Pemberton Music Festival Death: Police Investigate Suspicious Case

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UPDATE - Saturday, July 19, 2014: The victim has been identified as 21-year-old Regina resident Nick Phongsavath, according to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. Police are waiting for autopsy results, which are expected next week.

Homicide investigators are probing a "suspicious death" at a campground of the Pemberton Music Festival on Friday night.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) released few details other than to say it was early in the investigation at the scene 30 kilometres northeast of Whistler.

Campers told The Province that they saw medical staff helping a man under a large tent in the early evening.

Paula Baker, an online producer for Global News, tweeted that someone badly injured in a washroom had died.

Various photos posted on Twitter show yellow crime tape around some porta-potties located close to several tents. Campers whose tents were inside the barricaded area were not allowed back to get their belongings.

A short statement from festival organizers, HUKA Entertainment, confirmed that "an incident has occurred in one of the festival campgrounds." It said it was working with Pemberton Fire Rescue to help campers who have to be relocated during the police investigation.

There was no mention of the incident on the festival's official Twitter account as it continued to live tweet the uninterrupted performance of Friday night headliners' Nine Inch Nails.

This weekend's Pemberton Music Festival was resurrected after a lengthy hiatus. The first event in 2008 was poorly organized when 40,000 people squeezed into a town of 2,400 people. Visitors trampled private property and even set up tents in people's front yards without permission, while porta-potties were putrid.

A new promoter took over this year's concert and pumped $18 million worth of infrastructure into the region, hoping to avoid the traffic and other organizational problems of the past.

This year's festival features nearly 100 bands, with about 25,000 people attending. Snoop Dogg and Deadmau5 take the stage on Saturday, while Outkast and Frank Ocean are slated to perform on Sunday.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Suspicious death at Pemberton music festival; IHIT is enroute