National Folk Festival Moves to Montana
Montana will host the 70th National Folk Festival, the oldest multi-cultural festival of traditional arts in the nation, July 11-13 in Butte. In 2009 and 2010 the festival will also be held in Butte the second weekend of July.
The festival has been produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts in 26 different cities since 1934 and this is the first time the event has been hosted west of the Mississippi River in decades and the first time ever it has been hosted by a Montana city.
Admission to all performances at the festival are free.
“The National Folk Festivals run in Butte will shine a spotlight on the rich cultural heritage of Butte and Southwest Montana,” said George Everett, Executive Director of Mainstreet Uptown Butte, one of the lead organizations working to bring the festival to Montana. “This is a great opportunity to showcase Montana’s assets throughout the state and enlighten a whole new audience to the state’s abundant tourism treasures,” Everett added. “Not to mention that it will be a rare time in the old town that should not be missed.”
The festival features seven stages that will host up to 250 performers highlighting the musical influences of immigrants from around the world. So far, 13 of roughly 28 performers have been announced and the remaining performers will be announced by the end of April.
The following performers have been booked to date: Wylie & the Wild West, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, The Quebe Sisters Band (Texas Fiddling And Harmony), Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca Congolese/Cuban), Shemekia Copeland (Blues), Oinkari Basque Dancers (Traditional Basque), Yuqin Wang & Zhengli Xu (Chinese Puppetry), Clinton Fearon (Reggae), Le Vent Du Nord (Quebecois), Alex Meixner Band (Polka), Grace Chang (Chinese Zither), The Berntsons (Norwegian American), Yuri Yunakov Ensemble (Bulgarian Wedding Music).
The Montana festival will feature about 50 vendors in a Montana Arts Marketplace and an adjacent First Peoples’ Marketplace that features Native American artists. The First Peoples’ Marketplace is made possible by the sponsorship of Seacast, Inc., a Seattle-based corporation with close ties to Southwest Montana that plans to open a titanium foundry in 2008 that will employ 80 to 100 in the Butte area.
For more information or to volun-teer, call 406-497-6464.