Every August, the town of Challis, Idaho plays host to thousands of visitors for the annual Braun Brothers Reunion Festival. A family-friendly event for the music enthusiast, the BBR brings both well-loved and up and coming artists together with their fans in a picturesque setting for three unforgettable days. This year, the BBR will be held from August 10th-12th and will feature fourteen plus artists, including Micky & The Motorcars. In the conclusion of our series highlighting some of the artists at this year's Reunion, Micky Braun very kindly took some time to speak about his family's festival and more.
Your family has been hosting the BBR for almost forty years now, do you recall any early memories?
My earliest memory was from the late 80’s, around ‘88-‘89, when Dad was playing at a dance hall in Stanley. We played there three nights a week and Dad played five or six. The first year he did that I remember he had his brothers come up and do the Reunion.
There are so many wonderful things about the Reunion from the location to the artists to seeing new friends. What makes it special for you?
Even though I moved to Austin, Idaho is home and has always been my favorite place, so when the Reunion rolls around, I look forward to being home. I grew up here and have a cabin here now, so I enjoy seeing old friends and hanging out with my friends from the road. It’s nice to be able to spend time with such a good group of people, enjoy their company, and the Idaho weather.
Besides the fact that the BBR has grown, has it changed for you in any other ways?
It’s changed a little bit almost every year. With it growing, it’s more about trying to keep it at a place where everyone is happy. Our main goal is to have the right amount of people so that everyone can be comfortable, enjoy themselves, and not worry about being overrun with long lines or having nowhere to sit. A daily capacity of 3500 people is the number we feel comfortable with; we reached that number last year on Saturday, and it’s coming close on Thursday and Friday this year.
It almost triples the size of Challis for those few days.
It does, but I think it’s good for the town, not that they’re surviving on us, but it gives them a nudge – at least we hope it does anyway - in the middle of Summer which is nice for the restaurants, hotels, and the businesses in the community. It’s a cool thing to be able to do this in our neck of the woods and work with the city council and people from all over the town, many of whom I know from when I was a kid.
Everyone in town has always been so kind and welcoming; it’s a really nice community. Last year your Dad had said he was ready to pass the reins to the four of you, have you and your brothers taken on more responsibility this year?
For the most part, we took over this year, but with help from Mom and Dad. They gave us the responsibility, but they work around the clock as well, so it’s a little bit more of a family affair. There are so many tiny details you have to go over to make sure everything is right, so we split everything up into different areas then we circle back to Mom and Dad and one another to make sure we aren’t missing anything - and usually, we are (laughing). It’s been a treat getting to work with the fam and everyone involved.
Even though you moved to Texas and are on the road touring, your family remains incredibly close.
We’ve always been a pretty close family who always keeps in touch. We talk to each other about anything and work through stuff should anything ever come up. I'm always able to fall back on them, too. For years, I have been asking Cody and Willy what they do on certain stuff, and then they - all of us really - fall back on Mom and Dad. I don’t think it’d be a lot different if we were say, doctors, although we’d probably be a lot richer (laughing). It’s really nice to have a family who is trying to get to the same goal whether it’s separately with our bands, the Reunion, or something else.
What a great support system you all are for one another.
So, how do you go about selecting who performs at the BBR? Is it an easy process?
Gary and Cody have the reins on booking, but we’re all in the background giving input as to who is on our wish list to come out. We’ll sit down and decide who we want to return if they’re willing, but we always want to change it up too. We start throwing out names and then from there it’s whoever is actually available to do it because you can have a hundred names of people you’d love to play, but at the end of the day it depends on scheduling. Getting the names out there, figuring out who is going to play and on which night is another fun part of the process – we all enjoy that.
Last year Alejandro Escovedo, who I know you all admire, played the BBR. Is there anyone else on your wish list?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Alejandro, he’s such a great guy, as are his band members, and having him at the Reunion was really special. He asked ‘Who’s doing “Sister Lost Soul?”’and I had told him ‘Well you’re doing it because it’s your song,' but he told us to do it so he could come out and sing it with us. That was definitely a highlight of my life that happened on that stage.
Steve Earle though would have to be #1 on my wish list to have one year. We all look up to him as a songwriter, and I think it would be a really cool milestone to have him make it out. I’ll have to put Willy and Cody on that one though; they’re the ones who are buddies with him (laughing).
Switching from the BBR to the Motorcars. Will there be any new music from you guys soon?
It’s funny, a year and a half ago we put out a live record that we recorded in Germany, but we really didn’t push it. And I didn’t realize how under the radar it was until people starting asking if we’re ever gonna do another record, and I’d say, 'We just did' (laughing).
Gary and I have been writing and working up songs, some of which we’re doing live, and some we’re keeping for the record, and we’re hoping to go into the studio late Fall/early 2018 and have something out by next Summer for sure.
For all of the information on the BBR from lodging to the full lineup, please visit the official website HERE
Tickets: BBR 3-Day Pass for ages 13 and up $124.30
BBR 2-Day Pass for ages 13 and up $86.30
Tickets purchased online will be picked up at will call at the venue and are non-refundable. One day passes will be sold at the front gate while supplies last. The BBR is held rain or shine.
Kids age 5 and under are free. Kids age 6-12 are $15 a day and can only be purchased at the front gate. Kids age 13 and up pay full adult price.
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