The future of the Bronze, Blues and Brews Festival held annually in Joseph is in jeopardy, according to organizers.
Since 1996, the event has transformed Joseph’s city park into a hip shakin’ good time the second weekend in August. Winner of the Cascade Blues Association “Best Blues Event” award in 2015 and nominated again in 2017, the festival has attracted concert-goers and musicians from across the country.
The all volunteer nonprofit consisting of 6-10 board members and close to 100 annual volunteers is stretched thin. Thousands of hours are required each year to produce the event.
“It’s been great fun and a great honor to work with the musicians who have stood on the stages of Bronze, Blues and Brews throughout the years,” said founder Chuck Garrett.
A number of board members are moving on to other chapters of their lives, leaving the 2018 version at a crossroads. Additionally, expenses are going up and things like tents to rent are getting more difficult to find, noted Garrett.
“At this time, the event is not planned to occur in 2018, though the organization will remain extant in case some group or individual commits to its continuation into the future,” Garrett said.
The loss will impact the county’s tourism revenue.
The event typically attracts 1,500-1,800 people annually, and even conservative estimates value the economic impact at well over $100,000 a year.
In addition, Bronze, Blues and Brews as part of its charitable mission, has donated tens of thousands of dollars back to the community to local school art and music departments, and the city of Joseph.
This year’s donations are slated for the Joseph Library Expansion Project, the Wallowa, Enterprise and Joseph school music and art programs and to maintenance funds for the Joseph park.
In addition to Garrett, the board includes Michael Straw, Dan Davidson, Pete Beaudoin, Don Otten, Stephanie Williams, Pearl Sturm, Richelle Chitwood,
Jeri Davis-Paletta and Kim and Julie Lamb.