where the 2008 festival took place, refused to offer any comment when contacted on Tuesday.




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