Grammy Award-winning rap duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis headlining the inaugural Boonstock music festival in Penticton July 31-Aug. 3.
Boonstock, which has been held in Gibbons, Alta., for the past nine years, announced they would be relocating to Penticton to hold Canada’s largest beach party. Some of the other top acts performing in the concert bowl include City and Colour, DJ Armin van Buuren, Classified and punk rockers Rise Against. Top acts from across North America will perform in the concert bowl and world-famous DJs will keep the music pumping in the electronic dance music area throughout the three-day celebration.
“Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are definitely one of the biggest bookings we have had for sure. It took almost eight months to confirm the date,” said Boonstock promoter Colin Kobza. “(Macklemore and Ryan Lewis) reach out to the Top 40 demographic and the artists we have are widespread across it.”
In previous years, Boonstock has booked The Offspring, Sublime, Godsmack, Avicci and Slash from Guns n’ Roses. It’s almost hard to imagine that from a ranch in Gibbons came one of the most popular outdoor festivals in Western Canada.
“Boonstock started nine years ago in Alberta on my mom and dad’s land, it was a birthday party and about 150 people attended. Over the nine years we learned how to promote the events and grow the events. We finished off there with about 60,000 people attending over the four-day period. With that came some challenges: we were off a major freeway, a small piece of land and logistics wise we outgrew the site so there was a move that needed to be done,” said Kobza. “We are excited to be in this area, it caters to tourism and there are so many more things to offer from the Okanagan than Gibbons. Penticton is a tourist destination so we are really thrilled to have Boonstock coming here.”
When first announcing the move to Penticton, Kobza said he would be scaling back the event compared to what it was in Gibbons. He estimated around 8,500 people per day will attend the event on the Penticton Indian Band grounds.
“We are definitely still scaling back Alberta was around the 60,000 mark and we are not going to reach those numbers and we don’t really want to reach those numbers. We want to scale back the event and provide a really good atmosphere for everyone,” said Kobza.
Boonstock will also incorporate local acts such as Kelowna’s The Wild!, Maiya Robbie, Aidan Mayes and Mandy Cole, and Kobza said they are hoping to sign spoken-word artist Shane Koyczan as of Wednesday. Word is spreading quickly via social media about the event. Boonstock organizers said their pre-announcement poster had over 71,000 views as of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
“I think one of the things that is really important to remember with Boonstock is that it is a new demographic, it will give it a different look and feel,” said Barb Haynes, operations director for Boonstock. “There is a vision we have for this event and it is more encompassing in terms of music and art. We have some incredible art installations that have never happened when it was in Alberta, so it is new this year. We have lots of opportunity to expand the demographic of what has been.”
Organizers said advance ticket sales have been strong and they expect the same when event passes go back on sale Friday, March 28.
“Boonstock is a well-known brand and it was really interesting to me to see the number of individuals who would purchase simply based on the brand and not know who was coming. Looking at our ticketing I can tell you there are people coming in, prior to the announcement today, from places like Michigan, California and Arizona,” said Haynes. “When you look at the lineup here and the opportunity to see someone like Macklemore in a setting like Penticton with smaller numbers it is incredible,” added Haynes.
Kobza said they are still working on finer details with the Penticton Indian Band and locatee land owners on the exact timeframe the concerts will run each day. He said they are looking at a 10 a.m. start on the Skaha Beach on a smaller stage, which will take place across the street from the Barefoot Beach Resort. This area is limited to 19 years and older with acoustic, reggae and blues music.
Kobza said everyone would then be drawn over to the concert bowl area of the festival grounds for a 5 p.m. start. The main grounds is a 16 years and up festival.
Six campsites will be available to choose from and will be just a four-minute walk to Skaha Beach and the concert bowl. The BoonTown Marketplace and Tradeshow will be returning this year giving concert-goers the chance to leisurely browse through food and merchandise tents.
Event passes are on sale as of Friday, March 28, at 10 a.m. and available online at www.boonstock.ca or on the ticket hotline 1-877-569-7767. Camping passes are not included in the price of an event pass.
A detailed schedule for the event is expected to be released in a month’s time.