Music to their ears: Palisade festival ticket sales jump

A crowd of bluegrass fans congregates on the the grass at Riverbend Park to listen to Drunken Hearts on the first evening of the Palisade Bluegrass and Roots Festival Friday.

Apparently, the word is out.

Pre-ordered tickets for Palisade’s Bluegrass and Roots Music Festival this weekend are up 60 percent over last year.

Town organizers credit several factors with what looks to be its most successful annual event during its five-year history.

For starters, town trustees dedicated $30,000 more this year, for a total of $130,000 budgeted to put on the three-day festival, said Becky Levy, community development director. The money went toward creating a better stage and attracting more well-known acts. Also, town trustees gave their approval for the spending back in August, well before the budget was adopted in December. That gave organizers a leg up on attracting a number of talented musicians before their calendars filled, Levy said.

“I think the board of trustees making that decision made it possible to book those acts,” she said.

In addition, Levy said, organizers cast a wider than usual net for advertising the event. They took advantage of about $1,500 in a grant from Grand Junction’s Visitor and Convention Bureau to advertise on radio stations on the Front Range and the Salt Lake City area. The resulting ticket sales are split evenly between folks who live in the Grand Valley and those who live elsewhere.

“I think word of mouth is also important,” Levy said. “Last year it seemed like it went well.”

Positive press in the Aspen Times newspaper in a story that raved about mostly shaded festival grounds near the Colorado River was a helpful boost, Levy said.

In addition, a number of local vendors donated in-kind services to keep costs down. Without that, festival costs versus profits probably wouldn’t reach the break-even point, as is expected this year, Levy said.

“I can just go on and on about how much support we were given,” she said.

The festival continues through the weekend, with music beginning at 11 a.m. both today and Sunday. See for details and ticket prices.


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