Jazz on the Mountain gets liquor sale approval from council 

Special Occasion License endorsed for jazz festival on Labour Day weekend

Tip your glasses and drink up - alcohol may soon be served at Whistler Olympic Plaza during its first ticketed event.

Council unanimously endorsed the Special Occasion License submitted by Arnold Schwisberg, founder and producer of Jazz on the Mountain at Whistler, to allow "stadium style" liquor sales during the three-day festival.

Once approved by the provincial liquor board, alcoholic beverages will be served within the gated venue during ticketed events.

Schwisberg, a practicing liquor lawyer based in Toronto, said there would be a "healthy" police and security presence on hand during service hours. An alcohol-free zone will also be available for families - in effect creating a reverse beer garden at Olympic Plaza.

"The food and beverage offerings are going to be a big part of the Jazz on the Mountain experience," Schwisberg said, adding that all net proceeds from liquor sales will be used to pay for festival programming.

In its report to council, staff recommended the endorsement based on "the controlled environment, location and family friendly atmosphere of the venue," as well as the "expected spectator demographics," 65 per cent of whom are expected to be between 37 and 62 years old.

Councillors lauded the upcoming festival, set to run Sept. 2 to 4, with Ralph Forsyth saying it's "just the kind of thing that we want to be doing."

He added, "You're taking a chance on our town and I have a feeling that it's going to work out."

The festival will be Olympic Plaza's first ticketed event and by Schwisberg's estimates, will attract about 3,000 visitors per day.

"Our audience is serious. Our audience is committed to this music and will travel for great festival experiences like the one that we plan to deliver in Whistler," Schwisberg said.

The festival will feature over 30 shows with 80 musicians in a combination of free and ticketed events in venues throughout Whistler Village. Performers will include artist-in-residence Kevin Eubanks, formerly of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Oliver Jones and Whistler singer Ali Milner.

Milner's father, Councillor Ted Milner, praised the quality of the line-up, saying, "I think the festival is a great initiative and I'm extremely impressed with the quality of musicians you're bring to the festival."

Ticket and hotel packages for the festival will be available starting Aug. 1 through whistler.com.







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