EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – For the 12th consecutive year, Big Sky Big Grass will take over the venues, nooks and crannies of Big Sky Resort from Thursday, Feb. 8, through Sunday, Feb. 11. With overlapping performances by some of the largest names in bluegrass, as well as local and regional favorites, the resort literally comes alive with traditional twang and newgrass sounds during this lively annual festival.

The four-day festival kicks off on Thursday with a 9:30 p.m. performance by Leftover Salmon at Montana Jack and doesn’t stop until Bozeman’s Kitchen Dwellers and Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs bring the curtain down Sunday night with a 9:30 p.m. show, also at Montana Jack.

In between, at 13 large and small venues that include Chet’s Lounge, the Carabiner, the Talus Room, the Missouri Ballroom, and impromptu jam sessions that can pop up anywhere, musicians and fans mingle, play and dance in a celebration of all things bluegrass.

This year’s festival welcomes back bluegrass-bending Billy Strings, The Travelin’ McCourys, Trout Steak Revival, Leftover Salmon, Keller (Williams) & the Keels, Larry Keel Experience; and Montana-bred acts the Kitchen Dwellers, Madison Range, Gallatin Grass Project, Two Bit Franks, Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs and others.

Colorado’s Leftover Salmon has been entertaining crowds and headlining festivals for more than 25 years with music influenced by rock ‘n’ roll, folk, bluegrass, Cajun, soul, zydeco, jazz and blues.

Billy Strings, who has earned himself a cult following, returns to Big Sky Big Grass with a new album, “Turmoil & Tinfoil.” The Nashville-based guitar virtuoso is known for roots music with powerful lyrics that address difficult issues.

Keller Williams, a fixture on the bluegrass circuit, has joined forces with Larry Keel and his wife Jenny Keel to create music they describe as “Appalachian psychedelic bluegrass.” The Keels with also play with acclaimed mandolinist Jared Pool in their core band, Larry Keel Experience.

A yearly tradition for musicians, as well as the fans, Big Sky’s Gallatin Grass Project will return to the fest with their own brand of eclectic originals and traditional tunes interspersed with re-invented covers.

During a 2017 interview before last year’s Big Sky Big Grass, mandolinist Ben Macht explained what he looked forward to about the event each year.

“The whole festival is cool because it’s so intimate,” Macht said. “To be able to be that close and intimate with the performers is really special. And it gives you a festival fix right in the middle of winter when you need it most.”

Visit bigskyresort.com/biggrass for tickets and a full schedule of events.