The promoter of last summer’s Kootenay Country Music Festival has left a trail of unpaid bills for local suppliers.
Pangburn Philosophy, the company that put on the second annual country music festival last July, owes money to people who supplied everything from generators to homecooked meals for the performers.
The company, which put on events around the globe, went out of business in November.
“I gave them a hell of a deal on this stuff, at about half the price you would normally be charged, to help them along,” says Trowelex’s Harold Chernoff.
He estimates his company is out about $20,000 for supplying tents, toilets and generators, among other equipment, for the event.
He says it’s been frustrating trying to get hold of the owner, Travis Pangburn.
“I finally got hold of his brother, who set everything up in the first place. I reached him through Facebook, and told him I am trying to get Travis’s phone number,” says Chernoff. “He says he has nothing to do with it now.”
A phone number Travis Pangburn provided several months ago is no longer in service. A call to his brother, Adam Pangburn, went unanswered.
Chernoff isn’t the only supplier having a hard time reaching the promoter.
“I sent them an invoice shortly after the festival closed,” says Donna Smith, the president of the Pass Creek Regional Exhibition Society.
“He said, ‘Sure, I’ll pay that right away,’ and then a month went by. I sent an invoice again, said, ‘I know you’re overseas and busy, but here’s the invoice.’
“I had no response the four times I sent it to him.”
Smith says her volunteers made meals for the performers at the three-day festival and are owed more than $3,300.
“We’re volunteer-based and all the fundraising we do goes to putting on the fall fair,” says Smith. “Three-thousand, three-hundred dollars is a substantial amount for entertainment or advertising, or bringing in acts like the Laughing Logging show or motocross show.”
While Trowelex and the exhibition society are two of the largest local creditors, some small fry got caught up in the collapse as well.
Lisa Nicole is a local musician. She says she was paid by Pangburn Philosophy for her performance at the festival and for her emcee work, but is owed money for social media work she did for the company.
“It was so hard getting any money from them near the end, and they didn’t pay me for the last month I did that for them in October,” she says.
“I called him and texted and emailed him. I asked his family, wondering how to get in touch with him, and he never replied back to me.
“It’s only a couple of hundred dollars, but it’s kind of a bummer.”
Not all local suppliers have been left holding the bag.
The Castlegar News spoke to several who were paid in full. Most of those said it was because they demanded cash up front.
“We learned the hard way the first year,” says Joya McIntyre of Selkirk Security. She says her company insisted on being paid ahead of the event, and since they were providing security for the beer gardens, they were.
Despite the problems, she praises the Pangburns for their work.
“They are local boys, they are awesome boys, and I think their heart was in the right place. But their pocketbook changed,” she said.
McIntyre says it’s too bad so many suppliers got hurt, especially volunteers.
“You don’t burn your volunteers because they’re the ones who make an event, and they really helped him,” she says. “It ruins it for all of us who are local.”
Pangburn Philosophy’s collapse hasn’t just hurt locals.
CBC News has reported that the beloved singing group, Sharon and Bram had been left $15,000 short by Pangburn Philosophy after performing their farewell tour.
Pangburn himself has said little about the collapse of his short-lived promotional empire, and the Kootenay Country Music Festival Facebook page still holds out hope for fans.
“Due to some recent drastic changes to our parent company, we will not be in operation to produce a festival for 2019,” says the company’s latest post, dated Dec. 11.
“In the meantime, we will be working on plans to come back for 2020 to bring more great music to the Kootenays… Thanks a million to our supporters.”
After folding his promotional company in November, Pangburn has begun to produce videos. The company is using a Patreon page to raise funds for the endeavour.
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of the story, we said the Patreon page was started in November. In fact the company started it in March 2018.