July 09, 2014 - 7:47 AM
PENTICTON - Boonstock Music Festival organizers have a new security company and are adamant the show will go on August long weekend with or without a liquor license.
Boonstock organizers including Barb Haynes and Colin Kobza told a small crowd in Penticton at a public forum Tuesday night they reached an agreement with 24-7 Security Ltd. to provide security during the festival. The event was threatened when its original security company, International Crowd Management, pulled out two weeks ago.
The announcement was made on Boonstock's Facebook page only an hour-and-a-half before the forum and, organizers hope, just under the wire to get a liquor licence. They needed a security plan to get the licence and submitted it just before the July 8 deadline, Haynes said.
She assured Penticton that the 200-plus page safety plan covered all possible scenarios, from wind and wildfires to sun stroke and drunken behaviour. She said she received an email from RCMP that said 'everything looks great' in the report.
Comments from the crowd were both supportive and skeptical of the event and the planning that has gone into it.
“How can you be sure that the same thing is not going to happen that’s happened in Alberta?” one woman asked. Boonstock was hosted in Gibbons, Alta north of Edmonton, for nine years but was prevented from holding its tenth festival by Sturgeon County officials because of security and other concerns.
Haynes said the best they can do is know the plans in advance and be ready to take action if and when necessary.
“It’s not perfect, it’s never going to be perfect, there’s always going to be things that you need to update, that you need to change," Haynes said of the security plan. "But that’s how plans work.”
Concerns will always be raised with an event like this, but organizers said the festival is a great way to engage the younger community and create opportunities for them by showcasing our community and bringing in new business.
In a slideshow presentation, Haynes compared Boonstock to well-known American festivals like Coachella (California) and Bonaroo (Tennessee) that are also hosted in small towns like Penticton, but cater to much larger audiences—150,000 people at Coachella compared to the expected 8,500 at Boonstock.
Boonstock President Colin Kobza said he intends to give back to the Penticton Indian Band once the show becomes profitable again. The Band has worked with organizers since the beginning and without their locatee land, there may not be a place to host the four-day long festival.
The festival is not just about a weekend of music, dancing, sun and drinks, Haynes said. It is also about providing opportunities for young people and helping create memories that will perhaps help them consider living in Penticton when they’re older, looking for jobs or wanting to start or raise a family.
And for that, they got some support. As one citizen put it: "This town really needs something to get it going again."
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014