The Seldom Scene perform at the Original Stage of the National Folk Festival in Butte, Montana

The Seldom Scene perform at the Original Stage of the National Folk Festival in Butte, Montana

A stellar lineup of world-class performers, wonderful Montana Native American artists, a large and appreciative crowd, perfect weather, and a very hard-working team of Butte locals made for a fabulous 70th National Folk Festival this past weekend, the first event in a three-year run for Butte.

Assiniboine star quilter Annette Linder and her daughters demonstrated at the festival

Assiniboine star quilter Annette Linder and her daughters demonstrated at the festival

The main stage was located directly under the headframe of the Original Mine, with a grassy hillside for seating and a gorgeous view over town, especially at sunset. I’m not sure the photos fully capture how extremely cool an arrangement it was. There were six other stages scattered around Uptown Butte, which made for a bit of walking and some brief strenuous uphill hikes, but festival-goers were game and cheerful about it.

The Original Stage

The Original Stage

A group of Salish artists presented on the Montana Traditions Stage

A group of Salish artists presented on the Montana Traditions Stage

Western folklorists in attendance as presenters, staff, and busmans-holidayers included Alex Swaney, Nicholas Vrooman, Jens Lund, Debbie Fant, Meg Glaser, Christina Barr, Liz Dear, Charlie Seemann, Darcy Minter, Maria Carmen Gambliel, and Andrea Graham. Nick Spitzer, Barry Bergey, and  Jon Lohman also ventured west to join in the festivities.

Andrea Graham, Meg Glaser, Debbie Fant, Christina Barr and Liz Dear backstage at the Wylie and the Wild West concert Friday night (photo by Charlie Seemann)

Andrea Graham, Meg Glaser, Debbie Fant, Christina Barr and Liz Dear backstage at the Wylie and the Wild West concert Friday night (photo by Charlie Seemann)

Check out www.mtstandard.com and click on the “slide shows” or “videos” tabs for scenes from the event from Butte’s daily paper, The Montana Standard. And go to www.nationalfolkfestival.com to see the lineup of artists. The main stage was broadcast live on Montana Public Radio, but I couldn’t find an archive link on their web site.

Next year’s festival is set for July 10-12—I highly recommend you get there if you can.

–Andrea Graham

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