State Grant Will Boost Blue Ox Music Festival

V1 Staff, photos by Scott Kunkel

Eau Claire’s own Blue Ox Musical Festival will get a marketing boost next summer thanks to a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Visit Eau Claire, the region’s tourism promotion agency, received a $39,500 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant from the department in mid-October. The funds will be used to expand promotion of the outdoor bluegrass and roots music fest through social media, print, and broadcast advertising as well as other efforts.

“It will unquestionably impact the number of visitors to the region and the level of tourism spending generated in our area during that weekend,” said Linda John, executive director of Visit Eau Claire. Last year’s Blue Ox drew 4,500 festgoers, and in 2020 Visit Eau Claire aims to boost that number by drawing fans from new geographic areas, including the Dakotas, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Ontario.

The sixth annual Blue Ox Music Festival will run June 11-13 at Whispering Pines Campground outside Eau Claire. During the 2019 fiscal year, the Department of Tourism has awarded 62 JEM grants worth a total of $1.1 million, including $24,800 last summer to help promote OneFest, a Christian Music Festival in Chippewa Falls. New visitor spending driven by these marketing efforts is estimated to be $61 million, the Department of Tourism said.