In defence of a good party: Diner en Blanc in Vancouver
Since arriving in Vancouver four years ago and exploding in popularity faster than our city’s burgeoning marijuana industry, Dîner en Blanc has become the must-hate event of the summer.
Everybody seems to have his or her own reason for trash-talking this picnic. But most seem to boil down to some variation of one simple grievance: they don’t get to go.
The 2014 wait list for Dîner en Blanc invitations was more than 30,000 names long. This year, organizers aren’t saying if that number has grown. Regardless, there are a whole lot of people in Vancouver who will end up disappointed as they miss out on the outdoor gala scheduled for August 25.
But why all the hate? A bunch of good-looking people meeting up for a meal is probably hurting you less than that grasshole next door whose lawn is looking green while Vancouver sweats through Stage 3 water restrictions.
On that note, here’s a few reasons not to hate on Dîner en Blanc.
First, it’s not a cash grab. At $37 per person plus an $8 membership (up from $35 in 2014—gasp), a night out with the Dîner crowd is cheaper than a quarter-ounce of “medicinal” Purple Kush. Considering this ticket comes with a view, you can’t really call it a gouge—even if you do have to bring your own food or pay extra for a catered meal.
Dîner en Blanc is exclusive, but not by design. Talk with organizers about the wait list and they go on endlessly about measures they’re taking to squeeze in as many people as they can. Yes, it’s tough to get on the list for Dîner. And, yes, it can seem a bit unfair when it feels like everybody you know who is going seems to know someone who knows someone in the know.
But trouble getting tickets is pretty much a straightforward case of supply and demand. Since it first arrived in Vancouver in 2012, this event has expanded from roughly 2,000 seats to 3,200 last year to 4,500 in 2015. And organizers say the event will continue to grow, slowly. That’s progress, but people are always going to be left out. There aren’t a whole lot of locations in Vancouver where you can reserve a table for 30,000.
And even if you don’t get a seat this year, you can still enjoy brilliant photographs, which are a sure thing. For one night, you can safely surf Facebook and Instagram without tormenting yourself over your best friend’s baby pictures and questions of what you’re doing with your thirties. Enjoy social media again. A big chunk of the Dîner crowd does a pretty terrific job dressing up for the evening. And with water in every direction and the mountains behind us, Vancouver isn’t so bad-looking either. If you can’t go, you can still enjoy the view through your iPhone.
Or go out and find something else to do. There’s no shortage of activities in Vancouver on a warm August night. For example, the superhero blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron is playing for free at Second Beach in Stanley Park that night.
Finally, there is nothing proprietary about Dîner besides the name. If you want to have a picnic somewhere, go find a park. Vancouver’s got plenty of them. And if you want to wear white while you’re sipping vino out of a red Solo cup, nobody is going to stop you. Call it Dîner en Whatever Colour You Want, and bon appétit.
Jul 22, 2015 at 2:30pm
Why anyone would pay to attend an exclusive picnic where they have to outlay cash to purchase the white table, chairs, cutlery, dishes, food, decor, outfits etc. is beyond me! It's a money grab no matter how you dress it up with the supply/demand story. if you have money to throw away, why not donate the money to charity instead where it can improve people's lives!
Jul 22, 2015 at 2:58pm
It's not a cash grab because it costs less to attend a picnic where you bring all the food, tables, and decor yourself than it does to buy a quarter ounce of high-test medical weed?
People love hating on this party because the people who go are assholes. They are glib, humourless yuppies incapable of having fun without paying a bunch of money and getting their photo taken. They blow up our social media with their aspirational luxury items, yappy dogs and $40 artisanal beard oil. Making fun of them is one of the few remaining pleasures in our expensive, puritanical city.
Jul 22, 2015 at 3:02pm
The claim that it intends not to be exclusive is absolutely pathetic. If you didn't want to be exclusive you would add some element of chance like a ticket raffle. I think the larger issue is that this event doesn't support any cause whatsoever. It's quite clear that this is just a narcissism thing and that's fine, but don't try to claim it's not.
Jul 22, 2015 at 3:38pm
@Franz - you nailed it.
Attendees are the glib yaletown crowd- you know, the over-spending (and secretly in debt) narcissists that the rest of the city/country love to hate. They attend just to be seen, and so that they can fill their social media accounts with photos of wine glasses and sparklers. Newsflash, wearing a white suit makes you look like a wanker - it doesnt make you cultured and sophisticated. chin chin!
Not missing much
Jul 22, 2015 at 4:20pm
Went a few years ago and figured the amount we spent for the whole thing could of paid for a full tasting menu for two at Hawksworth. It's a real headache for first timers because you will literally be running around metro Vancouver trying to find white linens, white clothing pieces, white chairs, and the perfect sized foldable table that isn't sold-out everywhere. The vibe is meek and pretentious. The only perk is being able to legally drink wine outside on a park and watch a couple of thousand people get together so well. Having said that I the the exclusivity of invites probably helps keep people on their best behaviour and prevents large groups of the on known from coming in and ruining the event. We all know how tight the city gets when alcohol is involved.
Jul 22, 2015 at 4:37pm
The whole concept is exceptionally elitist and exclusionary. I live in Yaletown and quite mysteriously, David Lam park was seconded for this farcical event last year. A public park, taken over -- why? And also all the rules -- tables a certain size, this that and everything else. Why? Only to be an exceptionally expensive, elitist and exclusionary event. Nothing about it sounds appealing. Beautiful people shouldn't need self or public gratification by going to such great lengths and following someone else's pre-defined rules.
Jul 22, 2015 at 5:16pm
About that wait list: how many people we're freed from such trivialities and got their tickets from their status as friends of the organizers.
Call fair fair, shall we? Tickets at the 'door', table in tow.
Did anyone else think that this would be a great day for a nice KoolAid waterfight, say, nearby?
selfie stick anyone?
Jul 22, 2015 at 5:46pm
just another silly event for the narcissists, selfie taking, social media obsessed to post endless photos of themselves so anyone can think they are important and ohhhhhhhh so special. lol
These so called self fulfilled events are so tacky. Since when does the upper class ever project themselves in such a light. seriously?
Nowadays people are so self absorbed -when will this silliness ever end?
Jul 22, 2015 at 6:00pm
Awesome! With so many people not into this event, the wait list is bound to go down, and my odds are better!! Keep on hating, haters, and spread the word ;)
Jul 22, 2015 at 6:28pm
it rains that day.