What is the Montana Folk Festival?
Most people who haven’t experienced the festival think it is “folk” music. Images of hippies playing guitars come to mind. Well, it’s not to say that there wont be any of that, its just that there is more to “folk” music than that. Really, the Folk Festival celebrates all folk traditions. The traditional music of all countries and regions are welcome. Each year you never know what you will get from Zydeco, Native American drumming, Reggae, American bluegrass or southern gospel. I was thrilled to photograph this awesome 3 day event that happens in Uptown Butte, Montana again! I photographed the first 3 years of the festival when it was the traveling, national Folk Festival and really loved it. The goal of the National Folk Festival is to have the structure in place for that town to create a local version of the festival when the national festival moves on to another state. I can say with certainty that the Montana Folk Festival is just as large and perhaps even better since the last time I attended several years ago!
Some of my favorite performances were: Don Carlos (reggae), Mariachi Reynas de Los Angeles (the worlds only all women Mariachi band!) The Traveling McCoureys (bluegrass) and Ali Akbar Moradi (Kurdish). Those Mariachi girls were amazing. Beautiful harmonies, powerful voices and so talented. Don Carlos was a joy to watch and photograph. Dancing around the stage with a big grin, he stole my heart. From Kingston, Jamaica this reggae legend has been performing since 1973. I liked their vibe and he caught my gaze and smiled as if saying “it’s all good mon”. Some people really give you a gift when you photograph them, posing a little, giving a little to you. I wish I could have chatted with him, I imagine he has some stories to tell. Until next time, thanks to all the people who make the Folk Festival possible. SO many volunteers, musicians, techs, it is really impressive the army it takes to put on this free festival!