Butte volunteers busy preparing for the Montana Folk Festival


BUTTE – Before you can get on the dance floor, someone has to lay the dance floor down – and that’s why volunteers are working hard this week in Butte to prepare for the Montana Folk Festival.

“It’s a lot of work, and I don’t think the people who come in really understand the amount of work involved beforehand,” said volunteer Jim Keane.

Volunteers and paid crews will spend the next few days hammering, drilling and carrying heavy objects to set up the six staging areas for the free three-day music festival at Uptown Butte.

A volunteer comes from Plains, Montana to help with the installation.

“I just started with the National Folk Festival and just kept going with that. It’s fun,” Bob Hackman said.

The festival started in Butte in 2008 and was held every year until Covid-19 forced the festival to close in 2020 and 2021. Some longtime organizers say they experience a wide range of emotions.

“Excited, exasperated, pissed off and trying to remember everything you’ve forgotten over the two years,” festival organizer Bernie Shelton said.

A four-man team from Commercial Tent Rentals in Canada is responsible for setting up all the tents for the festival. It’s a big job, but they can handle it.

“We have the go-to-er, get-er-done attitude, you know. We like 20 tents a day, maybe, if we can. Today is a beautiful day so we will try to spend as much time as possible on it,” said Grant Tedford of Commercial Tent Rentals.

Organizers say they could use more volunteers, so if you want to help, call operations at (406) 490-6677.

The festival begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 8 and continues through Sunday.

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