About the Flagstaff Blues and Brew Festival
My mother, Debbi Grogan, used to say, “You don’t listen to the Blues, you feel it.”
Having been born to an Irish storyteller, she learned to play the guitar during the heartfelt ballads of the 70s and always appreciated the songwriting and stories told through the music. And while she attended dozens of concerts over the years, her favorite experiences were always at the Blues festivals.
After attending several of these festivals, and being an event planner herself, as well as a prominent community activist, my mother enlisted my help to explore the possibility of hosting our own festival. After conducting research, reaching out to sponsors, evaluating the logistics and ultimately investment needed to start a festival, we jumped in with both feet and started running!
Our first festival was in 2013 and by the fifth year our efforts started to pay off our 7th year was the first time we had a 2-day SOLD OUT event! It was also the first year I had to host the event by myself having lost my mother to Cancer in December of 2018.
We all know what happened in 2020 and our event was put on hold for two years. During that time I wasn’t sure how we would come back, or even if I wanted to come back. I was struggling with the loss of my mother, who had been my closest confidante, supporter and business partner.
I finally understood what she was saying about feeling the Blues. I felt her. Deep in my soul. And because I am my mother’s daughter, I picked myself up, started making plans, reached out to artists, sponsors, Continental Country Club, and put on a post-Covid Blues festival in ‘22. Thousands showed up in support of the 8th (should have been 10th) annual event.
I couldn’t be more excited about the future and continuing to bring this type of live music festival experience to the people of Arizona and beyond. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to those who have helped us succeed over the years. Without your support, none of this would be possible.
Most importantly, THANK YOU for supporting our community! Because the community was so very important to my mother. She made sure that a percentage of our proceeds, from day one, even when we didn’t have the money, would go towards helping public school children have access to music. To date, we’ve given over $80,000 to the public school system and every year we increase our donation amount.
The City of Flagstaff recently honored my mother and her community activism by naming a conference room after her in the Tourism Offices. She helped pave the way for business expansion in Flagstaff, and community programs for the elderly and children, and some say she made Flagstaff a better place because of her dedication and commitment. So next time you’re in downtown Flagstaff, make sure to stop by and say hello to her because I’m pretty sure that’s where she hangs out most of the year when she’s not helping me with her beloved Blues festival!