The success of last year’s Montana Folk Festival has shown that the festival will continue to grow and evolve for many years to come, organizers say.
This year’s event runs July 12-14, with the main venue at the Original Mineyard in Uptown Butte It’s new and exciting, yet remains familiar to anyone who has attended in previous years.
The Montana Folk Festival will feature multiple stages with continuous live performances by some of the best traditional performers in the nation, including Montana’s finest, some of the region’s best traditional artists, ethnic and festival foods, a family area, and folklife demonstrations and workshops that focus on a theme highlighting Montana’s heritage.
In 2013, that theme will focus on the influence of rivers on Montana lifeways — "Gathering at the Headwaters: The Influence of Rivers and Riparian Lifeways in Montana and the Mountain West."
All of this is presented in the spectacular setting of Butte, surrounded by historic ming head frames and buildings and mountains in every direction.
More than 20 groups representing a broad diversity of musical and cultural traditions will perform on the festival's six stages in Uptown Butte.
"The third year of the Montana Folk Festival in Butte is flowing together nicely as we roll along toward the rapids of festival weekend,” festival director George Everett said. “Everyone planning to attend, no matter how well they think they know this festival, should come expecting to be amazed.’’
The first six performing artists/groups confirmed for the 2013 Montana Folk Festival are:
Grupo Fantasma, Latin, Austin, Texas. Grupo Fantasma has been praised as one of the most important independent acts in the Latin genre and has defied expectations to create one of the most unique musical voices to come out of the United States in the past decade.
Wang Li, Chinese mouth harp, Paris. Wang Li will come to Butte from Tsinghao in northeastern China by way of Paris. He has made the Jew’s harp his favorite instrument, creating little by little a resounding space of quest and liberty.
Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Cajun, Mamou, La. Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys formed more than 20 years ago and have a reputation for excellence. Their clean and cohesive performance of Cajun French music from the backwaters of southwest Louisiana propelled them into the world music limelight early on, and by their third release, "Trace of Time," garnered them a Grammy nomination.
Marshall Ford Swing Band, western swing, Austin, Texas. The Marshall Ford Swing Band members are modern-day carriers of western swing’s torch. Greg Harkins and his bandmates have been evoking the past since 2008. They pride themselves on playing Western swing music the way the legendary Johnny Gimble MFSB singer-pianist Emily Gimble’s grandfather plays, the way Bob Wills and Hank Thompson used to when they ruled the Texas scene. They’re unique in their modern execution of the antiquated art.
Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, bluegrass, Columbus, Ohio. Joe Mullins carries forward a family bluegrass tradition relayed by his father and grandfather, and he has carried it well, being recognized in 2012 by the IBMA as the Best Emerging Artist of 2012.
Chaksampa, Tibetan music and dance, El Cerrito, Calif. Chaksampa, the Tibetan Dance & Opera Co., was founded in 1989 in San Francisco and is the most successful professional performance group outside of Tibet. Chaksampa is led by its artistic director Tsering Wangmo. All the members are trained actors originally from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, in Dharmasala, India, the first generation trained in exile by the great Tibetan master performers.