BUTTE — With the Montana Folk Festival expected to bring tens of thousands of people to Butte, the sound of cash registers ringing up will be music to the ears of many businesses.
“Two years ago, you made me cry and you’re not going to be able to do that this year. It’s coming back,” said festival organizer George Everett.
The free, three-day music festival had been going strong in Butte since 2008 before it was sidelined by COVID-19.
“We haven’t had it for a few years and now that it’s back, we’re starting to see an influx of people already starting to come into Butte,” said Dave Andrews, the manager at Metals Sports Bar and Grill.
Pita Pit and Taco Del Sol owner Carrie Fisher said, “It’s been amazing, the energy Uptown just feels vibrant.”
Many local business owners say they rely on the festival and summer tourism season to keep them in the black.
“It’s something that we come to count on as we hire local employees, we hire extra people during this time period as well,” said Miner’s Hotel Co-owner Thomas Klemp.
The economic impact of the Folk Festival is significant.
The event brings about 150,000 people to Butte.
And between $8 to $10 million to the local economy and somewhere between $25 to $30 million to the state economy.
“Hopefully their pockets are full of money, and they feel grateful there’s no admission and they go spend it in local businesses,” said Everett.
The past two years without the festival were challenging times for Butte businesses.
“It was pretty heartbreaking in the beginning. It was like a ghost town up here and that was pretty scary. I think in the end, those of us who were able to stick it out actually became better business people because of it,” said Fisher.
And business should be good during the festival, which begins Friday and runs until Sunday.