Pleasant Hill's annual Blues and Brews Festival will return on July 21 for its third year despite concerns voiced last month by the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District Board that the event is not profitable enough.
The festival, which features performances by five blues bands, a craft fair, and a beer sampling garden, raises funds for the Pleasant Hill Teen Center. During the festival’s first two years, the net proceeds were split between the Recreation and Park District and the Chamber of Commerce with the district’s half going to the teen center.
Last year only $1,990 went to the teen center, causing district board members to raise questions during the April 11 meeting about how the event could be made more profitable and to request that a more detailed budget be presented at last week’s April 25 meeting.
“It was a lot of work for very little profit,” said Dennis Donaghu, chairman of the district board.
“[The board] is trying to encourage [the festival] to make it work so we make more money on the event than we did this last year and the last couple of years,” said Bob Berggren, general manager of the board. “The main emphasis was coming up with sponsorships and other suggestions to make it more profitable because it’s a worthwhile event.”
Katrina Hunn, chairperson of the event, presented this year’s budget at the April 25 meeting, which comes to $35,000, less than last year’s budget of $45,000.
“When this event began all of the finances and the committee came through the Chamber office and last year the Recreation and Park District became the lead agency, so the board felt they wanted more information,” Hunn explained.
The Chamber managed the event in 2010, securing corporate sponsorships and handling the budget, but that changed in 2011 as the Recreation and Park District took the lead.
However, the Chamber is still active in planning the event with members of its board of directors serving on the festival committee, seeking out corporate sponsorships, and connecting local businesses to the event, said Matthew Rinn, president of the Chamber.
Corporate sponsors and ticket sales offset the cost of the festival. As of press time, a corporate sponsor had not yet been secured for this year’s festival.
Nevertheless, the teen center should see more funds from the festival this year as the net proceeds will be divided 90/10 between the Recreation and Park District and the Chamber, meaning 90 percent of the net proceeds will go to the teen center.
Since the Chamber was unable to offer paid staff to help organize the event, it offered a larger percentage of the proceeds to the Recreation and Park District, Rinn said.
Given this shift, Hunn said she is hoping this year’s event will raise $6,000. In total, the teen center needs $170,000 for furnishings and equipment before it opens in the fall of this year.
Once the furnishing needs of the teen center have been met, the hope is that the festival will continue to fund the center’s programs, Hunn said.
This year’s festival, held at the Pleasant Hill Park and Aquatic Park, will feature blues bands Lydia Pense and Cold Blood and Tip of the Top, as well as returning performers Chris Cain and Jinx Jones. In the beer sampling garden, community members 21 years and older can try beers from a wide variety of micro breweries coming from all over California and even a few from out-of-state.
Visit the festival’s website http://bluesandbrewsfestival.com.