Boonstock confident of economic spinoffs for Penticton and area

Boonstock founder Colin Kobza at a press conference Wednesday in Penticton where he announced the summer music and arts festival lineup. - Kristi Patton/Western News
Boonstock founder Colin Kobza at a press conference Wednesday in Penticton where he announced the summer music and arts festival lineup.
— image credit: Kristi Patton/Western News

Five months out from a music and arts festival that is estimated to attract 8,500 people a day, Boonstock organizers are confident everything will go ahead as planned.

“I am 100 per cent confident we are going execute this and nail it. Boonstock is here to stay and we are going to build on the brand. We are deep into the plan, but it is a working plan and we will be going right to the date,” said Boonstock founder Colin Kobza. “We definitely will be ready and we have an incredible team to get there. We do have the approval with Penticton Indian Band and locatee families and everything is now starting to fall into place.”

Boonstock announced it would be moving after being held for nine years in Gibbons, Alta. because local government voted to shut it down as a result of complaints. The move to Penticton is positive for everyone they believe because the summer music festival will provide all kinds of economic spinoffs for the city and surrounding area.

“This is all an incredible investment into our community where we have opportunity to hire and employ many folks because of Boonstock,” said director of operations Barb Haynes.

Organizers said it is the perfect opportunity to bring a new demographic to the area and boost tourism on an already busy long weekend with the festival scheduled for July 31 to Aug. 3.

“There were few opportunities when it was held in Gibbons for folks to get out and about and do some tourist kinds of things and we know that is not who we are here in Penticton. It is a great opportunity for us to engage concert goers in wine touring, markets that our downtown, Coyote Cruises, mountain biking, the lakes, all of those wonderful things. We already are working with partners to move those opportunities forward,” said Haynes.

Bus tours have already booked hotel room blocks, said Haynes, and Boonstock said they are working with the newest airline to land in Penticton, Jump On Flights.

“We have been working with our hoteliers and blocked a bunch of space. Is it busy on the August long weekend? Absolutely. Are hotels sold out at this point? No,” said Haynes.

The venue, located just north of Skaha Meadows golf course, has a campsite accommodating 4,600 spots, which organizers said they don’t expect to be full in their first year.

Haynes said those camping will have to park their cars in a secure spot on site for the duration of the weekend.

Shuttle buses and tour buses will provide concert goers a way to get around Penticton to tourist sites, into the city and back to the concert site.

Boonstock organizers have also met with wineries to co-ordinate shuttles for concert goers to go on wine tastings.

With the Penticton Peach Festival kicking off on Aug. 6, Haynes said she hopes to see people stick around the city for that.

“Absolutely, we have been working to try to engage some of our sponsors with Peachfest,” she said. “Our goal is to work as collaboratively as we can.”

As for the finer details, Haynes said RCMP have received a safety plan from them as of last week. She said it includes comments from International Crowd Management, the festival security, local contractor All’s Well Security, the PIB fire chief and PIB administrator.

Haynes added a local engineering firm has been working diligently with the Ministry of Transportation on the traffic management portion of the safety plan.

“We have worked hard to put in place safety and security for both the festival site and Penticton Indian Band lands,” said Haynes, adding that it is a living document that will grow and change as they continue planning.

Still, RCMP re-iterated again to the Western News what they have seen of a safety plan is vague. RCMP said meetings are scheduled to happen in April.

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