The following is a release from George Everett of Mainstreet Uptown Butte

BUTTE, MT – The Montana Folk Festival today announced the first seven performers coming to the 2024 Montana Folk Festival in Butte, Montana, July 12, 13 and 14.

Admission is free to all performances during the three days of the festival, although organizers urge attendees to "Kick In" a contribution of $25 per person and $35 for a family to sustain the festival this year and for years to come.  For any supporter who doesn't want to wait until July to kick in a donation, they can send contributions by mail to Montana Folk Festival, P.O. Box 696, Butte, MT  59703 or contribute online at

This year, more than 20 performer groups representing a diversity of musical and cultural traditions will perform on the festival's six stages in Uptown Butte.  "This will be the 12th year of the Montana Folk Festival in Butte,” says Festival Director George Everett, "after the first three years as the National Folk Festival in Montana from 2008-2010."

“Everyone planning to attend, no matter how well they think they know this festival, should come expecting to be amazed. This first set of performers only represents one third of those who will be performing.  We're just getting warmed up, so check our Facebook page -- mtfolkfest for the latest developments."

Here then are the first seven performers confirmed for the 2024 Montana Folk Festival:

Jerry Douglas BandBluegrassNashville, TN,


 Dobro master and 16-time GRAMMY winner Jerry Douglas is to the resonator guitar what Jimi Hendrix was to the electric guitar, elevating, transforming, and reinventing the instrument in countless ways. Additionally, Douglas is a freewheeling, forward-thinking recording and touring artist whose output incorporates elements of country, bluegrass, rock, jazz, blues, and Celtic into his distinctive musical vision.

Called “Dobro’s matchless contemporary master” by The New York Times, three-time CMA Musician of the Year award recipient Jerry Douglas is one of the most innovative recording artists in music as a solo artist, band leader for The Jerry Douglas Band and his GRAMMY winning bluegrass band The Earls of Leicester, as well as a member of groundbreaking ensembles including Alison Krauss & Union Station, J.D. Crowe & the New South, The Country Gentlemen, Boone Creek, and Strength In Numbers. His distinctive sound graces more than 1500 albums with artists such as Garth Brooks, George Jones, Paul Simon, Little Big Town, James Taylor, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Earl Scruggs, Ray Charles, Dierks Bentley, Sierra Ferrell, Tommy Emmanuel, and many others.

in addition to touring, Douglas has co-produced and performed on a series of platinum albums. He has produced albums for Alison Krauss, The Del McCoury Band, Maura O’Connell, The Whites, Steep Canyon Rangers, John Hiatt, and recently Molly Tuttle. He is co-music director of the acclaimed BBC Scotland TV series Transatlantic Sessions. In 2004, Douglas was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts with an American Heritage Fellowship, and he served as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Artist In Residence” in 2008.

As Jerry Douglas continues his incalculable influence on country, Americana, bluegrass and their many related genres, he forges ahead as a true pioneer in American music.

 Los Texmaniacs - Texas Conjunto - San Antonio, TX

Max Baca and Los Texmaniacs are the Past, Present, And Future of Conjunto Music. Conjunto music may be a familiar sound to residents of Texas, but its worldwide appeal can be surprising. Combine a hefty helping of Tex-Mex conjunto, simmer with several parts Texas rock, and add a daring dash of well-cured blues and R&B riffs, and you’ve cooked up the tasty Grammy-winning LosTexmaniacs groove. Max Baca is a legend on the bajo sexto, a twelve-string guitar-like instrument, and his nephew, Josh Baca, is fast attaining legendary status on the accordion, with those two instruments creating the core of the lively conjunto sound.

Los Texmaniacs are the new worldwide kings of Texas Roots music, feeding the masses with only the best in musical fare, cooked up from a wide-ranging experience touring and recording with Flaco Jimenez of Texas Tornados fame, Los Super Seven, and even the Rolling Stones. While Max Baca has participated in eleven Grammy-winning projects, the band themselves won their first Grammy in 2010 and a nomination for their last Smithsonian Folkways recording in 2019, Borders y Bailes - featuring Lyle Lovett and Rick Trevino.

