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The 11th edition of the flagship festival will look very different.
Over the last 10 years, Vancouver Craft Beer Week has been able to establish its send-off weekend festival as one of the biggest such events in the country.
But for the 11th edition, it appears as though the festival will be going through some rather large changes.
The biggest of those is the venue change, as the festival (which will run June 5-7) will be moving from its long-time home at the PNE to the decidedly hip Concord Community Park in Olympic Village.
There are also some changes to the pricing. Early-bird tickets become available on December 1, and will go (until supplies last) to the end of that month. But instead of purchasing full weekend passes for Saturday and Sunday like in past years, attendees must buy tickets for select four-hour windows.
So are the changes a good or bad thing for the paying customers? We run through the pros and cons.
The location change
This is obviously going to depend on where you reside, but Olympic Village is much more central than the PNE if you want to take your craft beer-fuelled self elsewhere.
It’s also not an absolute nightmare to get transit from (not to mention a cab, though maybe ride-sharing changes that) after an event.
This is an obvious plus, as the ticket price includes all the beer you can drink. So there won’t be any more careful strategizing about which booths give you the best bang for your toonie (the price per token).
One does wonder, however, how the festival will measure which booths are attracting the most attention (one of the main reasons behind the token system of yesteryear).
No weekend or full day passes
This is likely going to be divisive. Gone are the weekend passes (early bird $55, full price $65 for both Saturday and Sunday, and daily passes (early bird $35, full price $39) for the festival, which ran for five hours per day.
This year, participants will have their choice of four-hour sections (6-10 p.m. on Friday, 12-4 p.m. or 6-10 p.m. on Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.
Each section runs at a $59 early bird price and a $69 regular price.
That’s a bit tough, and given some of the lines that have been present at the festival, it might be hard to get your money’s worth in that four-hour period.
At first blush, it’s nice that the festival has done away with the ridiculous token system. But separating the festival into four different sections (and charging more than a weekend pass) seems like a bit of a stretch, even if it does account for all the beer you can drink.
Early bird tickets will be available here starting Sunday, and we recommended grabbing them if you have any intention of going to the festival. The full price of $69 for four hours—much of which you’ll be waiting in line for—seems excessive.