It was announced on Thursday that Pemberton Music Festival (PMF) will not be going ahead this summer, as owners had filed for bankruptcy. The festival was scheduled to take place July 13th to 16th in Pemberton, featuring Chance the Rapper, Muse and A Tribe Called Quest as headliners.

Ernst & Young Inc. have been appointed as trustee in bankruptcy. The firm says the festival has been ‘significantly impacted’ since 2015 by the weakening Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar. Many of the festival’s costs are factored in U.S. currency. It also states that the festival was having ‘increasing difficulty’ in sourcing talent for the 2017 lineup, due to a limited number of artists touring. Decreased ticket sales and increased operating costs are also reasons given for the bankruptcy as well as ‘no certainty of cash available to fund the forecast cash shortfall for the current year, which amount could exceed $10 million’.

Figures have now been released that show PMF suffered significant loses in the 3 years it ran the festival (‘Pemberton Festival’ was run by Live Nation in 2008). In 2014 an average of 17,700 tickets were sold for each day of the festival generating $5,759,300 in revenue. In 2015, an average of 25,151 tickets were sold each day with $10,329,200 in revenue, and 38,423 tickets were sold on average each day in 2016 with $15,230,800 generated in revenue. By May 18th 2017 tickets for the 2017 festival were averaging 18,230 for each day of the event, generating $8,225,000 in revenue. PMF had budgeted expenses of $22 million for 2017.

PMF owes its secured creditors $2.5 million, and those creditors will be paid before unsecured creditors, provided they are valid and determined as a priority claim. No automatic ticket refunds are being issued. Ernst & Young say those who have purchased tickets may file a proof of claim as an unsecured creditor. Forms will be mailed to known tickets holders in the coming weeks. It is also recommended that ticket holders call their credit card company to see if a refund can be issued.

For those who purchased ‘locals passes’ in person at The Meadows At Pemberton there is some good news. The golf course held ticket payments in escrow and so are able to refund ticket purchases. For further details on how to obtain your refund in person click here.

Huka Entertainment, the festival promoter released a statement saying they were ‘heartbroken to see the 2017 Pemberton Music Festival cancelled’. The say that 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’.

Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman was disappointed and saddened to hear the news. He says the festival has had a tremendous impact on the community and has provided great exposure for Pemberton. Richman doesn’t think it marks the end for large festivals in Pemberton; ‘I think we’ve proven we can handle this scope of event in our town”. The Mayor remains optimistic that another group might pickup the festival, he’s hoping for a “reinvention or re-invigoration”.

The Mayor of Pemberton believes the community will remain busy over the summer and over the July weekend when PMF was scheduled to take place. Mayor Richman says the community sees a lot of traffic and tourism in the summer months. However many businesses left bookings vacant for the weekend of the festival weekend according to Richman and he says there will be vendors and providers looking to fill that weekend. It will “change the shape of the summer a little bit” Richman says.

You can find more information on the bankruptcy and a Q&A for pass holders here.




Filed under: Festival, music, Pemberton, Pemberton Music Festival, Pemby Fest, Sea to Sky