About 8,000 people are expected to be in Penticton, B.C. this weekend for the Boonstock Music Festival, but B.C.'s liquor licensing body says it won't be issuing the music and arts festival a last-minute liquor licence.
On Friday, the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch announced it was turning down the Boonstock Music Festival's application due to unaddressed safety concerns.
Festival organizers, undeterred, vowed in messages posted to Facebook and Twitter that they would overcome the liquor branch's "bureaucratic hurdle."
Oh, what a surprise... another bureaucratic hurdle for Boonstock to jump over.... and we will. ;) We will keep you posted. #RoadToBoonstock— BOONSTOCK MUSIC FEST (@Boonstock) July 26, 2014
But Ray Tetzel, deputy general manager of the branch's compliance and enforcement division, re-affirmed on Monday that the decision was final.
"Our concerns about a host of issues, including the lack of safety and security planning, is why we have made the decision to not approve their application," he said in an email to CBC News.
"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."
Tetzel said that, as of Friday, Boonstock organizers were unable to provide proof of signed agreements for site security, emergency health and ambulance services, waste management, potable water, tents or firefighting.
Tetzel said the lack of a plan for those services is "much more than a liquor issue."
"That said, it is clear to us that approving Boonstock’s liquor application would only serve to raise concerns that the safety of festival goers could be threatened."
Tetzel also noted that the RCMP are "well-aware and supportive of our decision to reject the liquor application."
Police presence for festival's reboot
The Boonstock Music and Arts Festival, now in its 10th year, ran for nine years north of Edmonton in Gibbons, Alta.
But, last year, neighbourhood backlash over alleged littering, trespassing, vandalism and other incidents that required police involvement prompted local officials to vote down allowing the massive event to continue in Sturgeon County.
With the festival now in Penticton for the first time, local RCMP are readying for an influx of concertgoers.
Penticton RCMP Staff Sgt. Kurt Lozinski says there will be an increased police presence on the streets of Penticton over the long weekend, and 40 officers will be on site at the north end of Skaha Lake to assist with festival security.
"Unfortunately, at many of these events people get hurt and that is our responsibility to assist and deal with those situations," he told CBC News.
"I think that as long as everybody comes here with a good attitude and is responsible, we'll support the event as best we can."
Festival organizers have refused repeated requests by CBC news for comment.
The 2014 Boonstock Music and Arts Festival is July 31 to Aug. 3, and the list of headliners includes Five Alarm Funk, Mother Mother, Awolnation, Armin Van Buuren and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.