2014-07-31T14:22:55-04:00 2014-07-31T09:10:26-04:00

Can Boonstock Music Festival pull it off this weekend?

Anyone that’s tried to organize an event for more than 50 people can appreciate the work that goes in. Now, imagine you’re organizing an event for thousands of people, with some top headliners, camping, and instead of running over to your nearest liquor store or ordering a keg, you have to get provincial approval to provide booze to your guests. Boonstock Music Festival has faced curse-like obstacles for their 10th anniversary.

After being banned by the County Council from their original location in Northern Alberta, Boonstock moved the festival to Penticton, British Columbia. Problem solved: until, of course, the security firm they hired pulled out last minute.

With only a couple weeks until showtime, the festival had to scramble to get another security company, which they managed, to everyone’s relief. What else could possibly go wrong? Well, after having sold thousands of tickets, including VIP tickets promising VIP bar access with shorter bar lines, days before the festival, BC’s Liquor Control Branch denied Boonstock’s liquor license. With many attendees outraged and demanding a refund, Boonstock has had their hands full trying to pull everything together.


Anyone who has attended Shambhala, one of Canada’s most popular backwoods festivals, can appreciate what happens when an event doesn’t sell liquor, and if you haven’t been (which you should), think back to parties before you were legal or prohibition times and we can see  "where there’s a will, there’s a way."

Whatever people decide to do about their personal sobriety, whether campground pre-drinking, testing the will of the new security firm, or riding out the weekend booze free, I think it’s safe to say that an event is what you make of it, and there’s plenty to offer festival goers with the exception of event-provided booze.  

First off, and most importantly, the music. While big names like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, City And Colour, Armin Van Buuren and Rise Against are headlining, there are plenty of other noteworthy artists to catch.

For those running ahead of schedule that will be ready to party for Thursday night, Dzeko & Torres will be playing at the Kalamalka StageThese guys are perfect for setting the summer electronic vibe with their light, energetic beats.

For Friday, also on the Kalamalka Stage are Milo & Otis. While named after an '80s children's movie, their sound is anything but childish, and should provide a solid set for dancing.

The Airborne Toxic Event will also be playing on Friday. While landing more heavily in the indie rock spectrum, The Airborne Toxic Event is an amazingly talented band, with Mikel Jollett’s lead vocals being both rock rough and melodic. While “Sometime Around Midnight” has one of the best intros I’ve ever heard, their old and new tracks are consistently well-written and well-performed.

Not to age myself or sound decrepit, but the last time I saw Kill The Noise, who is hitting the stage Sunday, I danced so hard that I threw out my back. Which is saying a lot… it was by far not my first show, but he provided the entire crowd with really deep, intense, fast-paced music that was insanely fun to dance to; so much so that even though I had to work the next morning and hadn’t planned to, I stayed until the last track.

No matter what your taste, Boonstock has something for everyone, from Awolnation, USS and Wolfmother to W&W, Classified, and Zeds Dead. Even if the festival is dry, the weekend won’t be. Boasting the largest beach party in Canada and situated in the heart of wine country, there’s still lots to see and do at the festival this weekend. We’ll see if they manage to pull it all together despite the many hurdles.


Dance · Events Stage · Feature · Festival · Indie


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