I had to chuckle at the headline "Austin of the Northwest" on the front page of the Oct. 16 paper. As a musician who's been playing in Missoula since 1997, I have seen both opportunities for local musicians, and interest in local live music, diminish steadily for years.
These days, most gigs available to local musicians are in breweries, distilleries, etc. These venues pay very little, and the patrons, for the most part, don't seem very interested in the music, preferring to talk over it. There are only a handful of music venues in town that actually cater to a listening crowd.
It is great that there are more venues that are attracting national music acts to Missoula, but in comparing Missoula to Austin, it's important to remember that the Austin music scene was built on local talent, and the local musicians in Austin are still the foundation of that scene.
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People in Missoula who want a flourishing music scene would do well to appreciate all of the great musicians that are here by treating them with respect, tipping them generously when in a venue where that's how they're getting paid, and supporting the few venues that are more about the music.