After weeks of uncertainty, the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch is reporting they have denied a liquor licence to the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival.
“After working with the RCMP and festival organizers, and reviewing the event’s safety and security plan, 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,” said Ray Tetzel, deputy general manager, compliance and enforcement division for the LCLB in a release to the Western News.
“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.”
Barb Haynes, director of operations for the Boonstock Music and Arts festival, said the festival is going ahead regardless, though they are appealing the decision.
“Boonstock is happening,” she said, noting that tents and fences are going up. “We are excited to show what we can deliver and hugely disappointed for LCLB decision. We are not done and are working to change the bureaucracy.”
On June 27, International Crowd Management, who had been booked to handle security for the event, terminated their agreement with the Boonstock festival citing safety concerns after organizers made “sudden and significant changes to the safety plan without consultation with ICM or the various city, provincial or federal stakeholders.”
Boonstock organizers worked quickly to find another firm to supply event security and on July 8, Haynes announced a new contract with 24/7 Security from Aldergrove.
That, she said, enabled Boonstock to meet the LCLB’s July 8 deadline for submission of the liquor licence application and security plan for review.
“This is a new event to the region and that’s why public safety officials worked hard to try and assist Boonstock organizers, providing them with guidance on what gaps needed to be filled to ensure that any potential risks were addressed. Unfortunately these risks remain outstanding,” wrote Tetzel.
According to Haynes, more than 7,200 tickets have been sold for the three-day festival, which takes place from Aug. 1 to 3.