Libby CARD Center Hosts Second Annual Big Sky Bash

By Beacon Staff

Megan Wedel of the Spokane-based band Troubadour said nerves will be high when she takes the stage at the Second Annual Big Sky Bash in Libby on July 14. And that’s to be expected when you’re playing before your hometown for the first time ever.

But she’s also eager to help raise funds for a good cause, the Center for Asbestos Related Diseases, and the summer concert hosted at the J. Neils Park is quickly becoming the CARD Foundation’s most popular event. Last year the concert attracted 2,500 people and raised $25,000, foundation development officer Betty Jo Wood said. The Grammy-winning Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Copper Mountain Band headlined the 2011 event.

“We were pretty thrilled considering it was our first run,” Wood said. “Everyone we talked to had a great time last year. It was a blast.”

This year country band Sawyer Brown will headline the event, with Troubadour opening. Wood said the foundation picked the headliner because it would provide a mix of rock and country and is a good fit for the town. Based in Florida, the band has been active since 1981 and has won numerous country music awards.

For Wedel, it will be a bit of a homecoming. The 22-year-old Washington State University student is from Libby and has friends and family who still live there. She said being able to raise money for the CARD Center, which helps treat local residents with cancer from the vermiculite asbestos that was once mined near town, was one of the reasons Troubadour decided to play the event. But it also gives the band a chance to play at its largest venue ever. The band has a few original songs, but also covers everything from the Beatles to Fleet Foxes.

“It’s pretty exciting and it’ll be nice to expand our performance scale and get our name out there,” she said. “It’ll be fun. It’s a little nerve racking, but it’ll be fun.”

Organizers are hoping for an even larger turnout this year and Wood said last year’s performance set the bar high. She also said the benefits of bringing a big-name band to town went beyond raising money for the foundation.

“Our goal is to obviously raise funds for CARD, but the (concert) also brings people to Libby and that helps the local economy,” she said. “It also gives us a chance to inform the public and visitors about what CARD does.”

Tickets for the July 14 show are $25 in advance and $30 at the gate and can be purchased at various locations in Libby and at Western Outdoor in Kalispell. Tickets can also be purchased online at donatecardfoundation.org. All proceeds go to the CARD Foundation and the show starts at 8 p.m.

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