B.C. government to end cordoned-off beer gardens at music festivals

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


Will you miss beer gardens at festivals?

Yes 24%
53 votes
No 71%
160 votes
Maybe 5%
11 votes

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.

Comments (22) Add New Comment
Alex T
At a time when alcohol is easy to get, we're making it even easier, despite the health and social costs. Meanwhile we continue to spend police time & money to lock up people for simple pot possession. The government has its priorities badly screwed up.
Rating: -44
About time!
Rating: +16
From my understanding, by a mistake, the liquor license that covered the Burnaby Roots and Blues festival site did not require a fenced in beer garden and reflected the new change and rules and from my years of experience attending the site I never once saw an incident or problem where you could purchase beer and head back to your piece of grass to enjoy the show. Its about time.
Rating: +7
Nicole Chaplain-Pearman
All restrictive laws do is make life miserable for law abiding people. Good for the B.C. gov't on this one! If people get obnoxious, punish THEM not everybody else. I maintain the idea of "Do whatever as long as you don't bug anybody else." We need to do away with more of this nanny state stuff.
Rating: +18
About time!
Rating: +13
Bruce Dean
...oddly, BC keeps loosening the liquor laws while arresting record numbers of marijuana smokers.
Rating: +5
John K
The BC Govt may be looking for ways to continue their cash cow with the new unconstitutional drinking and driving laws in BC. As they and various private entities and corporations are all profiting very well by the changes put in place a few years ago, at the expense of the taxpayer (once all hidden costs and job losses leading to welfare roles filling up are factored in)
Rating: -25
Alan Layton
I look forward to the time when we can bring in our own booze and just get fucking hammered. There's nothing better than hurling a beer bottle at an act when they don't play the songs I want them to play.
Rating: -17
Canada has finally reached the 21st century in terms of liquor laws!
Rating: -13
Bc enters this century, 114 years late but road blocks on every corner in a ten mile radius for each festival.
Rating: -8
was a little mislead by the title, but this is awesome lol
Rating: -9
Yaaa x2
The road blocks were a joke, as they will be hammering everybody even more now. Cash grab coming,
Rating: -11
Bad idea. Servers will no longer be able to keep an eye on drinkers. Drinkers will be mixing in the crowd. Its going to cause problems, and turn festivals into just another drunken party.
That's one thing.
The other thing is: Why the heck are we as a society making it easier to consume a drug that is proven to do serious harm to people and our society as a whole.
If we're going to loosen the rules on drug consumption, it should be on relatively harmless drugs like cannabis, not on dangerous ones like alcohol.
Rating: -14
cul de sac
but i so enjoyed being penned in like a farm animal.
Rating: -9
cul de sac
to the anti-beer, pro-pot people: its called tolerance. if you want your drug to be tolerated, how about tolerating this drug, which has been used for thousands of years and is an important component in human culture, like it or not.
Rating: -6
"...oddly, BC keeps loosening the liquor laws while arresting record numbers of marijuana smokers."

LMAO. You might want to double check those "facts" as they are likely from the same source that led Trudeau II to proclaim that nearly half-a-million people have been arrested for pot possession since Harpo became PM: reality is closer to 10% of that number. Marijuana is regulated Federally, the only option BC has is to amend the police act and instruct crown prosecutors to ignore simple possession offences. I doubt that there have been many convictions for simple possession, at least in Vancouver, over the last decade. I have smoked pot and had a cop walk past me with marry a glance, the most obstructive asked me to drop down the sewer grate. I see no harassment of pot smokers and have experienced non myself.

I smoke pot but opposed the petition because I find most pot smokers annoying, just like most folks who drink. Most pot smokers have a misguided belief that their particular choice of drug makes them somehow enlightened. Those who view the process as some form of political protest are the worst of the lot, the kind of "socialists" or "anarchists" who's lack of work ethic condemns them to opt for handouts. They are aghast when I oppose legalization, convinced that legalizing pot and cultivating hemp will lead us into utopia.

Ultimately most people can't handle their drug of choice, all too often it becomes an excuse or justification for reprehensible behaviour readily accepted by people similarly weak willed.
Rating: -11
Winter Ale
This means that eventually we'll be able to walk the streets of Vancouver with a beer in hand and not be hassled by the cops. Yeah man, yeah!
Rating: -7
Yo G
"I doubt that there have been many convictions for simple possession, at least in Vancouver, over the last decade."
Actually the Vancouver Sun has a database you can consult and EVEN you will find your statement is the complete opposite of what you wrote.

Now getting on to Trudeau
"You might want to double check those "facts" as they are likely from the same source that led Trudeau II to proclaim that nearly half-a-million people have been arrested for pot possession since Harpo became PM: reality is closer to 10% of that number."

Here's some fun...Sun Media disputing Trudeau's 'facts'
It's stunning to see a guy lose his own argument in print, but Akin manages do to it.

Sure...."IF you add up all the criminal incidents police reported for possession, production, trafficking and distribution of cannabis, you get 479,396. That’s pretty close to 475,000.
BUT again: Trudeau — and all those pundits — had been talking only about “convictions” or “criminal records” for “pot users”. Until today, when Trudeau started talking about 475,000 “arrests”."


So within the context of politics and punditry, the figure seems to have some basis in reality. Unlike some folks and their anecdotes about 'near-misses' and then equating it with 'never happens' and ends up with a person who can't handle his own argument.

Thanks for playing, G

Rating: -12
Yes, normalize drinking even more. It's not costing taxpayers enough.

Alcohol abuse is killing 2.5 million people each year and governments must do more to prevent it, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Some 4 per cent of all deaths worldwide are attributable to alcohol, the U.N. body said. The main causes of alcohol-related deaths are injuries incurred when drunk, cancer, liver cirrhosis, heart disease and strokes.

"It's a killer and it's not good from a public health point of view," Melvin Freeman of South Africa's Ministry of Health and a contributor to the report, told reporters in Geneva.


The top four substances used by Ontario students: 58% alcohol; Cannabis (marijuana) 25%; Non-prescribed use of prescription pain relievers such as codeine, Percocet, Percodan, Demerol, or Tylenol #3, 17%; Tobacco 11.7%.

83% of Ontario students in grade 12 drink alcohol. 49% of gr. 12 students admit to binge drinking.

In a 2008 study, 23% of 14 year-olds and 70% of 17 year-olds in Saskatchewan reported drinking 5 or more drinks within a 2-hour period at least once in the past month.


Alcohol is a risk factor for numerous chronic health conditions and diseases (such as cirrhosis of the liver and some cancers) and injuries (such as from road crashes and violence) as well as disability and death.

The economic impact of alcohol-related harm in Canada is estimated to cost $14.6 billion per year, according to the most recent study, The Costs of Substance Abuse in Canada 2002.


Cost of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in Canada

In a recent Canadian study, the lifetime cost of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders was estimated at $1 million per case. With an estimated 4000 new cases yearly, this translates to $4 billion annually.

Most Canadian teens do use alcohol:
62% of 15-17 year old Canadians used alcohol in the past year.
91% of 18-19 year old Canadians used alcohol in the past year.


Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 25 year olds, and alcohol and/or drugs are a factor in 55% of those crashes.
Rating: -18
Rudy Haugeneder
Booze and dope everywhere. Next thing you know they will legalize speeding, promote begging as a tax-saving replacement for social assistance, advocate shoplifting and burglary as job creation, encourage and license neighborhood strip bars and porn clubs to encourage a commercial version of free love, bug all smart phones to allegedly keep you safe from addicts and crooks, etc.
Rating: -11


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