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Pemberton Festival Site Faces Permit Trouble For 2009

PEMBERTON, BC (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Live Nation was quick to assure us of a return of their successful Pemberton festival after its debut this year, but if the promoter plans to make good on that pledge, they will need to find a new home for the event.

According to the Gazette, the likelihood of a move was underscored after recent comments by the Agricultural Land Commission, who said that the festival, which drew 40,000 people, was inappropriate for the rural prime farmland that it was held on this year and that promoters should seek a few venue for the event next year.

"The success in this case could further compromise the agricultural capability of the land," commission executive director Colin Fry told the Gazette.

Fry went on to add that the commission had reluctantly agreed to provide a one-time permit for the 2008 event only. Minutes from the March 10 meeting where the permit was approved and obtained by The Gazette noted that future permits would be unlikely because "long term use of this site as a concert venue will debilitate this high quality agricultural land."

Fry acknowledged that the promoter does have a legal right to re-apply for the permit but noted that any such efforts would face considerable obstacles, particularly in light of the commission's displeasure at the last minute filing for a permit for the 2008 event, putting what Fry described as "pressure" on the commission to approve the permit.

Unfortunately for festival fans, the position of the Agricultural Land Commission may spell trouble for the Pemberton event. The festival's organizer, Shane Bourbonnais, president of touring and business development for Live Nation Canada has said that the festival's return may well be contingent upon a renewal of the permit for next year.

"We have looked and looked and looked and we really think that this site … is the best possible site in Pemberton," Bourbonnais said.

Bourbonnais remains sanguine about the festival's future and noted that the majority landowners Ravens Crest Developments managed to get a hay crop out of the land before the event and are on track for another hay harvest post-festival. Bourbonnais added that they made more money in rental fees than they did from farming. "The landowners had a great time and they would love to have it back," he told the Gazette.

Local residents also appear to be firmly in Live Nation's camp. Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy told the Gazette that the response from local citizens and stakeholders has been "overwhelmingly positive." Sturdy also expressed frustration that the ALC might rule against a future event.

"The grass is growing," Sturdy told the Gazette "In fact, if you drove by there today you'd be hard-pressed to know that a festival took place there a few weeks ago." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers