MUSIC

Pemberton Music Festival Already Planning Return Despite Concertgoer's Death

07/21/2014 07:25 EDT | Updated 07/21/2014 08:59 EDT
Jesse Ferreras/HuffPost B.C.

As police continue to investigate a "suspicious death" at the Pemberton Music Festival, organizers are already planning for the event's return to the little town north of Whistler, B.C. in 2015.

Organizer A.J. Niland told The Vancouver Sun that next year's dates and lineup are already in the works after the three-day festival took place from July 18 to 20.

The opening day was overshadowed by the shocking death of 21-year-old Nick Phongsavath, who was found on the festival's campground.

Phongsavath was a University of Regina student working toward his undergraduate degree in software systems engineering, according to the Leader-Post.

"We are all in a state of shock,” Dean Esam Hussein of the faculty of engineering told the paper. "We’ll all miss him — this is really sad for us.”

The incident raised security concerns for some attendees. Festival patron Risa Payant said that no one she knew of was patted down for weapons before entering the campgrounds, adding that even some security officials didn't know about the death right away.

"They'd just be like, 'I don't know, was there an incident last night?'" she said.

Niland told The Sun that they were "definitely prepared" for such a tragedy and that authorities told them they handled the situation "flawlessly." He added they "exceeded what was the recommended security plan."

The rest of the festival ran smoothly, though, with headliners such as Outkast and Deadmau5 putting on high-energy performances.

The event was resurrected this year by new promoters after its first (and rocky) incarnation in 2008.

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Pemberton Music Festival 2014