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Penticton  

Boonstock organizers talk

Boonstock organizers presented their side of the story on the liquor license denial as well as other issues, on the festival grounds Wednesday morning.

The statements came following a tumultuous week for the festival slated for this long weekend in Penticton.

"There are a lot of conversations out there, and a lot of them are skewed, so we wanted to clear the air," said operations director Barb Haynes. "Suffice it to say one of the bigger conversations was the denial of our liquor license."

She said organizers learned it had been denied late Friday afternoon, and that the information that went out to the media, (from the LCB), regarding this was unprecedented and doesn't typically happen.

Then on Monday, they tried to have a conversation with the liquor control branch, and realized at that point it was going to be a dry event.

According to Penticton Indian Band member Pierre Kruger, the license was denied because of one person, who said it was not going to happen.

"He is working and doing back door meetings. It's just one man and he says it's not negotiable. If he had common sense and an open mind I'd agree with him. But he doesn't. He's doing whatever it takes."

Kruger added people have invested a lot of time and sweat, and they are just getting frustration, playing tag. Look at the RCMP they want a ratio of one to 170, who has something like that. The only time there was ever a ratio like that was when the Pope was supposed to land in Alberta.

PIB member Harmony Kruger-Pickett further stressed she was very disappointed with the city's level of support.

"I find it very disheartening. There has not been mutual respect between the PIB and the city," she said. "I feel very sorry for Colin, (Kobza), and the hurdles he's had to go through and all the disappointments."

Deputy Mayor Andrew Jakubeit was in attendance and after questioning, he stated "any new event brings apprehension, but this is a positive thing for Penticton, bringing in a younger generation."

Despite the liquor license being denied, he said the show will go on and be safe, fun and a good time for everyone to be here.

In terms of sponsorship loss, due to not having a liquor license, Kobza, president of Boonstock Productions, said they were disappointed because they have a huge history with Bacardi, but they can't be a part of the event without a license.

Despite the setbacks, Haynes stressed there is a great event coming this weekend and they want to turn it into something, this community, the PIB and locatee families can be super proud of.

The press conference was often heated, as reporters asked questions they said have not been answered in recent months by organizers.

The festival is slated to start Thursday and continue until Aug. 3 on PIB locatee lands. Organizers have continued to keep ticket holders and others updated on their Facebook page. 

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