Chilifest quickly amends changes to alcohol policy

Cans litter the Chilifest grounds in 2018.  Teams registering for the music festival on Friday morning received documents stating the organization wanted to restrict participants from bringing in their own alcoholic drinks. By Friday afternoon, though, the policy had been amended to give participants the option to bring their own alcohol or purchase it through a presale to be delivered onsite. 

After word spread that those registering teams for the Chilifest music festival on Friday morning received documents stating the organization wanted to restrict participants from bringing in their own alcoholic drinks, a social media backlash ensued.

By Friday afternoon, Chilifest President Hunter Koch said the policy has been amended to give participants the option to bring their own alcohol or purchase it through a presale to be delivered onsite.

“...The BYOB aspect of the event will be limited to Friday,” according to the statement posted by Chilifest on Twitter. “Saturday will not permit BYOB, which are the same rules from past years. One rule that is different from last year,[sic] is that bagged drinks will not be permitted. This comes from our first responder team, due to the safety of our patrons.”

According to documents given to those registering teams for the April event on Friday morning, the organization wanted to implement a bulk beverage presale with Chilifest- and TABC-approved vendors, which were not named Friday.

Proceeds from the alcohol pre-sales will be included in the organization’s annual donation to nonprofit groups around the Brazos Valley.

“To me this is a huge shift in policy,” Charles Nelson, a former student at Texas A&M who has coordinated a Chilifest team since 2014, said of the initial decision to remove the ability to bring outside beverages. Nelson said that they were not made aware of the policy change until after they had purchased their tickets, which are non-refundable according to the Chilifest website, learning of it through an insert included in their registration information.

The due date for beverage orders was not immediately clear on Friday.

Koch said the change was made with convenience and the safety for participants in mind. The benefit of the presale, Chilifest said in their statement, is having competitively priced beverages delivered to the grounds and taking part in an initiative aimed at raising additional funds to be donated to more than 30 charities around the Brazos Valley.

This year’s team rules say a link to an online order form will be shared with team captains, and physical order forms will be available Feb. 26 and March 1, when registered teams can add members.

Koch said teams this year will have the opportunity to begin construction on their assigned camping plots on April 3, the Wednesday before the festival. Previously, access to the camping plots began on the Thursday before.

Alcohol will be available for pick-up on April 4; the festival runs from April 5-6.

“We’ll be able to bring in the beer we get subsidized or donated from elsewhere while still enjoying the benefit of purchasing on site for convenience and joy knowing that our purchase at competitive retail prices will help raise additional funds for the many charities that benefit from Chilifest,” Nelson said.

Also this year, Chilifest will extend the Park N’ Ride bus service to April 5 from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. The buses will drop off at Post Oak Mall. The bus service is also offered from 10:30 a.m. to midnight on April 6. Mobile charging lockers will also be available, with presale rates for a two-day rental for $35 or one day for $20. The lockers will include a universal phone charger and space for purses or backpacks. More information on how to rent a locker will be announced soon, the Chilifest website states.

The two-day festival in Snook will feature several performers, including Koe Wetzel and Pat Green on April 5 and the Randy Rogers Band and headliner Cody Jinks on April 6.

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