BUTTE - The bands are long gone and all the tents have been torn down from last weekend’s Montana Folk Festival here in Butte and organizers say they are still jacked.
“I feel tired,” said event organizer George Everett.
Okay, maybe they’re not that jacked, but they are very happy about what they’re calling a record-breaking turnout for this three-day music festival.
“Everyone who has been involved in the setup, teardown and the actual operation is exhausted but just ecstatic over the success of this year’s Montana Folk Festival,” said Everett.
Onsite donations from visitors at the event so far have been tallied at about $140,000, which is about $7,000 more than the last festival in 2019. The festival was canceled due to the pandemic over the last two years and organizers believe they outdid the 165,000 attendance in 2019.
“We had a great crowd, we just didn’t know how we were going to top that and the pandemic just kind of stopped us in our tracks there, but it looks like we picked up and we’re going to be back on track,” said Everett.
They’ve learned from mistakes too. The next festival will not be held so close to the Fourth of July and they want to improve access for those with disabilities.
“We still got to work on the system to try to help people who want to come on to the site in a wheelchair or other mobility issues that they have to make it easier for them to get around,” he said.
The festival was first brought to Butte as the National Folk Festival in 2008, after three successful years, the responsibility of running the festival was turned over to Butte and became the Montana Folk Festival in 2011. It brings between $8 to $10 million each year to Butte.
“We wanted people to say, ‘we want to be in Butte on this weekend,’ and it’s worked out that since we got people who come from all over who just want to be in Butte for that weekend for this festival,” said Everett.
And the festival will return next summer for the weekend of July 14-16th.