A van life travel series isn't too far off the grid from Logan Foret's normal gig.
As a concert promoter focusing on electronic music, he's brought producers from around the country to the relatively rural setting of Missoula.
For his "American Vanarchy" web series, he wants to take musicians and artists on the road around the state to smaller towns, with some outdoors or backcountry adventures on the way.
"It's really about finding people who want to come spend some time in Montana communities and do some stuff that they wouldn't normally do," Foret said. "Most of these artists live in New York, live in L.A., so I'm trying to get them out of their element and do some really random stuff."
Foret's customized Ram ProMaster is ready to go, and at the end of the month he'll start filming his first episode. It will star Raashan Ahmad of the Portland, Oregon, hip-hop group Crown City Rockers. They'll play a pop-up show at the Unparalleled Movement parkour gym here in town before hitting the road. A songwriting and poetry workshop on the Flathead Indian Reservation. An overnight camping trip at Wild Horse Hot Springs. A stop at the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee. A gig at the Remington Bar in Whitefish.
Along the way, he hopes they can connect with interesting people in small towns, whether it's through workshops, spontaneous concerts, or natural interactions that are heartfelt and candid, so it's not just shots of him in a van.
As BFK Productions, Foret has been promoting music and music festivals around Missoula for nine years. Many are electronic dance music, dating back before the genre infiltrated U.S. pop culture. Those festivals include Disco Bloodbath, the annual Halloween show that now takes place in Caras Park and bars throughout downtown, and he helped out with Socrota, which brought a top-paid DJ, Steve Aoki, to the Missoula County Fairgrounds in September.
The travel-oriented series harks back a bit to college, when he studied recreation management with a focus in ecotourism at the University of Montana. He can do most of concert promotion work while traveling, ideally in a responsible way.
He bought the van to help court financial backers while working with a local company, Warm Springs. An original idea about sustainable travel for millennials didn't pan out. (He said the market is saturated). When they couldn't find an interested party and his contract lapsed, he struck out on his own.
Sponsors helped outfit the van for the needs of van life. The rear doors open to reveal wood siding with mounted speakers, loud enough for pop-up concerts in parking lots. The roof is equipped with a pressurized, solar-heated Road Shower. Local companies Mountain Peak Builders and Birch and Bennett Co. helped fancy up the interior, where there's a full bed, wood floor and siding, and a kitchenette, all powered by solar energy set-up from Solar Plexus.
In July, the project was awarded $25,000 from the state Big Sky Film Grant, overseen by the Montana Film Office of the Department of Commerce.
The first season will have six episodes, about 10-15 minutes each, with each co-host/guest appearing in two episodes.
The camerawork will be handled by Jeffrey Neubauer, who's shot many shows for Logjam Presents. All the post-production will fall to Nate Biehl, of "SciShow" and formerly of Warm Springs.
He hopes the first episode will be online at the end of February. His next guest, barring any scheduling conflicts, is Sosie Bacon of TV's "13 reasons Why" and "Here and Now."
He's still scratching together money to finish the first season, with the eventual goal of pitching it to large media companies who will support a version that takes him outside of Montana — the bucket list includes the Pan-American Highway.
In the meantime, you can follow the van on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook by searching for "American Vanarchy."