Big Music in the Big Sky

If you’ve skied or boarded at Big Sky recently you might have been slightly disappointed by the conditions (and your friends talking about their “epic powder day at Bridger” probably didn’t help much either). Fortunately, there will be plenty of opportunities for a snow dance with all the live music that’s coming up in Big Sky. This weekend, Bozeman’s neighboring mountain town will play host to its 8th Annual Big Sky Big Grass Festival, attracting big acts—and hopefully a snowstorm—to the small mountain setting.

Big Grass is the largest winter bluegrass festival in the Northern Rockies, but the mental image of a massive, corporate-driven festival this statement conjures couldn’t be further from the truth. This surreptitious festival is hosted in several ballrooms and bars scattered around the Mountain Village. So relax, you don’t need to throw elbows to get a good view of the stage. In fact, most of the tourists in Big Sky don’t even realize the world-class musicians all around them, which translates to more dancing room for you!

The festival boasts an impressive lineup this year, with a variety of Big Grass veterans and a handful of new acts to join them. The festival begins Thursday night with The Infamous Stringdusters playing a kickoff party and undoubtedly setting high expectations for the days to come. Darol Anger and friends will make their Big Grass debut headlining the Missouri Ballroom on Friday night. A crowd favorite from last year, The Sam Bush Band, headlines for an energetic Saturday night. There are so many other talented bands playing in various spots throughout the weekend including Travelin’ McCoury’s, Tony Trischka Territory, Drew Emmitt Band, Deadly Gentlemen, Special Consensus, Chris Jones and the Night Drivers and Mountain Standard Time. There’s always somebody playing from the moment you kick off your ski boots until the wee hours of the morning.

There is also a multitude of bands from right here in Southwest Montana playing Big Grass. These up-and-coming bluegrass musicians will put a local spin on the festival during the Regional Band Showcase, which takes place Friday through Sunday at Whiskey Jack’s. Holler n’ Pine, Driftwood Grinners, Kitchen Dweller’s and Lil’ Smokies will all have their opportunity to show why they are local favorites. Another unique component of the festival is the Music Academy. It provides aspiring musicians an opportunity to take vocal and instrumental workshops from the professionals. This close interaction between performers and fans, including the late-night hotel jams that have been known to spring up, is what gives this festival it’s relaxed, hometown feel.

The 8th Annual Big Sky Big Grass Festival will take place this weekend, Feb. 6 – 9.

A detailed performance schedule, along with weekend passes and individual show tickets, is available at www.bigskybiggrass.com.  If you’re not planning to stay the whole weekend, the Skyline bus runs between Bozeman and Big Sky at a variety of times — visit skylinebus.com to view their schedule.