There is plenty of room in the summer for more than triathlons, bridge tournaments and car shows.
For many, it was not a question of whether they wanted Boonstock Music and Arts Festival to succeed. It was a matter of safety. People would be coming to Penticton and leaving with a first impression to share to the world that residents and naysayers didn’t have much control over. It could be where the frustration began and put Boonstock under a microscope.
Of course there will always be complaints for any event. It takes too long to cross Main Street, the noise, etc. For many who live and work in Penticton, it is in exchange for those short disturbances that they get to live in this paradise. For those reasons, it is important for festivals and events to be mindful of how they tread into the community.
Boonstock barged in and perhaps that is why it was approached with such early skepticism. Yes, they could have been a little more mindful when first announcing the move from Alberta and there were missteps made by organizers.
We cannot ignore the death of a woman or the dozens of overdoses that were dealt with by emergency service. However, no festival attracting young adults is immune from drug and alcohol-related problems. No amount of security guarantees protection from illegal drugs or binge drinking.
Overwhelmingly, those dancing in the dirt and spending their cash in local stores agreed they would come back and do it all over again. Weave in Peach Festival, Granfondo and wine festivals, and our target tourism demographic becomes varied instead of niche. If Boonstock is to return next year, it does need to take a more proactive approach to planning and communication.
For those who had no interest in Boonstock, the noise, or whatever the reason: think about the extra dollars that came rolling through your workplace and brought people to a place where you live and they can only visit. And, who knows, perhaps those who remember having the time of their lives at Boonstock will eventually call the city a place to stay forever.