BC Music Fests 2014: B.C. government to end beer gardens at music festivals

From the Georgia Straight, by STEPHEN HUI on JAN 31, 2014

Those pesky fences will soon be coming down at beer gardens at music festivals in B.C.

Actually, the beer garden is going away all together at festivals and entertainment events, the B.C. government announced today (January 31).

“Once legislative changes are made, festival goers will be able to roam the grounds with a pint, rather than being restricted to a cordoned-off beer garden. This will help decrease costs for festival organizers and allow parents with kids to enjoy a beer and remain with their family, as they might at a hockey game. In addition, mixed spirit drinks – rather than only beer, wine, cider and cooler products – will also be permitted at events like music festivals and regattas, with continued restriction of sales to minors,” a Ministry of Justice news release states.

Bob D’Eith, executive director of Music BC, likes the idea.

“Opening up music festivals to whole-site licensing over the ‘beer garden’ model is a very positive move,” D’Eith said in the province’s release. “This will allow families to stay together at events, reduce costs for festival organizers and make the festival experience that much better for all fans of live music. We are optimistic that this and other positive changes announced today will help to keep B.C. venues and festivals going strong for years to come.”

The government also plans to allow spirit-based liquor sales in the stands at stadiums and arenas. This is currently only permitted in private boxes or premium seats.

As well, it will be easier to get liquored up at hotels. The government plans to permit visitors to carry alcoholic drinks from the hotel bar to their room.

“The B.C. government will also extend the hours that patrons can receive liquor through room service, enabling further growth opportunities for the industry and enhancing guests’ experiences,” the release states.

The government says it supports all 73 recommendations in the final report of its liquor policy review.

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