Roots & Blues canceled, resources will be focused on Ogden Music Festival

Wednesday , August 23, 2017 - 3:03 PM

JANAE FRANCIS, Standard-Examiner Staff

LIBERTY — Four-year fans of the Ogden Valley Roots & Blues Festival will be disappointed this weekend as the previously annual event is not happening.

Organizers with Ogden Friends of Acoustic Music have decided to focus their efforts toward their more popular Ogden Music Festival next spring and drop their fall event.

“We’re sad about missing it but also excited to put all of our energy into the Ogden Music Festival and also our snOwFOAM event in February,” said Reba Nissen, co-director of Ogden Friends of Acoustic Music.

North Fork Park in Liberty was home to the Ogden Valley Roots & Blues Festival the last weekend in August.

“At North Fork, we couldn’t quite fill our mission,” said Michelle Tanner, executive director and founder of Ogden Friends of Acoustic Music. “We never really reached our youth.”

Those 16 and under get in free to all Ogden Friends of Acoustic Music events. The festivals are organized around the mission of bringing live music to Ogden and encouraging youth to play instruments, Tanner said.

“We want to work more closely with Ogden kids,” she said. “Kids who are involved in music do better in all walks of life.”

North Fork park was too far away for many Ogden youth to travel, Tanner said.

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Other reasons for the decision not to hold the festival were over-worked volunteers and limited ticket sales.

“We never got it to take hold in terms of attendance,” said Reba Nissen, co-director of Ogden Friends of Acoustic Music.

“It’s sad because it was a lot of fun, also a lot of work,” she said. “We exhausted ourselves.”

An all-volunteer group with full-time jobs elsewhere manning the non-profit, Nissen said those involved put forward much effort into the Ogden Music Festival. She said they no longer believed they had the energy to also continue with the Roots & Blues Festival.

“Even though we have help on our committee, the bulk of work would come back to Reba and I,” Tanner said, noting how the women spent their summers organizing the two festivals.

“After four fabulous years of having two festivals, it was just too much,” Tanner said.

The purpose of the Roots & Blues Festival was to bring in groups fans could enjoy that didn’t fit into the Ogden Music Festival, Nissen said. 

“We had an excellent run and the music we brought to Ogden Valley was incredible,” Tanner said. “We had such good memories but we just can’t keep up.”

Next year’s Ogden Music Festival is planned for June 1-3, 2018, at Fort Buenaventura. Organizers hope area music fans will mark those dates on their calendars.

Also coming up Feb. 2 is the snOwFOAM at Peery's Egyptian Theatre in Ogden featuring The HillBenders, defined as an Americana group that exists somewhere in the boundaries between rock, bluegrass and country music.

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook at 

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