EDITORIAL: Approving Boonstock licence may be wiser

It has been a long road to get to the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival, and last week, the event was handed another setback when the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch denied their liquor licence application.

Ray Tetzal, representing the LCLB, said they weren’t convinced that potential safety concerns had been addressed. He also said public safety is of paramount concern.

Unfortunately, denying the licence may not have been the best decision; first, and foremost, is that the music festival is going ahead regardless and attendees should be able to enjoy the festival in their own fashion, which they are going to do regardless of the liquor licence.

But without a licensed area where festival goers can partake, a whole new set of concerns is created.

First is the effect on the Penticton community. The festival is taking place on Penticton Indian Band lands, the lack of a liquor licence means festival goers wanting booze are going to be looking for ways to get across the channel as they restock their coolers.

Liquor stores near the Channel Parkway have said they are stocking up in preparation for a rush of visitors seeking alcohol.

Then there is the effect on the festival operations, as attendees do their best to sneak booze from the camping area into the stage areas itself.

Besides the obvious conflicts this might create with the security guards, we have to think that having drinks served in a licensed area would allow for more control. Or festival goers may simply turn to drugs as an alternative, much easier to smuggle into camp and into the stage areas.

With no appeal process available to Boonstock organizers, we can only hope that the decision doesn’t create problems for the festival organizers, festival goers or our community.

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