Jesse Ferreras, Pique Newsmagazine
The Village of Pemberton is being flooded with positive feedback about its now world famous music festival.
Pemberton hosted an online survey during various stages of the festival and asked respondents to identify how it affected them before, during and after the event that drew an estimated 40,000 people to Pemberton.
The survey, which took festival feedback between July 6 and Aug. 7, drew over 100 responses that ranged anywhere from outright thanks to complaints about traffic congestion that kept people on the road between Whistler and Pemberton for three hours.
One respondent suggested using a train to take people to and from the festival if it happens next year, while another said the event “woke up this sleepy little one-horse town of ours” and put it on the map.
Yet another respondent, however, heaped shame on the Pemberton Chamber of Commerce for “selling out to Live Nation for the money.”
But despite some negative feedback, Chamber President Paul Selina, a staunch proponent of the festival, said he has been “overwhelmed” by the amount of positive comments he’s received about the festival.
“The majority of the community have really embraced the festival and got behind the concept of it returning,” he said. “It has actually been more successful than we could have imagined.”
Selina said the flurry of positive feedback for the festival could be a factor in convincing the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to allow the event on the same site next year.
The ALC only approved the festival site, which took place on lands falling within the Agricultural Land Reserve, for non-farm use for a single year.
The ALC cited concerns that having an annual festival on the property could debilitate “some of the best agricultural land in the province.”
“I really do feel… we’re actually all on the same page,” Selina said of the ALC’s decision. “I think there’s a little posturing going on and I think that can be overcome with some decent dialogue.”
Mayor Jordan Sturdy was also surprised at the amount of positive feedback about the festival.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “I find that fascinating, because generally speaking my experience with feedback has been that… the naysayers are more than happy to provide feedback, and the supporters are hard-pressed to provide feedback.
“That suggests to me that there’s real support there. Otherwise, why would people bother to say this is a good thing?”
Though Sturdy was surprised at the amount of positive feedback, he wasn’t surprised at all that people had good things to say about the festival.
“By experiencing the festival, I felt that the feedback was going to be positive,” he said. “That was my experience, and that was my experience talking to people.”
A public meeting on the impacts of the Pemberton Festival is scheduled for Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Pemberton Community Centre. Anyone interested in commenting on the festival is encouraged to attend.
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