This Pemberton Music Festival Mess is Just Beginning

Rob Slater on May 23, 2017

After the chaos of Fyre Festival, the fraud antennas are up around the music festival world and Pemberton Fest might’ve stepped into the rat trap with their current situation. 

If you didn’t hear, the British Columbia festival was canceled unexpectedly as the organizers announced they’d filed for bankruptcy. Refunds were not going to be automatically available to ticket buyers, with those who wish to seek out a refund having to file a claim through Ernst & Young with no guarantee of a possible reimbursement. 

On top of immense social media backlash (PMF has since deleted all social channels), Pemberton isn’t quite out of the weeds as head of music at William Morris Endeavor Marc Geiger told Billboard that he is personally coming after the festival’s organizers. “I want each of them to know: ‘I’m coming after you personally.’ We’re going to pursue all of these people to the full extent of the law,” Geiger said. 

WME represents a number of acts that were scheduled to play the festival including HAIM, Big Sean and Tegan and Sara. Geiger noted he believes the individuals responsible for the cancelation were promoters AJ Niland and Evan Harrison of Huka Entertainment, Pemberton land owners and Janspec Holdings Limited investors Amanda Girling and Jeremy Turner and investor Jim Dales. 

“You can’t do this much damage to the festival ecosystem and think you can get away with it,” Geiger said. “This is fraud, pure and simple. The only difference between Pemberton and Fyre is that Pemberton sold their event with trees instead of supermodels.” 

While it’s not specified what exactly Geiger intends to do, this could be a potentially damaging blow to the music festival “ecosystem” as he calls it. Between Fyre and now Pemberton, the hope should be that these types of situations don’t come in threes.