Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Montana Folk Festival expected to bring an economic boost to southwest Montana

Dancing at the Montana Folk Festival in Butte, MT, July 14, 2018.
Nick Mott
Dancing at the Montana Folk Festival in Butte, MT, July 14, 2018.

The Montana Folk Festival kicks off in Butte this weekend. The thousands of expected attendees should bring a welcome economic boost to southwest Montana.

Uptown Butte has been a hub of activity in the week leading up to the 2023 Montana Folk Festival.

Organizers are racing against the clock to prepare the six stages that will host dozens of performers. Local businesses are preparing to serve over 100,000 expected attendees.

Organizers estimate the festival brings around $25 million into the region, with $10 million staying in Butte.

Longtime festival Director George Everett said that’s a welcome change from a forced hiatus during the pandemic.

“Boy, it’s so much better than 2020 and 2021 where we couldn’t have a festival at all. And we were really worried that mass gatherings might be a thing of the past,” Everett said.

The festival returned last year with attendance close to the 2019 record of over 160,000, albeit with COVID protocols that stressed out organizers.

“We were terrified. Even though things were opening back up last year we still had strict protocols for COVID,” Everett said.

There’s hope the iconic gathering will be able to build off last year’s success.

“A lot of support from the community here. A lot of people see this as the premier summer event. And we try to make it that and keep up with that expectation,” Everett said.

The 2023 Montana Folk Festival is July 14 - 16 in Butte, and you can listen live on Montana Public Radio!
The Montana Folk Festival in Butte is coming up July 14-16. It features multiple stages with continuous live performances by some of the best traditional performers in the nation. It's a big deal. Here are some things you might not know about the festival.

John joined the Montana Public Radio team in August 2022. Born and raised in Helena, he graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts and created the Montana history podcast Land Grab. John can be contacted at
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information