July 26, 2014 - 1:13 PM
PENTICTON – Safety concerns have forced the provincial government to deny the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival a liquor licence.
“The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch is not confident that potential safety concerns identified with the Boonstock festival have been sufficiently addressed. As such, we will not be approving its liquor application,” Ray Tetzel with the Licensing Branch says in a media release.
Tetzel goes on to say, “Public safety is of paramount importance for any large-scale public events and the LCLB will not consider a licence application when security cannot be planned or communicated adequately.”
Organizers are promising the thousands of ticket holders they will have a licence in time for the festival scheduled for the August long weekend.
“Oh what a surprise. Another bureaucratic hurdle for Boonstock to jump over and we will,” a post to the event’s Facebook page says.
The comments below the the post express both anger and support for the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch decision. They also hint concert goers may be smuggling booze into the venue or doing all their drinking at the campsite.
The festival, which will be headlined by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, has been mired in controversy since it was first announced.
The event got the boot from Sturgeon County near Edmonton over concerns about drugs and violence and this is the first year it will be held in the Okanagan.
The original company hired to provide security quit after expressing concerns with the festival’s security plan.
Since then a new security company has been hired and the RCMP have promised 40 extra officers to patrol the festival grounds.
Penticton city council has remained neutral on Boonstock which is happening on land owned by a member of the Penticton Indian Band and is not technically part of the city.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014