Fest Seeks Online Donations

Thanks to a combination of rain and fewer sponsors, the 2016 edition of the Montana Folk Festival experienced a $50,000 shortfall, which sparked an online appeal for voluntary donations to make up the deficit. 

“While it did not dampen anyone’s spirits, (the July 10 storm) did drench the site and forced the shutdown for safety reasons of the Original and Granite Street stages,” festival director George Everett reportedly said in an email to volunteers.

According to the Helena Independent Record, he asked them to donate to a GoFundMe campaign to help offset the shortfall.

“We scrambled to shift performances to the tented venues and extended the hours, but we still lost the onsite revenues we would have realized, especially at the Original [stage],” he said. Everett told the paper the rain cost the fest $25,000 in beverage, food and merch sales at the two main stages. Paired with the loss of an expected National Endowment of the Arts grant, organizers found themselves $50,000 in the red.

The festival received the NEA grant every year since the National Folk Festival morphed into the Montana Folk Festival since 2011. Butte, a mining town of about 34,000, hosts not only the Montana Folk Festival, but Evel Knievel Days and an Irish festival called An Ri Ra.

A 2015 study by the University Of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research polled almost 400 festivalgoers who said they spent more than $53,000 in the area on things like gas, food, hotel stays and alcohol, according to the Independent Record