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Avalaunch festival returns to Bozeman

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By Joseph T. O’Connor Explore Big Sky Senior Editor

The Bozeman 2013 Avalaunch Festival is ready for its seventh year, and organizer Tate Chamberlin of Chamberlin Productions is set to prep revelers for winter. With a tour stopping at Vail, Colo., Salt Lake City, Utah and Cooke City, the festival celebrates snow, music and focuses on avalanche awareness and safety.

It began in 2007, and it returns this year from Nov. 21-23.

The weekend kicks off at the Bozeman Public Library Nov. 21, with presentations by avalanche forecaster Eric Knoff, mountaineer Conrad Anker and members of a local search and rescue team. A question and answer session will follow the presentations.

The Gallatin County Fairgrounds will hold the fifth annual Pray for Snow Party on Nov. 22, featuring a bonfire and sacrifice to the snow gods, as well as shows by Grammy-winning hip-hop group, Bone Thugs –N- Harmony, David Dalla G, Gentlemen Script and Prosper.

Spearhead played Avalaunch in 2008, and organizers took the festival in a hip-hop direction after that, Chamberlin said. Blackalicious took the stage in 2010, and The Crystal Method last year, when 1,000 festivalgoers attended the over the course of the weekend.

“The thing we like about it is it develops the overall [outdoor] experience,” Chamberlin said. He expects more than 1,500 people to show up. “The thought is what we call an experiential remix – you go through all sorts of emotions in the backcountry. [We’re providing] education and pairing with it the social aspect: having the best party.”

The festival concludes Nov. 23 at the fairgrounds’ Haynes Pavilion with avalanche training scenarios and beacon-search techniques.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the Nov. 22 concert. For tickets and more information, visit avalaunchfestival.com.

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