Wildlands Festival brings music and stewardship to Big Sky

By Gabrielle Gasser ASSOCIATE EDITOR

BIG SKY – The upcoming Wildlands Festival at Big Sky brings four Grammy-winning artists to the stage for two nights of music in one of the biggest music events of the summer. On August 12 and 13, Jason Isbell and Unit 400, Lukas Nelson & POTR, Brandi Carlile and the Indigo Girls will take the stage.

The festival, first held in 2018 for the purpose of wild and open space stewardship, is produced by Outlaw Partners, publisher of Explore Big Sky. A percentage of all Wildlands ticket sales will go to three local nonprofits: the Gallatin River Task Force, the Big Sky Community Organization and the Gallatin Valley Land Trust.

Taking place in the downtown Big Sky Events Arena, Wildlands aims to bring together those who share a love of the outdoors through music and to give back to the community.

“A pillar of Outlaw Partners is using our marketing, media and events platform to help build community and support groups that do amazing nonprofit work,” said Eric Ladd. , Chairman of Outlaw Partners. “Supporting efforts to help protect Montana’s landscape, including clean river waters, open lands and animal corridors, is paramount to the region’s legacy.”

The three nonprofits receiving donations each work in different ways to preserve the landscape as well as connect people with the outdoors.

Hundreds of volunteers showed up on National Trails Day to support GVLT’s work to maintain the trails around the Gallatin Valley. PHOTO BY KELLY KUNTZ

Gallatin Valley Land Trust, a Bozeman-based trail and conservation organization, aims to protect open spaces and build trails in perpetuity. Most recently, GVLT obtained a permanent conservation easement on the North Bridger Bison Ranch in Sedan, Montana.

“GVLT is beyond thrilled to be part of the Wildlands Music Festival – the lineup is some of the best Montana has ever seen,” said Chet Work, Executive Director of GVLT. “Furthermore, the organizations Wildlands Festival supports are all working to ensure that the most alluring qualities of Big Sky and all of Southwestern Montana will last for future generations to enjoy forever.”

Work added that proceeds from festival ticket sales donated to GVLT will help the organization protect scenic open spaces and critical wildlife habitat. He highlighted more than a dozen projects that GVLT is currently working on in southwestern Montana, including improving more than 100 miles of trails in Bozeman’s Mainstreet to the Mountains trail system.

Closer to home, the Big Sky Community Organization has been a mainstay of the Big Sky community for over 20 years. Responsible for managing Big Sky’s parks and trails as well as providing a variety of recreational programs, BSCO plays a major role in helping the Big Sky community get outdoors.

BSCO staff and volunteers perform trail work around Big Sky on National Trails Day. PHOTO COURTESY OF BSCO

“We are truly honored and thrilled to be part of the Wildlands Music Festival,” said BSCO CEO Whitney Montgomery. “Benefiting from it financially allows us to do things like make sure we mark the Ousel Falls trail to keep it safe and add to our trail maintenance and even new trail construction.”

In addition to signage in Ousel Falls, Montgomery said festival funds will also be used to add signage to the Hummocks and Uplands trails as well as improve safety and maintenance of local trails.

The Gallatin River Task Force, a Big Sky nonprofit organization dedicated to river conservation, will be the third beneficiary of the festival. The task force works on a variety of river restoration projects to improve the health of the Gallatin River, conducts education programs, and monitors the health of the river, among other goals.

Kristin Gardner, executive director and scientific director of the task force, said her organization is delighted to be part of Wildlands and will use festival funds to support several projects.

Workgroup staff take samples at the Mid Fork of the West Fork of the Gallatin River to collect data on water chemistry and nutrient levels. PHOTO GABRIELLE GASSER

“Our top priorities over the next year are to advance projects that mitigate harmful algae growth,” Gardner said. “[as well as projects] that boost our community’s water supply, resilience, and our river access restoration projects that will reduce human impacts along the Gallatin Mainstream. »

Gardner added that the involvement of the wider Big Sky community in conservation work is critically important.

Megan Paulson, CEO of Outlaw Partners, hopes this event will inspire others to take action.

“We designed Wildlands to honor and give back to these important organizations in southwestern Montana so that others can be inspired to do the same,” Paulson said.

On stage Friday night, music legend Lukas Nelson & POTR will bring their country rock sound to the star-studded lineup. Nelson has appeared on Big Sky three more times and in 2018 won a Grammy for “Best Compilation Soundtrack” for his work on “A Star Is Born” with Lady Gaga.

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Jason Isbell has won four Grammy awards, including two for Best Americana Roots Song, “If We Were Vampires” and “24 Frames,” and two for Best American Album, “The Nashville Sound and “Something More Than Free”. .” Isbell and Unit 400 will complete Friday evening.

Grammy-winning duo Indigo Girls take to the stage Saturday night to perform songs from their new album, “Look Long,” as well as classics such as “Closer to Fine.” The Wildlands Festival will be an official stop on their “Look Long 2022” tour.

Rounding out the event, six-time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, performer and producer Brandi Carlile will headline the festival on Saturday night on a leg of her “Beyond These Silent Days” tour. Carlile previously took the stage at Big Sky in 2019 as part of the Peak to Sky music festival.

Tickets for the event are available at www.wildlandsfestival.com.

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