The Bearfoot Bistro was forced to close its doors on Whistler’s biggest party of the year, the infamous Masquerave.
The truth of this Cornucopia drama lies somewhere between a liquor board agent and restaurateur Andre St. Jacques, who pushes the boundaries on everything.
It’s been quite a fight.
In one corner, you have liquor board officials saying the parameters for the Masquerave’s event liquor licence last year were clearly laid out and broken.
On the other side, you have a restaurateur who says those broken parameters were not communicated to him and that the agent has a personal vendetta against his party.
But there is also a third party involved, outside of the ring. Tourism Whistler gets to ring the bell to signal the start and end of the match, but Tourism Whistler officials have washed their hands of the Masquerave situation.
Tourism Whistler officials changed Cornucopia’s after party licencing process this year, so instead of restaurants applying through Tourism Whistler for the special event licence, restaurants now must apply directly to the liquor board for the license.
Tourism Whistler refs should help mediate between the two quarrelling opponents, especially when the Bearfoot Bistro after-party was not only the founding after-party of the festival, but also one of the driving forces behind the success, or at the very least international recognition, of the festival.
Party revelers traveled from all corners of the globe for the crazy, sexed-up evening of naughty food, wine and painted ladies. High rollers were happy to pay the $250 price tag for this nightwalker circus, with many returning the following evening for the Bearfoot’s legendary winemaker dinners covering everything from an ode to truffles to 10 decades of Dom Pérignon.
So has the Masquerave received a fair deal?
Some fans say no and are completely withdrawing their support from the festival altogether. Others are looking at other after-parties and wondering if they could even begin to size up. And a select few are seeing whether their party might be the next Masquerave — they’ve got big Champagne glasses to fill.
With the exception of Araxi’s fourth annual Bubbles, Rhythm and the Deep Sea and the Whistler Arts Council’s 12th annual ARTrageous, it’s an all-new lineup of after-parties this year.
After reading an after-party description on the Cornucopia website at whistlercornucopia.com, I was rolling my eyes at the coat tail riding that seemed to be going on. Masks, body painting, promises of being “a little bit risqué”. Sound familiar?