On a clear summer night in the Flathead Valley, you can see all sorts of stars dotting the night sky, constellations and pinpricks of light that seem so familiar yet so far away.
This July, the stars will come to the Flathead to shine on the stage, as Under The Big Sky, a music festival featuring a lineup of popular music acts such as Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Band of Horses, and Dwight Yoakam, makes its debut.
“[Our] only goal is to produce a festival experience that people will remember for a long time and hopefully something the community will be proud of,” Alastair Duncan, communication director for the festival, said.
Under The Big Sky announced the lineup for its July 13-14 event last week, boasting major acts for the festival’s inaugural event, which takes place at the Big Mountain Ranch outside of Whitefish.
The musical guests will explore the “traditional and contemporary takes on our country’s rich musical traditions” as the bands and musical acts play on two stages in a natural amphitheater.
Headlining the concert is Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, whose popular song “S.O.B.” took over radio stations in recent years, and Band of Horses, a Grammy-nominated group known for their powerful, thoughtful music.
Country music icon Dwight Yoakam will bring the twang and the honky-tonk earned over a multi-decade career selling more than 25 million records. Yoakam is also an actor, appearing in many movies and television shows over the years.
Elle King, whose single “Ex’s and Oh’s” went double platinum, will bring her own sense of firebrand rock and roll to the stage, as will indie-rocker Jenny Lewis, touting her latest album “On The Line.”
Texas rockers Jamestown Revival will be there, as will Grammy- and Oscar-winning musician Ryan Bingham, most recently known for his turn on the show “Yellowstone.” Lucius, a four-piece indie band from Brooklyn with a focus on perfect harmonies, will also play the show, along with country rocker Nikki Lane, Americana musician Amanda Shires, and outlaw country acts Whitey Morgan and Shooter Jennings.
Canadian Western folk star Corb Lund is on the schedule, along with Bones Owens, Justin Townes Earle, The Silent Comedy, Hogslop String Band, Charlie Overby, Mike Murray, Jameson and the Sordid Seeds, and Danny + Joy.
Duncan, with the festival, said the family who bought the Big Mountain Ranch knew they wanted an event like this taking place.
“When the Shockey family purchased the ranch from the Voerman family, it was always something of a possibility to do a music festival as well as community events and guest ranch,” Duncan said.
Duncan said that even though Under The Big Sky isn’t yet an established festival, it wasn’t too difficult to talk big-name acts into coming to Northwest Montana and playing a summer music festival just outside of Glacier National Park.
“Surprisingly many bands have their own love affair with Montana,” Duncan said. “The idea of playing a natural venue in such a beautiful part of the country was a fun pitch to bands. It also helps to have some great relationships in this business.”
Locally, Duncan said the festival has teamed up with restaurateur Pat Carloss to work with the catering team, and there will be local food vendors, breweries, spirits, and lodging partners as well.
“We also want to help support the local music scene. We will be doing some after parties at neighboring venues after 11 p.m. And hopefully we can get some of these bands up to SnowGhost studio to record a few tracks,” Duncan said.
Tickets to the concert are $99 for general admission and VIP tickets start at $250. Ticket sales start Feb. 19. For the most up-to-date information on the festival, visit the Outriders Present Instagram and Facebook pages, or check out www.UnderTheBigSkyFest.com.