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Montana Concerts & Events

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Part of the northwest United States, Montana is not known for much beyond its picturesque nature landscapes and accompanying wildlife populations. Its terrain includes the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, the Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, snow-capped peaks, lakes, and trails. With a total population of just around one million, there are more animals in the state than people. In fact, Montana is known to have the largest elk herd in the nation. In a place where nature burgeons, music is not seen as the main attraction. So, what goes on with Montana’s sound waves?

Montana is a place where a small number of people can make a big difference.

There is a saying about being a big fish in a small pond. When in a small community, it is much easier to play a big role and compete to shape the outcomes of that community. This metaphor applies to the music scene in Montana. When a person decides to do something unique, it makes an impact.

Take fiddlers Isaac Callender and Louise Steinway, for instance. Admirers of the instrument that their Ukrainian and Norwegian ancestors brought to Montana when homesteading, Callender and Steinway are eager to keep the tradition alive. They are working to “put some life back into” their local music scene, which they believe has died away in recent years. By serving in the Montana State Old-Time Fiddlers Association, contributing to a summer day camp for young fiddlers, sponsoring free fiddle lessons, writing tune books, recording CDs, and hosting workshops, Callender and Steinway have made huge efforts in promoting folk music and fiddle sounds. Ultimately, they want to make Montana’s Great Falls area a destination for music lovers, fiddlers, and dancers. When artists have the power and perseverance to form a community, listeners can expect a surge in the number of live performances. These are the types of shows where showing up to show support actually makes a difference in sustaining the community.

Being a little off the beaten path, Montana brings in some national headliners mixed with some unique tours season after season.

This past summer, Montana brought in a number of acts, including well-known artists such as Bon Iver, The Flaming Lips, Barenaked Ladies, Steeley Dan & The Doobie Brothers, Pixies, Sheryl Crow, Pearl Jam, Chris Stapleton, Blondie, and Alice Cooper. Mixed in to this popular lineup were unconventional groups, such as the rising electronica dance music band The Glitch Mob, the alternative indie group Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and the bluegrass rock band Trampled by Turtles. This fall seems to have a similarly stellar mix of musicians. In October, performing musicians in Missoula alone will include the following artists: Machinehead, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Casting Crowns, Snails, Moe., Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Pinky & The Floyd, Bob Weir & The Wolf Bros., Cole Swindwell & Dustin Lynch, Tyler Childers, Of Montreal, and Cherub. Music lovers who are always looking for something a little unusual and unheard to come to town will be delighted by the offerings in Montana’s larger music cities.

Although Montana only has a few notable cities such as Missoula and Billings, they each have a handful of music venues that keep the community going.

A state with a relatively small population, Montana is not known for huge music venues; however, there are a handful of larger places to listen to music. For example, in the Missoula area, the University of Montana has a few venues that can hold large audiences. In addition to the U of M, Adams Center holds 5,500 people inside of it, and Dennison Theatre seats 1,100 in its hall. Montana offers more listening opportunities in its smaller venues. In Missoula, these include Top Hat Lounge, Draught Works Brewery, The Highland Beer Brewing Company Taproom, Monk’s, and Red Bird Restaurant and Wine Bar. No matter what type of venue and or atmosphere a listener craves, chances are Montana has a space to enjoy the live sounds.