Huck Finn Jubilee in Peril

Huck Finn JubileeThe venerable Huck Finn Jubilee in Southern California may not get to celebrate its 41st anniversary next year. The Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau, which took over management of the bluegrass festival in 2014, announced Friday that it was pulling its backing.

Visitors Bureau CEO Michael K. Krouse said the decision was made because the festival was “not meeting the requirements of the (bureau’s) core mission for funding and goals to create a significant economic impact to our region.” In other words, the Jubilee wasn’t making enough money.

The statement pointed out that while attendance grew year over year, “the rate of growth was not substantial enough to meet our goals and financially justify continuing the festival.”

Business decisions are nothing new, of course, but the reasons cited by the backers will no doubt ruffle some feathers. “We believe the primary challenges are a direct correlation to a decline in the growth, expansion and the evolution of bluegrass music in the Southern California market…We will consider new festivals in the future that would have the potential to draw a larger audience from across the nation.”

Despite the unexpected news, there is a glimmer of hope. The Visitors Bureau expressed hope that the Jubilee can continue under new management.

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.