About the Flagstaff Blues and Brew Festival
My mother, Debbi Grogan, said, “You don’t listen to the Blues; you feel it.“
She was born to an Irish storyteller with a love for music and learned to play the guitar during the heartfelt ballads of the ’70s. She appreciated the storytelling in music and found her true joy at Blues festivals.
Being an event planner and a community activist, my mother and I embarked on an extraordinary journey. We decided to create our very own Blues and Brew Festival. With meticulous research, sponsor outreach, and significant investments in logistics, we brought this festival to life in 2013.
By our seventh year, we celebrated a significant milestone – a sold-out, two-day event. But, it was also the year I had to carry the torch alone after my mother’s passing in 2018.
The year 2020 brought unprecedented challenges and, like the rest of the world, we had to put our festival on hold for two long years. During this time, I grappled with the loss of my mother, my closest confidante and business partner. Her words about “feeling the Blues” finally resonated with me – I felt her deep in my soul. Drawing strength from her memory, as well as the unwavering support of my friends and family, I picked up the pieces and, in 2022, we made a triumphant return after the pandemic, with overwhelming support from our community.
The future looks incredibly promising, and I’m thrilled to continue bringing the magic of live music festivals to Arizona and beyond. I cannot express enough gratitude for the unwavering support we’ve received over the years. You, our community, are the cornerstone of our success. My mother was a firm believer in giving back to the community, and right from the beginning, we’ve been dedicated to ensuring that a portion of our proceeds goes to helping public school children access music education. To date, we’ve donated over $104,000, and every year, that amount keeps growing.
In recognition of my mother’s remarkable contributions, the City of Flagstaff has named a conference room after her in the Tourism Offices. She paved the way for business expansion in Flagstaff, championed community programs for the elderly and children, and is celebrated for making Flagstaff a better place through her dedication and commitment. If you ever find yourself in downtown Flagstaff, be sure to stop by and say hello to her – it’s where she seems to linger, especially when she’s not helping me with her beloved Blues festival!
With heartfelt gratitude,
Debbi Grogan’s profound commitment to education and the wellbeing of children in her community led her to create the Flagstaff Unified School District (FUSD) Foundation. Within this foundation, she championed the belief that every child in school should have access to music, recognizing the enduring impact it could have on their development. Drawing from her personal experience within the school system, she understood that one of the most effective ways to support and empower young minds was by putting financial resources directly into the hands of teachers.
Debbi’s visionary leadership in founding the FUSD Foundation and her unwavering dedication to music education and teachers’ empowerment continues to shape and enrich the lives of students in the Flagstaff area. Her legacy endures through the foundation’s ongoing efforts to ensure that every child can experience the transformative world of music and receive a highquality education.