The 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.