Mounties say the “gap” in security operations at the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival contributed to one of the most hectic August long weekends that emergency services providers have ever seen in Penticton.
“It’s typically a busy weekend, but it was far busier than ever experienced in the South Okanagan, just because of the event, essentially,” RCMP spokesman Const. Kris Clark said Wednesday.
“We knew the resources that were necessary to police that size of an event,” he continued, but the suspected drug overdose death of a woman Friday night, combined with other medical issues there, “essentially overwhelmed emergency and security operations.
“So in order to address that — our concerns as well as the gap that was left by private security — we needed to enhance our resources,” said Clark, who was unable to quantify the type, and cost, of extra help, since figures are still being tallied.
Organizers stated prior to Boonstock that calling in 40 out-of-town officers for the event would cost the festival about $200,000, although it’s now believed the expense will be much greater.
And a press conference intended for Mounties and other emergency service providers to reveal those numbers, plus the details on police files generated by the event, likely won’t happen until next week at the earliest.
“It usually takes about two weeks minimum just to get the statistics alone from our records management system,” Clark explained.
Boonstock operations director Barb Haynes acknowledged the event required a bit of extra help from police.
“RCMP stepped up to the plate and assisted Boonstock when and where we needed it,” she said.
Interior Health stated previously that 90 people were taken from Boonstock to Penticton Regional Hospital during the festival, most with drug- and alcohol-related medical conditions.