Montana Folk Festival

The Montana Folk Festival in Butte provides great music in a western mining town setting – definitely worth a road trip.

Provided photo

BUTTE, Mont. – Is it worth the drive to hard-working, hard-playing Butte for the Montana Folk Festival, set for July 8-10?

It depends what you want for your money. In this case, there’s no set admission, just a very reasonably contribution that people are encouraged to make. So for the gas it takes to get you there, and whatever you pay for food and lodging, you get the chance to hear music running continuously on six music performance stages throughout the weekend.

That’s a Montana bargain.

Just to clarify: No admission is charged for any performance over the three days of the festival but attendees are encouraged to pull out the wallets and contribute $20 for an individual and $25 for a family each day if they like what they hear. That helps ensure that the festival, which costs $650,000 to produce, continues for years to come.

To put that in perspective, festival director George Everett said audiences should consider what live music costs in other places.

“For any one of these performers, you could expect to pay $20 to $40 to see them at another venue. One of the performers coming, for example, played Carnegie Hall in April.. These performers will all be in Butte throughout the festival weekend and admission to all shows will be the same – free, thanks to the generosity of our many sponsors who ‘pony up’ $50 to $50,000 so that this festival lives on.”

Everett said this may be our most varied group of traditional performers yet.

The festival not only includes some of the region’s best traditional music artists, but also ethnic and festival foods, a family area and folklife demonstrations that focus on a new theme each year to highlight Montana’s heritage. The theme this year is “Native Voices: The Varied Expressions of Montana’s Native Peoples and their influence on the Heritage of Montana.”

There will be plenty of Montana heritage on display in the setting, too, with sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains and the mine headframes from Butte’s history as a copper mining town.

The latest performers confirming that they will play the 2016 Montana Folk Festival are Grupo Conteño, from Brownsville, Texas, playing Conjunto/Tejano music; Western Union, from Missoula, playing western swing; the Virginia Luthiers, from Crooked Road, Virginia, playing Appalachian music; Carson Peters and Iron Mountain Band, from Piney Flats, Tennessee, playing bluegrass; Jason D. Williams, from Memphis, Tennessee, playing boogie woogie piano; Orchestra Afrisa International, from Kinshasha in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, playing Congolese rumba soukous; BeauSoleil Trio avec Michael Doucet, from Lafayette, Louisiana, playing Cajun music; Michael Mwenso and the Shakes, from New York, New York, playing jazz.

Acts that had already committed earlier to the festival include De Temps Antan (Quebecois); Jerry Grcevich Tamburitza Orchestra (Tamburitza); Marquise Knox (Blues); Chubby Carrier and The Bayou Swamp Band (Zydeco); Fawn Wood (Native American); Adonis Puentes and the Voice of Cuba Orchestra (Cuban); Debashish Bhattacharya (Indian slide guitar); John Williams (Irish); OngDance Company (Korean Dance); Sahba Motallebi (Iranian Tar); Versa Style Dance Company (Los Angeles Hip Hop Dance); Grupo Cimarron (Colombian Joropo); and Electrifying Crown Seekers (Gospel).

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