Boonstock Festival making progress on plans

Boonstock Music and Arts Festival organizers say preparations for the August long weekend event are moving along well.

Boonstock founder Colin Kobza at a March press conference in Penticton.

Boonstock founder Colin Kobza at a March press conference in Penticton.

Boonstock Music and Arts Festival organizers say preparations for the August long weekend event on Penticton Indian Band land are moving along well.

On Wednesday, organizers met with RCMP and other stakeholders.

“We presented the detailed plan with all the traffic management details and everything that we needed to supply. I think everyone’s questions were answered,” said Barb Haynes, Boonstock operations director. “We are feeling pretty comfortable with our planning timeline.”

Haynes said they haven’t applied for their liquor licence yet, as all requirements for the event must be completed and they plan to have that submitted next week.

“Typically, you would like to apply for the liquor licence a few months out. I would have liked to apply by now, but I don’t think we are behind in our planning. There is a lot of paperwork that needs to be done when you organize something like this,” said Haynes.

Organizers said the conversation with the RCMP and Boonstock event security, ICM, at Wednesday’s meeting was positive. At a recent Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen meeting, Supt. Kevin Hewco provided an update to directors on Boonstock from the RCMP perspective. He said there was a lengthy list of recommendations for the promoters to complete. Hewco added a call letter was put out to off-duty police officers around the province to find out who would want to work the event for overtime pay, to be provided by Boonstock organizers.

“We for sure want the RCMP there and have always factored them into our budget,” said Haynes.

“I’m told they are doing well with their allotment of the number of officers they have given us, so I don’t anticipate any issues in getting that fulfilled.

Haynes did not want to provide the number of officers RCMP said they would like to see at the event.

“I’ll let them tell you that number if they want to share that, but I just know they are fairly satisfied with the progress we are making,” she said.

Work on the Boonstock Festival site has been underway and Haynes said they are busy erecting fencing, cleaning the property and seeding for grass is complete.

She said ticket sales have been going well for them and they have just surpassed the 6,000 mark in weekend passes. Organizers estimated the festival will attract 8,500 people a day. Haynes said they are also in the process of getting volunteers.

“We have had a ton of people register already, several hundred. There is lots of information on available for those wanting to volunteer. Right now we are anticipating needing about 500 volunteers and I don’t think we will have a problem getting that because people from all over B.C. and Alberta are applying,” she said.

Earlier this week, Boonstock Music and Arts Festival announced the board for non-profit arm of the event. Boonstock founder Colin Kobza created the Boonstock Entertainment and Arts Society in 2013 with the mission of supporting and promoting arts, music and culture. A community-based board of directors was recently announced.

“This board is independent with its own mandate but will work in tandem with the Boonstock Productions executive team to ensure that the festival is a positive experience for ticket holders, the Penticton Indian Band and the Penticton community,” said Kobza.

The 2014 BEAS board members were elected for one-year terms. The chair of the society is Mark Ziebarth, professor at the Okanagan School of Business and president of Plain Language Media. The vice-chair is Dan Bouchard, lumber broker with BP Wood. Treasurer is Cary Schneiderat, partner at Pearce Taylor Schneiderat, and secretary is Angela Marino, mortgage broker with Verico Complete Mortgage Services. The board of directors are Carl Nystrom, real estate developer and Meredith Birchall-Spencer, marketing and communications at Okanagan College.