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Rock legends roll into Big Sky, Brandi Carlile to open

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The inaugural Peak to Sky concert


On July 6, Mike McCready, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and lead guitarist of the legendary Seattle-based band Pearl Jam, will curate an epic night of music in Big Sky.

He will be joined by fellow hall of famers Chad Smith (drums, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Duff McKagan (bass and vocals, Guns N’ Roses), and Josh Klinghoffer (guitar, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, an assembly of talents that have rocked in live shows for hundreds of millions around the world.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Mike McCready, lead guitarist of the iconic Seattle-based rock band Pearl Jam, is bringing an all-star musical ensemble to Big Sky this July. PHOTO BY KAREN LORIA

They will bring those same all-star skills to the Big Sky Events Arena in Town Center for the Peak to Sky concert—a show unlike any other Big Sky has witnessed.

A band this impressive comes with an equally extraordinary opener in the form of Brandi Carlile, the multi-genre sensation who left the 2019 Grammy Awards with some hardware: three Grammys to be exact.

“I love playing music with Chad Smith, Duff McKagan and Josh Klinghoffer. I am stoked to play with Taylor Hawkins too,” McCready said. “Asking Brandi Carlile to be a part of this event was a no brainer.”

From an objective vantage, the lineup is the most robust musical talent to come to Big Sky in 16 years, with the last veritable headliner, Willie Nelson, performing back in ’03.

“In 2003, Willie Nelson played in Big Sky, the biggest concert here to date,” said Eric Ladd, CEO of Outlaw Partners, the Big Sky-based media, marketing and events company organizing the event, which also publishes this newspaper. “The energy we had in Big Sky was phenomenal, and ever since I’ve wanted to bring that feeling back to our town.”

Brandi Carlile, the multi-genre sensation boasting three Grammys from the 2019 Grammy Awards, will open for the rock super band. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDI CARLILE

This event should prove to be the largest ticketed headliner event since that incredible evening in 2003, but its origins are humble; in true-to-form Big Sky fashion, McCready, a part-time resident of Big Sky, conceived the idea with Ladd on a chairlift this winter before making some fresh tracks on Lone Mountain.

This July, the same mountain that served as the locus of concept will backdrop this special night of music.

“It’s an opportunity to put our amazing town and venue on the big stage, an opportunity to put some of the best musicians in the world in front of a crowd from our community,” Ladd said. “These guys have played in front of hundreds of thousands in single shows, and now they’ll play in front of 4,500. It’ll be a one of kind experience.”

Ladd pointed out that because of the intimate venue all concertgoers will have a clear view of the stage. “There isn’t a bad seat in the house,” he said.

“This show is going to be awesome and I am looking forward to the town of Big Sky and the surrounding area coming out to rock with us,” McCready said. “Maybe this can turn into something that lasts.”

According to Ladd, the hope is to make Peak to Sky into an annual show, folding it into the existing summer events lineup, which includes the Big Sky PBR at the end of July.

Tickets for Peak to Sky go on sale April 19, at 9 a.m. MDT, and are available for purchase online only at Ticket options will include Skybox, VVIP, VIP, seated GA and floor GA, and will start at $75. There will also be lodging packages in conjunction with Big Sky hotels, including the soon-to-open Wilson Hotel in Town Center. 

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