VCBW Craft Beer and Music Festival to return this summer, with changes

Mar 24 2023, 10:18 pm

The Lower Mainland’s largest craft beer event is officially returning for Summer 2023, but this time around, the event is learning from past mistakes and making some major changes.

Folks may remember that last year’s installment of the VCBW Craft Beer and Music Festival left ticket holders more than a little disappointed after exceedingly long lines – both to enter the event and inside the venue itself – resulted in unreasonable wait times and an overall frustrating experience.

According to those who attended the 2022 event, a lack of available water and problems with the payment system meant that most folks who had paid for the event didn’t get anything close to their money’s worth.


Lines at last year’s event | @aYVRrenter/Twitter

At the time, festival organizers – the recently formed event production company Feaster and first-time organizers for the VCBW – apologized for its errors, blaming the long waits on a lack of staff: “We had 25 people that didn’t show up to work the event and this longer line up was the result of this lack of attendance by the scheduled staff. It created a bottle neck.”

Despite the obvious setbacks from last summer’s event, VCBW is officially returning this summer, with a note from organizers explaining how last year’s fiasco has influenced some major changes to the programming this time around.

“Since July 9th, 2022, we the team behind VCBW have challenged and focused ourselves to make sure none of the mistakes that took place on that day could ever happen again,” the letter reads on the event’s website.

Some of these changes include switching to a one-day-only event (instead of two days), as well as beer samples in the cost of tickets, and offering free water to guests.

The single-day event, which will take place on July 8 at the PNE Fairgrounds, will ensure that “all efforts can be focused on making sure it is the very best it can be,” the website explains.

Organizers have also ditched the use of both RFID (a wireless payment system) and tokens, opting instead to have all beverages offered inside included in the entry ticket – this, they hope, will reduce the amount of time guests will need to spend in line to get a beer.

They’ve also promised to bring in refillable water stations and will allow guests to bring their own water bottles, ensuring that “guests will have access to all the free water they could possibly enjoy.”

Those who are willing to give the festival another go-around this year can expect over 150 craft beers and ciders from participating breweries and cideries from around the world. While this year’s participants have yet to be announced, last year included representation from local favourites such as 33 Acres Brewing, Barnside Brewing Co., Twin City, House of Funk, Beere Brewing Co., and Neighbourhood Brewing and Container Brewing.

Previous years have also featured live music from Canadian performers as well as restaurant pop-ups and food trucks. Details for this year’s event are still being finalized, so stay tuned for more information regarding entertainment and eats.

Pre-sale tickets go live on Tuesday, April 11 at 10 am.

VCBW Craft Beer Week Festival 2023

When: July 8, 2023
Where: PNE/Playland – 2901 E Hastings Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Pre-sale on April 11

With files from Daily Hive staff.

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