Depending on how you look at it, the decision that Live Nation is the only approved promoter to stage a future edition of the Pemberton Festival in British Columbia could be a good thing. The problem is, the world’s dominant live entertainment company has no plans to produce one anytime soon.
The first and only time the festival was held in the Canadian Village of Pemberton, which is outside of Vancouver, was in 2008, when it drew more than 40,000 fans to watch Jay-Z, Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and others perform. But, the festival did not make money for Live Nation, and the company pulled out the following year — and again in 2010 and now 2011 — and stressed that it hoped to return when it was “financially feasible” to do so.
Live Nation has not announced when it might promote a new Pemberton Festival.
Village officials, eager to put on another festival, recently asked the area’s Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) if the contract stipulating that Live Nation is the sole promoter authorized to operate the festival on ALC-owned property be amended so that other promoters could bid on running the festival.
The ALC, however, denied the request, which essentially locks in Live Nation as the promoter of choice for future festivals whenever that is. The ALC wants to stick with Live Nation in part because of the company’s size and resources, fearing that a festival under a new, smaller operator might run into problems.
Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy told the Whistler Question newspaper that the decision by the ALC is disappointing.
“It’s very unfortunate because it minimizes our ability to negotiate with various proponents. That said, we are continuing to work with Live Nation to host an event here in Pemberton. Those discussions are ongoing,” Sturdy said. “There is the interest out there, certainly. And there’s definitely skepticism out there in the community that (Live Nation) is ever going to return to produce another festival here.”