The gory return of Heavy Hitting HorrorFest after a one-year hiatus has been cut slightly short, after the host Fairmont Chateau Whistler was told that the amateur horror film showcase couldn't stay open until 2 a.m. as planned.
According to festival director Feet Banks, the Fairmont staff tried to extend their liquor licence but were denied. As a result, liquor service will end at midnight (Oct. 30) and the room must be cleared by 12:30 a.m.
Banks said the show will go on. "It's disappointing and frustrating, but it's not the end of the world," he said.
All 1,100 ticket holders to the event will be refunded $10 — the partial cost of hosting the after party — and organizers are hoping some patrons will put that money in a pool to increase the top prize or to one of the event's charities.
Banks said all of the planned events would still happen, even with the party being cut by more than an hour. "In the past, HorrorFest ended at 11 p.m., and this year we're going to 12 a.m. so it's still later than past years. We'll still have the Horror Burlesque show, there will still be a DJ playing when the films are over, and everything will happen as planned," he said.
He added that guests should come early this year when doors open at 6 p.m. to get a full night out of it. And after 12:30 a.m. rolls around?
"There's 1,100 people in that room, and there's not a bar in town that can hold even half of that," said Banks. "I imagine people will still go to the village and hopefully every bar gets a little more business that night."
According to the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s liquor licence does not permit liquor service after midnight without a special permit. They did meet with the Fairmont to discuss the issue, but in the end the Fairmont decided to stick to the midnight closing.
For more on the sold-out festival, visit www.heavyhitting.com. There's also a Facebook Page.