Despite hurdles and challenges, Boonstock organizers are expecting festival attendees will be astounded by the three-day event.
“I think they are going to be blown away,” said Colin Kobza, president of Boonstock Productions, who estimated 8,000 tickets have been sold as of Wednesday. “A lot of people haven’t even been to Penticton and don’t know what this region has to offer and they are going to be thrilled to see the heat, the beaches and obviously our headliners and the production that we are going to be moving forward with.”
Disappointed they couldn’t get a liquor licence, and even at one point talking about cancelling the event, the stages rolled in late Monday and the show will go on, albeit a dry one.
“We discussed all things but we are a strong group and we are going to rise to the occasion,” said Kobza.
After nine years hosting the festival at a field in Gibbons, Alta., organizers said Penticton offers festival attendees a wealth of things to do, including the beach, floating the channel, checking out area wineries and be in the community as tourists. Even with the setbacks they faced, Boonstock said they expect to return next year and hope to gain the stature of one of the best-known festivals in the world.
“The vision is something similar to Coachella. I think we can do it here,” said Riley Gettens, director of corporate engagement for Boonstock. “Coachella sells out before they even announce their artists. They are neighbours to a city called Indio and last year they came to a 17-year agreement and Indio said keep Coachella, the country festival that draws 100,000 people and host two more. The city keeps $5 per ticket. It’s a pretty good thing we would love to make it through this year and do that next year with Boonstock.”
What you need to know:
Those who purchased Boonstock VIP tickets will still have a special area to chill out at during the festival with shade tents, merchandising booths and local restaurant Bogner’s providing a special menu that will include organic fruit drinks and infused teas. The arts also plays a role in the festival with Keremeos artist Jamie Cross taking the lead with eight others to create graffiti installations on the festival grounds. A new wall will be put up every day with the artists painting.
“We really wanted to create the festival experience including the arts. We will have another one near the beach stage and another on the main festival grounds that will include lycra and lights and will look really cool,” said Gettens.
Sunscreen and hats are being recommended as temperatures are expected to be in the 35 C range.
“And, stay hydrated,” said Gettens. “We have a lot of vendors on site and we want to have a cool- down zone with water spraying and there will be lots of water guns around. Also, you can’t bring liquids into the concert area but bring empty water bottles (no glass) because there is access to fill those up.”
Gettens added there will be another chill-out zone with hammocks for people to relax. Shuttle service will be available, at a cost, where attendees can get picked up and dropped off at various points around Penticton including the Downtown and Farmers Markets on Saturday. It is anticipated there will be a 30-minutes wait between buses.
Alcohol is not permitted in the concert areas, but is allowed to be consumed at your campsite.
Other events happening:
The best flair bartenders will be showing off their talents at Barefoot Beach Resort, the neighbouring property to the main Boonstock festival grounds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Barefoot Chill Zone will feature a catered gardens area that will serve alcohol from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Competition for the bartenders will begin at 6 p.m. and throughout the day they will be doing exhibitions.
“We also will have live DJs performing throughout the day with chill house music to create a nice atmosphere so if festival attendees want to get away and relax on the lawn in the shade they can chill out, sit back and enjoy some great entertainment,” said Max Picton, Barefoot Beach Resort president.
On the roster of flair bartenders competing at Flair Fest is the No. 1 in the country, Matt Majid. The event draws some of the biggest names in the world coming from as far away as the Cayman Islands. A weekend pass is $20 and Picton suggests using the shuttle service Coconut Express to get there.
On the other end of Skaha Beach, JCI Penticton is hosting the Jacked & Juiced custom car and truck show. It kicks off on Saturday with a beverage garden open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., pancake breakfast at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday and the car show also on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance to the beverage garden is free.