Posts in fair
2018 Free Music Lineup Revealed!

The Western Montana Fair has revealed the 2018 Stampede Stage headlining music lineup! All musical performances on the Stampede Stage are Free Admission with a great showcase of rising local stars! 

Please visit westernmontanafair.com/music for all the details! 

Free music is sponsored by First Security Bank, The Missoulian, and all of the Free Admission Fair sponsors! 

 

CHANCE MCKINNEY

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8, 2018

Montana-born and raised, Chance McKinney delves into our relationships to work and how we perceive the act of making a living with his forthcoming collection of music. An EP titled I is expected later this spring, and across its steely landscape, he constructs what he dubs “industrialized country."

The independent singer/songwriter who won CMT's Music City Madness and has been on tour with Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many more had a fan base that launched #DownToGetUp into the Top 50 on iTunes Country Album Chart almost immediately.

 

MUDSLIDE CHARLEY

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9, 2018

Mudslide Charley is a Missoula Montana born band that delivers house rockin' roots music. Marco Littig (Mudslide) has led the band through many evolutions. From Its first sparks in 2004, the band continued to ignite and morph over the years into the now five piece powerhouse of diverse musicians and songwriters. They draw inspiration from a more antiquated era when Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker first fused the rough and rural vibes of southern acoustic blues with modern electric instruments.

 

SHODOWN

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2018

From humble beginnings, Shodown has matured into one of the best bands in Montana. With a diverse play list and fun style that blends bluegrass, western swing, traditional and modern country, and 70’s/80’s/90’s rock-n-roll, Shodown has been a widely popular Montana band for many years.

Most arrangements feature a rich 3-part harmony mixed with driving guitars and/or fiddle, a solid and grooving rhythm section, and more fun than you can shake a stick at. This is a band that makes you get up and dance! 

 

MELISSA FORRETTE

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10 & SATURDAY, AUGUST 11, 2018

Melissa Forrette grew up in the mountains in California, before moving to Montana at 18 years old to work on ranches. While doing so, she found inspiration to start writing music. Her uncle gave her his old guitar in 2009 and she hasn't put it down since. Melissa has traveled to Nashville several times and worked with some of the best of the best. Growing up on good country music and with idols like Merle Haggard, she tries to stay true to her roots and make songs that can’t be confused with anything else but country. 

 

LITTLE JANE & THE PISTOL WHIPS

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11, 2018

Southwest Montana (Bozeman, Livingston area) is the place that Little Jane & the Pistol Whips hang their hats. Born and raised in Southwest Montana, Little Jane’s (aka. Ashly Jane Holland) original songs, dress, and demeanor carry what one would envision Montana to look and sound like. A little bit rough around the edges and a lotta bit warm and inviting. The band was formed in 2008 and is embarking on their 10 year anniversary THIS year!

 

BLISTERED EARTH

SUNDAY, AUGUST 12, 2018

Formed in December of 2009, Blistered Earth is the best Metallica tribute band on the planet (we checked!). Playing classic songs ranging from 1983's "Kill Em' All", to 1991's self-titled "Metallica" this tribute pays it's respects to one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time with the raw energy, showmanship, look and song selections that die-hard Metallica fans want to see and hear, they are the ultimate tribute to Metallica! 

 
The Western Montana Fair will always be Free Admission

Today was an important day in the history of the Western Montana Fair. The Board of Missoula County Commissioners (BCC) voted unanimously to uphold Free Admission for the Western Montana Fair for 2018 and in perpetuity. This means the event will provide free access to the entire community for years to come, regardless of one's socioeconomic status. 

 

Art by Josh Quick 

 

Upon the approval of Free Admission, the 2018 Fair's official poster was revealed. Local artist Josh Quick, who earned three design awards for his 2017 Fair artwork, was retained to design a new poster around the 2018 theme, "Pioneering the Future." It represents both the redevelopment projects that will transform the Fairgrounds and the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity that has always been a part of the Fair.

The Missoula County Fair Event Advisory Committee voted unanimously to recommend Free Admission to BCC during their May meeting. Free Admission at the 2017 Fair was a significant financial risk after years of relying on gate fees to help sustain the event. The proof of the concept is in the numbers, though, as the surge of increased attendance and revenues in other categories exceeded all expectations. 

 

More about Free Admission:

The Fair’s budget is in a much better place with the Free Admission model with the net cost for the program decreasing significantly. Revenues were increased in every category (aside from gate fees, of course) and attendance also swelled from an estimated 66,000 in 2016 to 87,000 in 2017 with an equally significant increase in rodeo attendance. The most meaningful number, perhaps, is the half-million dollars grossed by the Fair’s numerous nonprofit concessionaires. The Fair takes a 17-20% cut of those revenues while the remainder directly supports the programs of those community benefit organizations. When the Free Admission concept was presented in 2017, it stated a 10% increase in concessions, carnival tickets, and other major revenue sources would make the model work. We are happy to report that those increases surpassed all expectations with 20% or higher increases in most revenue categories and more than doubled revenues for parking and beer garden sales.

Free Admission is based on a very simple theory: if you make access to the Fair free, more people will attend, likely more than once, and will spend the money they saved at the gate on Fair food and fun. The model proposed prior to the 2017 Fair included this idea but also other changes to make it work well.  Security was increased as the hype for the event built up throughout the summer and large numbers were anticipated. Missoula County Sheriffs Office, Missoula Police Department, and the newly added layer of private security contributed to a very safe Fair with necessary security increases. Overall personnel costs were still significantly lowered, however, as integrating money room operations with the Fair office, increased volunteerism, and careful use of payroll hours by Fairgrounds managers, all brought the cost of labor down.

Other happy problems sprung up with the new model. Vendors ran out of food after only the first few days, the Fair office ran out of cash for change, and many other operational details needed to evolve quickly. Those factors were dealt with adeptly by Fair staff, vendors, and volunteers, and we made it through. In 2018, we feel even more ready. Fair staff continuously monitors expenses and operations to ensure efficiency and a reliably awesome event and will continue to do so with the long-term Free Admission model.  

Free Admission was the sensation of the summer in 2017, earning back the Fair’s status as the largest and most important summer event in Western Montana. The event emerged as a regional leader in the industry through Free Admission, too. The Rocky Mountain Association of Fairs (RMAF) awarded the Western Montana Fair four awards at the Fall 2017 conference, including the Barbara Renner Award for Innovation. The award recognized our Fair as an important game-changer in the evolution of fair and festival industry. In an industry so peculiar and full old habits, such an award is especially meaningful and in the spirit of Missoula County’s values.

 

Fair Exhibit Guide (Premium Books) Available Now!

The Exhibit Guide for the Western Montana Fair (Aug 7-12) 2018 are now available in the Fair box office and most grocery stores, retailers, and Fair sponsor locations.

Grab yours today and look it over closely as some departments and deadlines have changed.  

Download the interactive electronic version at missoulafairgrounds.com/exhibits

We have exciting things coming to the 2018 Fair and we can't wait to have you along for the ride!