Summer festival season is underway and the B.C. Government has introduced new guidelines and safety measures, including new liquor licensing regulations, for public events.
“I think changes to liquor licensing will result in more families coming to our events with the open concept. While we welcome these changes, I think it’s really up to festival organizers and producers to have more duty of care over their guests. We’ll be working with whole-site licensing in Steveston in August and are grateful for any steps that help to improve public safety at this event and all festivals and events in our province,” Vancouver’s Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival general manager Ann Phelps stated in the news release.
Whole-site liquor licensing is one of the regulations that will bring some changes to the festival grounds this summer. This regulation will allow people to move throughout the festival grounds unrestricted with alcoholic beverages. This allows families to attend the entire festival together and is hoped to prevent binge drinking. With adequate safety measures in place close to 95 per cent of festival events qualify for whole-site liquor licensing at the provincial government.
“Our planning resources for organizers and the liquor changes we’ve made, such as bringing down beer garden fences so families can enjoy festival grounds together, are benefiting communities, attracting tourists, promoting arts and culture, and helping to grow B.C.’s economy. Keeping tourists and British Columbians safe at festivals is a priority for our government. We have learned from challenges experienced at previous events and are taking steps to achieve safer events where the focus is on a memorable and fun experience,” stated Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton in a news release.
The Ministry of Health, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and UBC Mass Gathering Medicine Interest Group are in collaboration in the initiative to prevent alcohol and other drug-related harms at music festivals.