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Boonstock begins

The road to the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival in Penticton has been paved with setbacks, but as of Friday morning everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Traffic was moving on Skaha Lake Road and visitors were making their way to the beach to hear music, heading into Penticton for food or going to the main concert area.

"It has been a fantastic journey so far," said Cameron, from Edmonton. "I've met 30 people here, and none of them have been negative."

Mark Ziebarth, chair of the Boonstock Entertainment and Arts Society, said early Friday they had finished a security briefing and the festival was going well, thus far.

"Overall, some traffic slowdowns and a few fence jumpers to corral," he said. "But very good reports from hospital, emergency services, the RCMP, etc. Crowds are high-spirited, and there will be music under the stars again tonight."

No one was available to speak on behalf of the RCMP on Friday, but they had a presence at the location.

Sunglasses vendor Chad Bomford said he was at the beach stage, Thursday night, and it was pretty busy.

"I haven't been inside yet, but so far the experience has been pretty good," he said. "There was a little bit of moving around to begin with. But it's no different from any other event."

Ben, from Edmonton, said the camping was a little disorganized last night when he got in around 6 p.m., but other than that the show was really fun.

He didn't seem to mind that the event did not have a liquor license.

"It's fine. We can drink at our campsite and then go hear the concert," he said. "I think it will be better this way. I used to go to the Boonstock in Alberta, and the mess that was left behind was always disgusting."

Jasmin from Slave Lake, Alberta, said she was having a good time, but wished there was more staff around to give directions. 

"I wonder if because they are not selling alcohol, they are cutting costs by not having much staff available," she said.

The Liquor Control Board denied Boonstock's liquor license application last Friday. It has also been a tumultuous week due to sponsorship loss, and some concerns expressed by the Penticton Indian Band, which were resolved.

The festival is being held on Penticton Indian Band locatee land until Aug. 3. Organizers have been providing updates on their Facebook page.

Castanet will provide updates as the festival unfolds.


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