It’s a little early to say how much of an effect the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival had on Penticton’s business community, but the consensus seems to be that it certainly wasn’t a negative.
The B.C. Day long weekend is already one of the busiest of the year, so it was a little hard for business owners, like Randy Kowalchuk at the Fairview Liquor Store, to say how much of an effect festival goers made on his store, though they were certainly coming through his doors.
“August long weekend is our busiest weekend of the year and it stayed true to that,” said Kowalchuk. “We saw lots of guests of Boonstock and they were well-behaved, enjoying themselves. We had great weather, we had warm summer nights, it was just nice to see young people enjoying themselves.”
Campbell Watt, president of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Penticton Association said he expects the weekend will turn out to be positive, business-wise.
“Even if they (Boonstock guests) didn’t spend any money, which we know they did, then it was still a positive thing,” said Watt.
“When you have that many extra people in town, and they didn’t create the vandalism or things that cost money instead of create money, then the worst case for a business was that they broke even or they had people come through that made them too busy.”
Watt said there was a noticeable number of people wearing Boonstock wristbands at the Saturday markets downtown.
“Exposure to Penticton was the long-term goal. It was one of the goals to create long-term benefits,” said Watt, explaining that the chamber’s support of Boonstock wasn’t as a band-aid or a one-off event.
“The influx of non-recycled cash is certainly a positive thing, but the ultimate goal is to create other events,” said Watt.
“We have nothing driving that younger demographic to Penticton anymore. These kind of events, we need them to ensure that Penticton thrives and survives in 10 to 20 years and that is what we were supporting.”
Paul Cecconi of Brodo Kitchen also said it was a typical busy holiday.
“It was busy all weekend. I did talk to a few people that were going there (Boonstock),” he said. Cecconi, though, had some special guests to cater to.
“We catered the headliners in the green room. The bands were very excited about all the fresh local farmer’s vegetables. We did City and Colour on Friday, then Rise Against on Saturday and Macklemore on Sunday,” said Cecconi adding that one of Macklemore’s band was impressed enough with some of the preserves Brodo supplied.
“They took a card and told us you have to send us a couple of cases with different cannings,” said Cecconi.
Rob Appelman, owner of the Lakeside Villa and president of the Penticton Hospitality Association, said he and other hoteliers were full, but that was typical for the August long weekend. This year, though, most of his rooms were taken up by Boonstock guests.
“For myself, and I think a lot of people, the August long weekend is a full weekend,” said Appelman. He would have preferred to see Boonstock happen on a different weekend rather than what is already one of the busiest, though he understands the festival organizers were also trying to maximize their attendance.
“This is the weekend people get out and enjoy, so this is the best scenario for Boonstock to get as many people to come,” he said. “During the day, the beach was full and everyone was having a good time and I didn’t see or hear of any problems at all.”