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Pemberton Music Festival: Police Investigating Suspicious Death of Young Man (Updated)

The cause of death of a young man who died at the Pemberton Music Festival in British Columbia on July 18 still hasn’t been determined, but authorities have ruled out foul play.

The victim, identified as 21-year-old Nick Phongsavath, was discovered near a row of portable toilets on July 18, according to the Toronto Sun. His body was found deceased inside his tent just after 6 p.m., according to the statement released from The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

Attempts by the Whistler/Pemberton RCMP with the BC Ambulance Service to revive Phongsavath — an engineering student at the University of Regina — were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities ruled out that foul play was a contributing factor in Phongsavath’s death after conducting an autopsy on July 21.

“As a result of evidence found at the scene, witness statements and the autopsy completed on Nick Phongsavath, it has been determined that Foul play is not a contributing factor in his death,” Sgt. Jennifer Pound said in a statement.

As seen in the tweets below, some festivalgoers snapped photos of authorities taping off a portion of the camp, which included tents and a string of portable toilets.

“The RCMP are continuing to investigate and we are doing everything possible to assist with their efforts,” a statement on the festival’s website reads. “The RCMP are confident that this was an isolated incident and that the festival site is safe and well organized. With the support of the RCMP, we will continue with the Pemberton Music Festival. We hope that the festival community will come together and keep Mr. Phongsavath’s loved ones in their thoughts during this difficult time.”

The statement continues, “The safety of our attendees is always our primary concern. We have significant security resources on-site including security personnel, RCMP, customer service representatives and a full medical team. We are also providing on-site counseling services for all guests and staff.”

Soundgarden was one of many acts performing on the various stages at the time of the discovery, and headliners Nine Inch Nails went on stage later that evening. The festival’s organizer, HUKA Entertainment, has made counseling services available to festivalgoers and staff, and presented alternate accommodations to those affected by the investigation on the campground.

Inquiries regarding the incident should be directed to the Whistler RCMP Detachment at 604-932-3044. Information can also be provided by calling the IHIT tip-line at 1-877-551-4448.

Pemberton Music Festival, which is held in the valleys of Mount Currie in Pemberton, began on July 17 with a 100-act lineup. The festival ends on July 20. An estimated 20,000 people have attended the multi-day event.