PENTICTON, BC – Boonstock has come and gone, but reaction to the music festival is just starting.
“I thought it was amazing,” says festival-goer Milla Downing. “I definitely think there should be one next year.”
But Boonstock has not won over Penticton Councillor Katie Robinson.
She’s the liaison to the city’s protective services committee and has expressed security concerns from the very beginning.
“I thought it was a disaster looking for somewhere to happen and that’s what happened,” says Robinson.
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A 24-year-old woman from Alberta died of a suspected drug overdose early Saturday morning.
Two others remain in critical care for apparent drug overdoses.
Interior Health Authority reports there were 80 emergency room visits from Boonstockers over the three-day event – most of them drug and alcohol-related.
Robinson believes the security was almost non-existent, and as a result, about 20 more RCMP officers had to be called in to police the festival grounds.
“If it hadn’t been the RCMP and emergency personnel stepping up and taking over the security, I think we would’ve seen more deaths,” she says.
The locatee, whose family owns some of the land the festival ground is on, believes the festival went very well and there were many happy customers.
But he admits that growing pains are expected for Boonstock’s Okanagan debut.
“The second year gets better and the third year gets better than the second year,” says Pierre Kruger.
In the coming days, the local Chamber of Commerce and Boonstock organizers will have more information on the economic impact of the three-day event.