Vancouver Craft Beer Week Festival Criticized for Long Line-Ups, High Cost and Other Issues

VANCOUVER, BC – The organizers of Vancouver Craft Beer Week are under fire for the long lines and other issues that plagued the VCBW Craft Beer & Music Festival held this past weekend (July 9th & 10th) at the PNE Fairgrounds.

As reported on social media, Reddit, and numerous news outlets, attendees had to wait up to two hours to be admitted to the festival, and faced long line-ups for beer and food once they made it inside.

Issues were also reported with the RFID wristband system that was used to purchase beer and food, with some attendees complaining of multiple charges being made against credit cards that they had linked for payments, and breweries noting problems with the cell phone and wi-fi system that was in place to process the payments.

Other complaints included a lack of free or affordable water, and overall high costs for both attendees and participating breweries, including a fee of $10 that breweries were charged for each bag of ice they used.

In a statement released on Sunday, VCBW organizers blamed “unprecedented and unfortunate staffing shortages” and “challenges with the new RFID wristband system” for the issues, and reiterated those points in a more detailed statement that followed on Monday. The latter statement noted that they will “discuss how we can make things right with those who were unhappy with their experience this weekend and how we can make significant changes to our event to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.”

Vancouver Craft Beer Week was founded in 2010 and ran under the original organizing team until 2019, with the annual closing weekend festival – held at the PNE since 2015 – becoming a key event in British Columbia’s craft beer calendar each year.

During the COVID-forced hiatus that followed the 10th annual event, VCBW was sold to FEASTER, a company founded by Adam Bloch and Dax Droski that also oversees a number of other food and drink events including Hopscotch, Punch Bowl, and Harvest Haus.

While VCBW in past years were week-long affairs, this year’s return featured only the weekend festival. In an interview with What’s Brewing last month, Bloch explained that “because of how big of an endeavour we are taking on with VCBW, we made the decision to hold off on Satellite Events and focus all our energy into making sure the large weekend is at 110%.”

Somewhat prophetically, the interviewer also asked if Bloch was concerned about potential bugs with the RFID wristband payment system, to which he replied: “Ask me the same question after VCBW and I will have an answer for you, LOL!”

For more details on this story, see the following links:

CBC NewsVancouver Craft Beer Week leaves some suds lovers hopping mad

Vancouver is AwesomeVancouver craft beer event organizers apologize after guests report disastrous experiences

CTV NewsVancouver Craft Beer Week blames long lines on ‘unprecedented and unfortunate’ staff shortage

Global NewsVancouver beer and music festival blames staff shortage and faulty wrist band tech for lineups

Daily HiveVancouver craft beer festival organizers apologize for waits

Photo: @raonilsantos on Instagram

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