While the headliners for the 2018 Cavendish Beach Music Festival have yet to be announced, the company that produces it is proposing some changes for the three-day event. 

At a public meeting in Cavendish Tuesday night, the resort municipality's planning board received a proposal from Whitecap Entertainment — the producers of the event — to make two changes to the site: Make it entirely licensed for alcohol and extend the hours of operation by 15 minutes to allow some slowing of the crowd exodus.  

"The outdoor festival business has continued to change and evolve over the years, so this is just the next step in looking at a way in which we can ... improve the customer experience and at the same time perhaps be more efficient and continue to improve in safety," said Jeff Squires, the CEO of Whitecap Entertainment.

Most of site would become licensed

Currently, there's a segregated area that is licensed and people are ID'd and given bracelets as they come in. That's the only area for alcohol service as the rest of the site is alcohol-free. 

Jeff Squires

"This is just the next step in looking at a way in which we can ... improve the customer experience and at the same time perhaps be more efficient and continue to improve in safety," says Jeff Squires, the CEO of Whitecap Entertainment. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Under the new proposal, most of the event grounds would become licensed and give the Liquor Control Commission jurisdiction over it and a designated space on site would be alcohol-free.

The changes would also allow EMS providers and security to move freely inside of the venue, Squires said. 

"To use our security resources, instead of manning gates — they can be used in a more efficient manner to be making sure that the people that are of age are consuming alcohol and those that are not of age are not consuming alcohol."

Up to 25,000 people attend the festival each day, and Squires explained that at its peak, there are up to 150 security guards working the event.

The Cavendish resort municipality chair Matthew Jelley said that the decision they make around the proposal will take into account feedback from the fire marshal's office as well as comments received from the public.

"The factors that we have to weigh are the attendance of the festival, the age groups that are attending it, the duration of the festival, both each day, but the fact that it happens over three days, and all those are things that we will consider when making our final decision," Jelley said.

Public input welcome

At Tuesday's meeting, presentations were also made by government officials in the Liquor Control Commission, the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy and the Department of Health and Wellness, as well as the fire marshal's office.

cavendish beach music festival

Up to 25,000 people attend the festival each day, and at its peak, there are up to 150 security guards working the event, says Squires. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The site has been fully licensed for two events before, including the Rod Stewart concert.

A community comment period is now open for seven days from Tuesday night's meeting. 

The community's planning board will meet and make a recommendation to council at their next meeting on December 11.

With files from Tom Steepe