BUTTE – Billed as the Northwest’s largest free music festival, the Montana Folk Festival is the successor event to the National Folk Festival that took place in Butte from 2008 to 2010.

First presented in St. Louis in 1934, the National is the oldest, longest-running and most diverse festival of traditional arts in the nation. Championed in its early years by Eleanor Roosevelt, it was the first event of national stature to put the arts of many nations, races and languages into the same event on an equal footing.

When the National moved on, Montana organizers carried the traditions forward with their own festival.

The festival is situated in classy Uptown Butte, the nation’s largest National Historic Landmark District. Open air and tented sites provide performance venues ranging from intimate stages to amphitheater-sized venues.

The event hosts performances and demonstrations by more than 200 musicians, dancers and craftspeople, including traditional artists, ethnic and festival foods, a lively family area, and folklife demonstrations and workshops that focus on a new theme each year, highlighting Montana’s heritage.

In 2013, that theme is “Gathering at the Headwaters: The Influence of Rivers and Riparian Lifeways in Montana and the Mountain West.”

Find more at montanafolkfestival.com