BUTTE – The Montana Folk Festival not only brings music to Butte, but money to local businesses.
“I like to say it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Butte since I’ve been here,” said Silver Dollar Saloon owner Brian McGregor.
Bar owners and those in the hospitality business say they get a major economic boost from the three-day music festival, which begins this week.
“Feedback from what we get from people about what they spend, we ask people ‘How much money do you spend? What do you do?’ We estimated it’s about $8 million in the local area in Butte,” said folk festival organizer George Everett.
Owners of the Finlen Hotel, which will house many of the performers at the festival, say the festival means more jobs.
“And I’ve hired three people in the last two weeks, so it’s a big deal for Butte and we’re growing, more people are staying here. It’s hard to draw a direct correlation, but we think the continued success of the folk festival really has a lot to do with it,” said JJ Adams, co-owner of the Finlen Hotel.
Some business owners report losing customers during the Folk Festival, but organizers say the influx of income to the community is still good for everyone in the long run.
“It’s the ripple, we look at the ripple effect – the people who do well then turn around and buy furniture, they buy cars, they do other things and have a little more disposable income,” said Everett.
It pays to have a free festival. The festival begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. for opening ceremonies at the Original Mine Yard.