“We wanted to offer festival goers a chance to buy a beer and a snack, take that onto a blanket with their family and listen to jazz,” said Mr. Schwisberg. “But on Friday, the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch [LCLB] told us it was a beer garden or nothing.”
Accusing B.C. of having the most archaic liquor laws in Canada, Mr. Schwisberg said Sunday he decided to withdraw all liquor licence applications for the festival, rather than accept such confined access to alcohol.
“Only in B.C. are jazz festivals subject to this kind of restriction. So the event will go ahead, but our main, ticketed venues will be alcohol free.”
Full story over at the Globe and Mail. Let me say that I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Arnold Schwisberg of the Jazz on the Mountain Festival in Whistler, B.C., simply because this is how it works in a lot of places in Canada. The “archaic” liquor laws he’s talking about? The “dark ages” he thinks British Columbia are in when it comes to liquor laws? From what’s described in the article, they don’t seem that different from what you’ll find at a festival like, say, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, which has been running forever.
Literally, forever. I think it was a seventh day of creation thing. He — that’s the capital He, just so you know — had the day off, but he wound up looking for a make-work project around the ol’ place, so he set up the festival. “But God,” asked all the beasts, “we’re down with the scheduled Joan Baez in approximately 1,900 years” — we’re going with a strict Creationist understanding, see — “but what about alcohol and stuff?”
God thought about for about half-a-second. “Well, eventually, I will leave this up to provincial governments, but I don’t think having a beer garden, where people can drink while minimizing the chance of them passing that alcohol onto minors, is a crazy thing. Let’s get that started here.”
(Admittedly, the WFF didn’t really get started until musical instruments and the like were created but it’s always been good times, nonetheless.)
This isn’t unreasonable! Especially when part of your festival is made up of free day events. And that this festival organizer was shocked by the outcome so close to when Jazz on the Mountain was supposed to be taking place makes it seem like he didn’t do the research.
The real solution for Mr. Schwisberg: people bring their own flavoured vodka in water bottles. That’s how a member of my family or two will do it when going to a public pool. There. Problem solved.