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Monday, February 28, 2011

Mixed Views to Liquor Laws

Owen Sound | by Daryl Morris  

Two different festivals have different perspectives to proposed liquor law changes.

Two very different local festivals --- and two different opinions on the proposed changes to Ontario's liquor laws.

The Liberal government is tabling changes to the legislation that would allow festivals to eliminate the need for beer tents, and instead let patrons carry their drinks anywhere within festival grounds.

The government says this will generate more jobs at the events, as they grow and  promote tourism.

Brian Johnson, the owner of Kelsey's and Montana's in Owen Sound, and one of the people behind the successful Big Music Fest, believes these changes would be great.

Johnson says it would allow parents to still enjoy an alcoholic beverage who currently can't bring their children into the licensed tents.

And he says it will create a better atmosphere.

Johnson also believes the current laws encourage binge drinking, because someone in the beer tent has to consume their drink very quickly if they want to get out to see their favourite act play on stage.

On the other hand, Richard Knechtel, the Artistic Director for the long-running Summerfolk festival, doesn't know if these new laws would benefit their event.

He says Summerfolk tries to create a family atmosphere, and he doesn't think it would be right to allow alcohol into the children's area.

Knechtel says he's also unsure if they want to attract that type of crowd.

He does concede that being able to have a glass of wine or beer in the "Cafe of the Senses" might be a good idea.

If these changes go through, Johnson says Big Music Fest will plan for tighter security, and he says that will create more jobs.


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