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HomeNewsCancelled Pemberton Music Festival’s web of intrigue

Cancelled Pemberton Music Festival’s web of intrigue


Bob Mackin 

The three directors of a numbered company behind the bankrupt Pemberton Music Festival quit six days before the 2017 edition was cancelled, leaving ticket holders with no certainty of refunds. 

The federal Superintendent of Bankruptcy says the May 18-bankrupt Pemberton Music Festival LP and 1115666 B.C. Ltd. had $16,744,723 in liabilities and $6,609,149 in assets.

Producer/promoter Huka Entertainment’s website said it did not make the decision to cancel the July 13-16 festival: “That decision was made by the Pemberton Music Festival LP (PMF). We are extremely disappointed for our fans, artists and all of our partners who have supported the festival over the years.” Scheduled headliners were Chance the Rapper, Muse and A Tribe Called Quest. 

B.C. Registry Services shows 1115666 B.C. Ltd. was incorporated April 19 with three directors: Stephane Lescure of Calabasas, Calif., Amanda Girling of Langley and James Dales of Vancouver. They ceased to be directors on May 12, according to a May 17-filed change of directors notice. 

The numbered company is the general partner of PMF, which was registered in 2014 to the office of Vancouver law firm Lawson Lundell. 

Both Girling and Dales are also directors of Arthritis Research Canada, whose board includes ex-BC Liberal finance minister Colin Hansen, the CEO of the New York Times-featured AdvantageBC

James Dales

Dales is the president and founder of Procon, a Burnaby-headquartered mine builder, operator and financier. Its website says it has a subcontract on the $9 billion Site C dam project to “manage the silica exposure control program, the mine rescue program, and underground safety program” for Peace River Hydro Partners.  

Girling’s Arthritis Research Canada bio lists her as CEO of Janspec Group of companies which includes the Pemberton Music Festival, the Sunstone Group, and Oak Tree Manor, an independent living facility for seniors in Nanaimo. Sunstone Ranch was the venue where Louisiana-based Huka staged the Pemberton Music Festival. The long-term concept for Sunstone Ridge includes a 21-acre “learning, living and recreation” community. However, the entire 274-acre property is for sale at a listing price of $16.8 million. 

Amanda Girling

Girling is a former executive director of the Turner Foundation. Canada Revenue Agency’s online file for the Turner Foundation says it reported $217 in assets and $43,497 in liabilities for 2016, with total revenue of $12,288 and expenditures of $12,556. Turner Foundation’s ongoing programs are described on the CRA website as “providing educational and development opportunities in Kenya. Construct bore holes and water distribution facilities. Support orphans so they can attend primary and secondary schools. Fund raising programs including holding SOL for Pemberton Music Festival Ltd. Partnership.” 

Neither Dales nor Girling responded to phone messages from theBreaker. Lawyer William Skelly, who acts for Dales and Girling, refused to do an interview with theBreaker. By email, Skelly would not comment on either Dales or Girling’s backgrounds, their investments or how they have been affected by the bankruptcy. 

According to trustee Ernst and Young, the festival claimed $8.225 million revenue to date on a $22 million budget. It blamed the high U.S. dollar, because most performers are paid in greenbacks and fewer performers are touring this summer.  

Last year, the festival claimed 38,423 average ticket sales per day and $15.23 million revenue.

In 2014, PMF, through the Turner Foundation, hired liquor licence consultant Bert Hick to lobby then-liquor minister and Attorney General Suzanne Anton. Gabe Garfinkel, a former aide to Premier Christy Clark, was hired to lobby in 2014 for Sunstone Ridge Developments. Before the 2016 festival, Mark Reder of Fleishman Hillard was hired by Huka to lobby Premier Christy Clark, Ministers Shirley Bond and Norm Letnick and local Liberal MLA Jordan Sturdy to “raise awareness of economic contribution of the Pemberton Music Festival to regional economy.” 

Huka donated $3,200 to the BC Liberals on Jan. 25, 2016. 

Are you a Pemberton Music Festival ticket holder, worker or performer? theBreaker wants to hear from you. Go here.