NEWS
07/14/2016 15:29 EDT | Updated 07/15/2017 01:12 EDT

First day of Pemberton Music Festival brings heavy traffic and security concerns

The Pemberton Music Festival, which starts Thursday afternoon, will continue to cause heavy traffic for travellers heading north on Highway 99 until Monday.

The four day event attracts more than 30-thousand people causing safety and logistical challenges.

Sgt. Rob Knapton with Whistler RCMP says additional police resources are being brought in from the Lower Mainland and Kamloops to manage the traffic and crowds, as well as the issue of drug use at the festival.

"Our position is, of course, the use of any illegal drug is something that's dangerous and should be avoided. We don't condone or promote any strategies to deal with that, other than not using them," said Knapton.

An increase in traffic through Whistler yesterday caused some backlog in the area, but organizers and police were able to clear the delay by late afternoon. 

Shuttle buses from Whistler to Pemberton have been arranged by festival organizers. Pacific Coach Lines is running buses between Vancouver and Pemberton.

"What we're looking for from the public, though, is to make sure that they understand that there is a large amount of people going to the festival," said Knapton. "So just to remind everyone that it's going to take some time and to try and keep calm and relax and wait for the show at the end of it."

Motorists choosing to drive north of Whistler, where Highway 99 narrows to primarily two-lane traffic, are advised to be patient and obey all signs and traffic control personnel.