Under The Big Sky Music Festival Announces 2020 Lineup

Jason Isbell, Emmylou Harris, The Head and the Heart among major national names to perform on July 18-19 in Whitefish

By Myers Reece
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Photo by Danny Clinch

After its inaugural event achieved rousing success, attracting 15,000 attendees each day of the weekend, the Under The Big Sky Music & Arts festival has announced the lineup for its second go-round scheduled on July 18-19, 2020 in Whitefish.

Festival organizers released the performer list and other details today, with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit headlining the lineup. The second headliner is Tyler Childers, with other national names appearing on the ticket, such as Emmylou Harris, The Head and the Heart, Colter Wall, Brothers Osborne, Shovels & Rope, Billy Strings, Jade Bird and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.

“Under The Big Sky will showcase the very best in Americana, folk, alt-country and rock across two beautiful stages in the heart of one of America’s most unspoiled and pristine regions of natural wilderness,” event organizers said in a Dec. 6 press release. “The festival pairs cutting edge emerging voices and talents with musical icons, creating a unique showcase for the diverse strains of American music today.”

The festival, founded by veteran event producer Johnny Shockey, will once again be held on Shockey’s picturesque 340-acre Big Mountain Ranch near Whitefish off Voerman Road. Shockey, through his production company Outriders Present, launched the festival last year following years of success producing his company’s own shows and co-producing others with Live Nation and AEG, the country’s two biggest music event promoters.

When the dates for the 2020 festival were released in September, Shockey expressed gratitude for the success of the inaugural event, which was held July 13-14.

“We want to thank everyone in the community for their support in making the 2019 Under The Big Sky festival such an amazing event,” Shockey said. “This is my home and our entire team worked really hard to make sure everything came together, and in the end we couldn’t be happier with how it all went. We’re looking forward to making 2020 an even better year.”

New this time around will be a camping option within 2 miles of the property with a shuttle service running to and from the festival site. A bike valet will also be available onsite. The event will again feature two performance stages.

Local music venues will again host post-festival events featuring artists from the festival. Event organizers say the festival will “also continue its commitment to championing local music talent,” featuring a number of local artists as it did last year.

Flathead-area groups scheduled to perform onstage are Snowghost, 20 Grand, Archertown, Nick Spear and Badger Hound. Other Montana groups are The Lil Smokies and Swagar and Company. Alberta’s Corb Lund and Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs will also perform.

Jason Isbell is an Alabama native who was formerly part of the Drive-By Truckers before launching a solo career and cementing himself as one of the most formidable and respected songwriters in the nation. He was won four Grammy Awards.

Tyler Childers is a Kentucky native who is emerging as a powerhouse songwriter in his own right. He is nominated for a Grammy in the upcoming 2020 awards and is currently touring with Sturgill Simpson.

Emmylou Harris is a folk and country legend who event organizers say “needs to introduction.” Harris has won 14 Grammies, including wins in each of the last five decades, and was presented last year with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Event organizers bill Head and the Heart from Seattle as “legitimate superstars.” The indie folk band has become a mainstay on radio stations across the country.

Lukas Nelson, the son of Willie Nelson, has released five studio albums with his band Promise of the Real and two more with Neil Young. He co-wrote and produced much of Oscar-winning soundtrack for the 2018 hit film “A Star is Born.”

Under The Big Sky is an all-ages event, with free entry for children under 6. Food and beverages will be a curated collaboration between notable Whitefish restaurateur Pat Carloss and Best Beverage Catering, which provides catering for Coachella, Stagecoach, BottleRock and many other major festivals. VIP experiences and seating will be offered, with a bespoke VIP food and beverage program.

Check in with www.underthebigskyfest.com and the event’s Facebook page for more details as the event approaches.