UPDATE: President of Boonstock Productions expresses disappointment and confusion over liquor license rejection.
VIDEO: This is the full video of Colin Kobza’s interview. This video is unedited. Global News had to merge two videos together because at the end of the interview, Kobza changed his mind and wanted to provide us with more information.
PENTICTON, BC – Denying Boonstock a liquor license is supposed to protect the safety of festival-goers, according to Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.
But local stakeholders believe this could cause more issues, than resolving them.
“By taking away a license, you lose control,” says Campbell Watt, the President of the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber of Commerce still supports Boonstock because of its potential economic impact, but Watt is now apprehensive what festival-goers will do if they get thirsty for booze.
“I’m concerned that it’s 4 AM, there’s 2,000 people on Martin Street because they can’t get into the Blue Mule and they’re bored, they’re looking for a drink – what are we going to do?” asks Watt.
Penticton’s Deputy Mayor says it’s important that its citizens and visitors are safe.
“There is a policing plan in place and protective services plan in place to deal with larger crowds,” explains Andrew Jakubeit, Deputy Mayor. “Members have been putting in contingency plans and going through scenarios so they’re well-prepared.”
Safety is also a major concern for the Penticton Indian Band.
The Chief says those concerns are now eased because Boonstock organizers proved it had the money to pay for policing costs.
While Boonstock is regaining support from the local band, it’s losing sponsors.
Bacardi is one of three stage sponsors, and is pulling out.
“Social responsibility is a core pillar of our business, and we would not be involved in any event that did not have the correct licensing in place,” says a spokesperson.
Boonstock organizer Travis Kruger says he’s still working with the government in hopes to get a liquor license.
But the LCLB says the decision is final.