No more bracelets for drinking at 2019 Cavendish Beach Music Festival

There will be no bracelets showing that people are of legal drinking age at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival this year.

That, and a number of other changes, was announced at a public meeting in Cavendish Tuesday night. In previous years bracelets indicated whether concert-goers could be served alcohol, but that system is being changed.

"There's a tremendous amount of time and effort and resources put into braceleting people as they come through the gate," said Jeff Squires, president of White Cap Entertainment, the group that runs the festival.

"Based upon learnings, what's going on in other festivals, some of our best practices, we see that really the spot to be doing IDing  is down where the service is being provided."

Bring your ID

Concert goers will now have to have their ID on them at all times, and could be asked for it at any time.

Squires doesn't think it will slow down service, as there will be a lot of staff checking for proper ID.

"You'll have your points of service, but through the lines you'll have security, you'll have spotters, you'll have the liquor control inspectors that'll be identifying if people look in that 19 to 30 range, that 30 to 50 range, that 50 to 85 range, and we'll have some lanes set up specifically if you look like you're under 30, that lane there. But have your ID ready." he said 

The change was approved by the liquor control commission and the municipality council for a one year trial which will be reevaluated for the 2020 festival. 

Change is good

One tourism operator from the area who was at the meeting was applauding the change. 

"It makes perfect sense. A little plastic bracelet gives a false sense, I think, of security for those youthful persons between 17 and 21. I'm sure they can be exchanged," said Sandi Lowther, who owns Fairways Cottages 

John Robertson/CBC

"I was young once we did whatever we could to have a really good time. We were all young and foolish," said Lowther.

"Taking away the resources to focus on these little coloured bracelets and putting them to the patrons to say bring your ID ... is actually a smart idea."

First year with pot 

The festival is dealing with the new reality of legal cannabis this year, but Squires said how to deal with it was an easy decision. 

Julien Lecacheur/CBC

"In dealing with the RCMP, in our regulatory bodies it was, you know, we don't allow alcohol in so we don't allow cannabis in," he said.

"If there's a prescription and there's a medical certificate that's different."

Any cannabis brought on site with a prescription will also have to be in the original container.

24/7 police presence 

An RCMP officer was present at the meeting and announced that this year there will be a 24-hour-a-day police presence to help patrol the venue as well as surrounding campsites and to answer any calls quickly.  The representative said given how the festival has grown over the years, it was decided more police are needed. 

There have been no changes to the traffic flow plan for the festival, but this year there are no Thursday or Monday shows, as there have been in some recent years. Squires said that was just based on not having the right opportunity with the right performers.  The off-island pick-up spots for bracelets have also been cancelled. 

Any resident of the Resort Municipality who would like to comment on the changes can do so in writing to the town office until June 14. 

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