March 29, 2014 - 10:27 AM
PENTICTON - The Boonstock music festival has some authorities skeptical but Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathan Kruger is focusing his attention on the economic development opportunities the festival can bring, rather than its shady history.
The Indian Band has agreed to let Boonstock promoters use a section of reservation land as a campground and concert venue when the festival comes to town August 1-3.
While he isn’t focusing on the festival’s negative past, he wants to hear that measures are being taken to ensure the festival doesn’t bring trouble to the community.
“I’m hoping it will be a good story and a good success,” Kruger said.
Kruger sees Boonstock as a reason to clean up some open fields that aren’t currently being used, so they will be ready to show developers interested in the land in the future.
It is all part of the economic development plan he has been implementing over the last several years. He said the progress made on the reservation benefits everyone in Penticton. It is not just about helping band members, but providing opportunities and jobs for Penticton residents also, Kruger said.
The contract signed with Boonstock is only short-term so if things don’t go well, there are opportunities to move the festival to a different location.
As for now, Kruger is looking forward to removing overgrown bushes and junk collections taking up space on the land.
The event promoters have not yet presented the RCMP with a security plan which makes preparation difficult for the police.
“We don’t know what their expectations are from police,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Dave Fayle.
There still isn’t a clear estimation of how many attendees to expect. Fayle said the number was originally around 4,500 people but is now over 8,000 — a significant increase, especially considering the music festival’s controversial past.
“The best indication of a future performance are past performances. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to go on YouTube,” Fayle said.
To contact the reporter for this story, e-mail Meaghan Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, e-mail email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014