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Local music and arts festival gets funky in year four



By Maria Wyllie
Explore Big Sky Associate Editor

BIG SKY – Groovin’ on the Gallatin, Big Sky’s very own homegrown music and arts festival is returning for its fourth year Aug. 15 and 16 at the Cinnamon Lodge, located just south of Big Sky on Highway 191.

Local community member Jason Meyers, who has lived in the area for 16 years, first started the festival with friend Pete Lease as a way to enjoy good music among good company. Cinnamon Lodge owner Morgan Ayres was also into the idea and offered her property along the river as a venue.

“It’s about getting away from town and going somewhere else,” Meyers said. “It’s about camping with hundreds of your closest friends and dancing the night away to great music.”

Self-described as an avid music lover, Meyers has years of experience attending festivals and concerts, as well as helping organize music events at Big Sky Resort, such as Big Sky Big Grass.

This year’s Groovin’ lineup consists of headliners Cure for the Common and McTuff, along with late-night sets by electro-jam beast M.O.T.H. Other artists include Shakewell, the Kitchen Dwellers, Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons, Sista Otis, Tomorrow’s Today, Sim-Bitti, and One Leaf Clover.

“This year it’s a really funky line up,” says Meyers. “It’s a booty shakin,’ funk-in-the-trunk lineup.”

M.O.T.H. has played at Groovin’ every year for a reason. Jesse Barney, the band’s bass player, says there’s no other nearby festival right along the river. It also features all of his favorite regional jam bands.

“[Groovin’s] on the local side of things,” Barney said. “We aren’t trying to bring in huge acts from all over the nation. We are trying to bring in the best acts from right around us.”

During set breaks and band transitions, DJs set up next to the stage will play, which Meyers says helps bring everyone together, rather than separating the electronic and live music fans like so many other festivals.

Meyers and Lease are also working to make the festival as environmentally conscious as possible. The duo has partnered with local nonprofit Blue Water Task Force, which will have a booth at the event to explain what’s happening with the Gallatin ecosystem. A percentage of ticket sales will go towards BWTF.

Last year’s event saw approximately 325 people, and the venue can hold up to 500. “The Cinnamon Lodge is the perfect location with the restaurant, bar and camping. It allows people to stay and camp and make a weekend out of it,” Ayres said.

Although Meyers hopes to see the festival grow, he says the intimacy is one of the best parts.

“The most important thing to me is exposing music to my friends,” Meyers said. “You don’t have to go to [Colorado’s] Red Rocks to get a good concert. There’s good music right here.”

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