The 2014 Chamberlin Rail Jam was held Friday April 11 and Saturday April 12 at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds this year. A seasoned event in Montana, Rail Jam is known for blending the complementary cultures of electronic and hip-hop music with winter sport culture in a festival environment lasting two days.
Even with the 36°F temperature and freezing cold flurries; the crowds were eager for the festivities to start, huddling around the fires and cheering on their favorites.
Although the temperature was low, spirits were high as bystander William Mateson noted that, “It is great to see the boarders and I have a few friends in the finals, so rain or snow I am here to stay.”
Rail Jam was open from at 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., however Friday night as it was called off by 7 p.m. due to the high winds. The event began again Saturday with a warm up for the contestants around 5:30 p.m., as the riders and boarders got their feet in the snow and prepared for their competition. Skier Travis Evans from Whitefish Montana competed in the finals, commenting on the obvious excitement, “I am ready to get out there. Skiing feels as natural as walking to me.”
Another contestant Ray Yearsly, practicing his telemarketing as a second-year hobby, is an architecture student at MSU ready to get going and beat the weather, “Yesterday the wind was coming at us hard, at least it’s away from us today.” When asked if they had any special tricks or jumps planned, more than one of the contestants said they were, “just winging it.” The finals had a number of different judges ranging from places like Bridger Mountain, Summit Mountain and Red Lodge Mountain. DJ Death Slice played music during the competition, giving the boarders some extra enthusiasm and the crowd excess energy.
Many competitors had their earphones in while getting prepared for the show. When asked what they listened to “get in the zone,” there was a bit of everything from reggae to rap to classical.
The winter carnival featured artists SOL, Keith Sayers, Heath Frisbay, David Dollar G and more in the indoor area during the events as well. Their headline artist, Rusko, canceled last minute leaving many upset and surprised they did not have a backup artist. There also seemed to be confusion about the after party at the Zebra Cocktail Lounge, a ticket purchasers required to pay extra money to get in. One particular student who wished to be unnamed mentioned “In the past one ticket got us into every event.”
Although there was slight change in plans, it did not keep the party from continuing. The indoor arena was packed with enthusiastic and hyped attendants, waving glow sticks, bright clothes and obvious satisfaction with the music featured. Kelly Thurns, an attendant from Colorado beamed saying, “The crowd here tonight is awesome, I was a bit worried about the weather keeping people away but it goes to show that Bozeman follows through no matter what.”
The evening ended with a crowded after party at the Zebra Cocktail Lounge where attendants, competitors and workers joined to drink and look forward to the event coming around again next year.