The Oregon Brewers Festival, after returning for a year, is canceled again for summer 2023
The Oregon Brewers Festival, which returned to Portland’s waterfront last summer after missing two years due to the pandemic, has been canceled again this summer, organizers said early Friday.
The organization told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the increasing cost of an event field, combined with the oppressive heat that has been a factor in declining attendance in recent years that the festival has been held, has created an unlikely scenario for success.
“After three decades of producing the OBF Festival, we’ve developed a solid understanding of what it takes to give attendees a great festival,” the organizers said in a statement. It is clear when these factors do not combine.
“High costs, low attendance, and severe weather are just a few of the challenges we discussed,” the statement said, “but this is not an exhaustive list.”
The festival is back in 2022 with a much smaller footprint, taking up less space at Tom McCall Waterfront Park and featuring fewer breweries and beers. At its peak a decade ago, the gathering drew up to 85,000 people, some 23,500 through the gates for the three-day festival – shorter than in previous years, which ran as low as five days.
Organizers said there were slightly fewer festival-goers in 2022 than they expected because of the smaller scale of the event, which ran from July 28-30. But temperatures as high as 103 degrees have been a deterrent for many people, as seen in Portland The third longest heat wave in recorded history With eight consecutive days of temperatures of 90 degrees or higher from July 24 to 31.
The statement also said that the organizers realized that participation in such a large festival could be difficult for brewers and vendors in today’s business climate.
“We are aware that the hospitality industry, which is the core of our festival, is still working to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” the statement said. “From local breweries to festival infrastructure suppliers, many people are working just to keep their doors open and pay their staff. OBF will be back when the time is right.”
Art Larance, who founded the festival in 1988, said that in the early days, he and fellow organizer Teddy Betz, who had been instrumental in running the festival since its inception, agreed to run it until they were 75, which they are now 78.
Larance, who was also a co-founder of Portland Brewing Co. And Cascade Brewing: “We’ve gotten older, and things have changed.” “We’ll wait for the right time to come back – we’re just pausing.”
The festival saw attendance decline in the years leading up to the pandemic. Another layer of conflicts has accumulated due to the Corona virus, which forced cancellations in 2020 and 2021.
It was a difficult decision, Larance said, because the festival is so personal. It was a family affair, Larance said — three generations were involved in the staging, including his daughter, Alyssa Larance, who has been instrumental for years.
“But it’s a relief at this point,” he said. “It’s a risky, risky venture, especially in today’s times. The hospitality aspect is tough right now.”
The statement said organizers are still “thinking of innovative ways to support local breweries and cider through festivals and smaller partnerships,” and said they still plan to hold Hillsborough Beer Festival In Hillsboro February 24-26.
The organizers thanked the breweries, vendors and festival-goers for years of dedication.
“The great beer was never a problem,” the statement said. “We want to express our gratitude to the brewers, cider makers, volunteers, staff, and vendors who have played a vital role at OBF over the years… and to our attendees — from those who never miss a year to those who braved the 2022 heatwave to join us for the first time — we cannot Waiting to see you again.”
Larance also thanked the other entities that have helped the festival over the decades.
“The city, the mayor’s office, and the parks department, it’s been great working with them,” he said. He emphasized the festival’s achievements in more than three decades.
“When we started this, we were one of the first to come out with a beer festival, and we’ve spawned many other festivals,” he said in a phone interview. “We feel so proud of it. It brought awareness to local beer, that was the purpose. Not to make money, but to expose people to good beer and what was going on in Portland.”
“We were very proud to be part of the craft beer explosion around the world,” he continued. “In our festivals, we have been listed as one of the top 10 beer festivals in the world, and I am very proud of that…. It sometimes took up to 2,000 volunteers to run this event. I want to thank all of them.”
– André Meunier; Subscribe to my weekly newsletter Oregon Brews and Newsand follow me Instagram, where I’m @oregonianbeerguy.
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