Final Decision: No liquor license for Boonstock, says LCLB

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Boonstock Festival

The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch said late Monday that their decision to deny music festival Boonstock a liquor license is irreversible.

“This decision is final and is not something we will review on appeal, particularly since there is such a limited time left before the festival is set to begin,” said Ray Tetzel, Assistant Deputy General Manager, Compliance and Enforcement Division of the LCLB in a release.

The bad news initially arrived Friday for Boonstock’s organizers, who revealed the LCLB did not award them a permit to sell alcohol. The kicker: One of Boonstock’s major backers is Bacardi.

In a written statement, Tetzel pointed to concerns about Boonfest’s “safety and security plan,” noting that officials were “not confident that potential safety concerns identified with the Boonstock festival have been sufficiently addressed.”

Being the new kid on the summer music fest block in BC is not helping matters – it is actually hindering things. While Boonstock enjoyed nine years in Alberta, the event has now migrated West to Penticton, and the LCLB expressed dismay that organizers hadn’t followed through on the directions they were given “on what gaps needed to be filled to ensure that any potential risks were addressed.”

“Boonstock had the signed approval of local RCMP, Chief Jonathan Kruger and our society, who would have held the licence. For Victoria to deny this is extraordinarily unusual,” Boonstock director of operations Barb Haynes, told The Province.

Festival organizers seemed optimistic they would be able to appeal the ruling, noting on Twitter they’d merely encountered “another bureaucratic hurdle for Boonstock to jump over.” While sober fun at concerts is possible, it likely is not the ideal set-up for Boonstock’s planners, backers, and ticket-holders of the August 1-3 long weekend event.

The festival is trying to take a laid back stance in the wake of the LCLB’s hardline, but reps are largely avoiding the media. Some ticket holders have been mollified by the reminder they can drink on the event’s campsite, but those hoping to bring liquor into the concert, however, should be prepared for potentially vigorous searches.

UPDATE: Bacardi has pulled their sponsorship because of the event’s failure to obtain its liquor license.

Featured image: Boonstock

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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