Entertainment

Colwood crowds rockin,’ rowdy, but good-natured

Front-row fans let their feelings be known during the Saturday night set of Billy Talent at Rock the Shores in Colwood. - Arnold Lim/News staff
Front-row fans let their feelings be known during the Saturday night set of Billy Talent at Rock the Shores in Colwood.
— image credit: Arnold Lim/News staff

Rock the Shores has left the building.

Tom Cochrane, Billy Talent and Our Lady Peace have performed, the food trucks have long moved on and the stage that was once front and centre for tens of thousands of screaming fans, has been packed up for another year.

The event has grown from a one-day event with The Tragically Hip headlining, to a three-day event featuring 23 bands, increasing traffic at and around West Shore Parks and Recreation in every imaginable way.

Organizers did their homework for the event. Last year’s well-publicized complaints, from hundreds of ticket holders being stuck in line while opening acts played, to long and slow-moving beer lines, to a dearth of washrooms and places to fill up water bottles, were ironed out this time around.

Even changes to liquor laws that allowed for open alcohol anywhere onsite, effectively eliminating fenced beer gardens, weren’t an issue, according to West Shore RCMP.

“As with any large-scale event, we are monitoring service levels – people drinking and partaking in the event – and this year has been very similar to previous ones,” said Cpl. Kathy Rochlitz.

She added that no “negative effects” were seen as a result of the liquor rule changes.

‘We determine it to be a success when we have no major incidents involving ourselves. What we have seen is consistency (with prior years) …  We have noticed no major change for the good or the bad.”

St. John’s Ambulance divisional superintendent Martin Wong said they had 14 or 15 attendants in the field at any given time, guided by a dispatcher working out of the command centre with the RCMP and Colwood Fire Department.

More than 200 patients were attended to over the three days, mostly for such minor things as insect bites and eye washes for people with sunscreen in their eyes. But Wong said there were a few faintings and a handful of heat-related illnesses to intoxicated individuals, with temperatures rising well past 30 C over the three days.

Open lines of communication between concert promoter Atomique Productions, West Shore RCMP and West Shore Parks and Recreation staff, as well as other partners, was key to making the large-scale event safe as possible, Rochlitz said.

Police made 17 arrests in all: 15 were for public intoxication, one was for an outstanding warrant and another for a breach of probation.

There were also a handful of confiscations of small amounts of marijuana.

By comparison, there were 12 arrests made over the two days of the festival  in 2013.

alim@vicnews.com

Find an assortment of Arnold Lim photos from Rock the Shores 2014 on Facebook.

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