Pemberton Music Festival 2017 has been announced and Rockdoc is excited to be a part of this great event for another year! Rockdoc has been the medical provider since the inception of the event and idea in 2008. Here is how our partnership began.
It started as a simple, “Hey man, I have this idea…”
It was a casual chat over a beer between sets at Aerosmith in December of 2007. The conversation went something like this, “I want to put on a massive, truly epic music festival in a field at the foot of Mt. Currie in Pemberton. It will be the best, most picturesque festival, like Glastonbury or Coachella…ARE YOU IN?”
Of course the answer was yes! Let’s be honest here, 45,000 people for four days featuring some of the top artists on the planet, many of the newest and hottest up and coming talents, all together in a truly breathtaking pristine valley. No problem, lets do it.
How hard could that be? Rockdoc had just provided medical services for the Triathlon World Cup event and had covered the Vancouver Marathon twice before and few other small events and concerts. Notably, this was a very different animal and would not just be several thousand well-trained athletes for a few hours; rather the festival site would become the 7th largest city in British Columbia for 4 days with in excess of 45,000 people living on site.
No, that’s not a typo, the 7th largest city in BC!! Imagine what happens in Williams Lake, Terrace or Cranbrook on a typical Saturday night? There are births, car wrecks, someone may have appendicitis or pneumonia, there could be a bar fight or an industrial accident. Through our research and colleagues, who study Mass Gatherings, we know that when you put a large crowd of people together, more things happen, therefore providing care for patrons is much more challenging. There was one more critical factor to add in – the festival site was located 1 or 2 hours from the nearest full service trauma hospital, and we knew that attendees were coming to party with reckless abandon!
Even with all of that information, our team of music lovers, event professionals, producers and fans assembled to put on what still stands as one of the greatest music festival ever staged anywhere. Rolling Stone Magazine tagged it as, “The Next Glastonbury”! Dr. Sam Gutman recalls, standing in the moat about 15 meters in front of Tom Petty during his headlining set and appreciating the huge smile on his face, but he couldn’t figure out what so “great”. It wasn’t until he turned around, stepped up on the mixer stand to view the sun setting behind the mountain with an orange glow enveloping a sea of people stretching to the horizon – It’s a picture that he will never forget.
At the peak, the Pemberton medical team in 2008 treated 400 people in the main medical tent in a 24 hour period – to put that into context, that’s more than the busiest hospital in Canada handles in a day. Our team of 300 medical professionals were out in the field, on 3 wheel ATVs, golf carts, in tents and on foot. We cared for the sick, ill and injured – their faces were covered by pieces of cloth to protect them from the dust clouds that would define a new syndrome of “Pemberton Lung”.
As Dr. Gutman stood in the dark in the middle of the dusty field, gazing back at the massive glowing main medical tent at 2 am, he watched the “well-oiled“ machine that was the 2008 Pemberton medical team – a group of people who did not know each other the day before who had come from across the country to be a part of this event. Dr. Gutman remembers that day vividly, at 2am tears had welled up in his eyes, and at the moment he knew – Rockdoc was born and Pemberton 2008 will forever be known as the event that changed Rockdoc from a person into a group of people and company. #WeAreRockdoc
For more information about Pemberton 2017 visit www.pembertonmusicfestival.com. Announcements regarding medical shifts will be released via Rockdoc’s social media platforms – Instagram & Twitter: @rockdoconline and on Facebook: Rockdoc Consulting Inc. in the weeks to come!