Butte folk festival a success, planning underway for 2018


Anna Paige

This shot of a performance at the Dance Pavilion was taken during the Montana Folk Festival in 2014.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the people behind the Montana Folk Festival in Butte declared that the 2017 festival, which concluded on Sunday was a “tremendous artistic and economic success.”

This will come as good news to all the thousands of devoted fans of the peerless festival, which has been going for 10 years now—three years as the National Folk Festival, produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts, and the past seven as the Montana Folk Festival, produced by Mainstreet Uptown Butte.

“The festival was a success on every metric we use to evaluate it,” festival director George Everett said in the press release. “This was the best and most beautiful Montana Folk Festival we have produced in a decade.”

Everett gave much of the credit to more than 850 festival volunteers, with whose help they were able to “properly greet and entertain thousands of guests this past weekend, including friends and family from throughout the world.”

“The festival was not without its complications,” the release continued. “On Saturday the heat was intense, hot enough to make the asphalt melt on some streets.  Unlike, last year, however, rain was not an issue with only a slight delay on one stage in the afternoon on Sunday.”

All indications—including bus ridership on site, the tonnage of garbage taken off the site and measured at the landfill, the amount of ice used, food sales and parking patterns —pointed to a successful 2017 festival. The release said the festival “exceeded expectations of 150,000 attendees over the three days of the event.”

Contributions from festival-goers, collected by bucket-wielding volunteers, were still being tallied but had already come to a record $107,000 thus far.

Mainstreet Uptown Butte is a tax-exempt nonprofit, which would gladly accept any post-festival contributions. Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to Mainstreet Uptown Butte, P.O. Box 696, Butte, MT  59703. You can also donate at www.gofundme.com/mff17.

Meanwhile, for anyone who missed it, images and videos of the festival are coming in and will be increasingly available over the next few weeks at the festival Facebook page.

Festival planning for 2018 is now underway, with the hope that long-time sponsors will renew their support early in the coming year, including the continued critical support of major partner Butte-Silver Bow County. The festival is always on the second weekend in July, meaning the 2018 Montana Folk Festival is set for July 13-15.

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