Their newest release, Corazones and Canciones, is a 15-song collection of generation-spanning Mexican-American classics from all over the US (Los Canciones), the album celebrates the love, joy, and the ineffable feeling that music can evoke, while simultaneously shining a light on the importance of Mexican-American music within the overall American Roots tradition. This music makes clear that Mexican-American music is American music with life-affirming energy and passion. Ranging in sound from dancehall and conjunto polka-beats to romantic Tejano guitar (all accented by La Marisoul’s booming, soulful vocals, and Los Texmaniacs’ exuberant playing), each song was chosen for its heart, emotional potential, and ability to connect people across age, place, and time (Los Corazones). Whether playing an intimate house concert or as an acoustic trio to rocking stage/theater/street dances the band always entertains and educates. This music is not a dusty museum relic, but a vital heartbeat for a group of folks who genuinely have one foot on either side of the border.

El Laborintino del CocoBomba Fusion - New York, NY 

Hector “Coco” Barez joined Bio Ritmo on congas in 2010. Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico in 1976, he is one of the most active musicians of the new wave of young Puerto Rican percussionists today.

Coco began his musical career in 1998 performing with many different Puerto Rican folkloric groups including the Official Puerto Rican National Folkloric Ballet’ Areyto.

He attended classes at The Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico, the LA Music Academy and The Interamerican University of Puerto Rico but attributes his highest education to the streets of San Juan. There he had the opportunity to learn and work with such notable percussionist as Javier Oquendo, Efrain Toro, Héctor Calderón, Felipe del Valle, Victor Emmanuelli, Raul Rodriguez and Luis Vélez.

Coco was a founding member and toured seven years with the highly popular and award winning alternative Latin band Calle 13. While working with Calle 13 he toured the world playing sold out stadium shows throughout Latin America and Europe. The band was also awarded numerous grammies and featured on MTV Latino.

Coco has had the opportunity to record, collaborate and perform with a wide variety of Latin and World music artist including Ruben Blades, William Cepeda (Puerto Rcian Folk Jazz), Tego calderon (Hip-Hop), Jossette Reilly (Flamenco), Furia Flamenca, and Femi Kuti (Afro-Beat) to name a few. He has been involved with the production of various Puerto Rican music documentaries and is also sponsored by numerous drum manufactures companies including Vic Firth, Remo, LP, Paiste Cymbals and Factory Metal.

Sheryl Cormier  - Cajun Accordion - Carencro. LA

Accordionist and vocalist, Sheryl Cormier (b. Sheryl Guidreau) is among the first ladies to break with the sexist limitations of Louisiana’s Cajun music. A previous leader of the all-woman Cajun music group, Cormier happens to be the first choice of Cajun Seems, a group that has Isaac Miller, Jr. (metal acoustic guitar, vocals), Ben Goodwin (drums), Ivy Dugas (bass) and Travis Matte (fiddle). The oldest of four kids, Cormier was raised encircled by Cajun music. Her dad was the first choice from the Sunset Playboys, a music group that included her mom on drums.

Understanding how to play the Cajun accordion at age seven, Cormier performed with her parents’ group throughout her teenagers. Although she remaining the music group when she got wedded, she continued to try out occasionally using the group in addition to with other related bands. Like a bandleader, Cormier put together an organization that presented her spouse, Russell, on vocals and child Russell, Jr. on drums, and documented an recording, Queen of Cajun Music (La Reine de Musique Cadjine), in 1990. Cormier’s second recording, Sheryl Cormier and Cajun Seems, , was released 2 years  later on and was documented with her present music group.

Le Vent du NordQuebecois -Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada


The award winning and highly acclaimed band Le Vent du Nord are a leading force in Québec’s exciting and progressive Francophone folk movement. The group’s vast repertoire draws from both traditional sources and original compositions, while their highly rhythmic and soulful music, rooted in the Celtic diaspora, is enhanced with a broad range of global influences.

Since first launching in August 2002, Le Vent du Nord have enjoyed meteoric success, performing well over 2,200 concerts over 4 continents, released 12 albums and racking up several prestigious awards, including a Songlines Music Awards – Americas (2023) a Grand Prix du Disque Charles Cros, two Junos (Canada’s Grammys), three Félix (Quebec), an OPUS (Quebec) a Canadian Folk Music Award, and “Artist of the Year” at Folk Alliance Annual Gala.

The group regularly appear on Canadian, American, French, and UK television and radio and have participated in a wide variety of special musical projects that exhibit their great finesse and flexibility. They’ve collaborated and performed with a diverse range of artists including: Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, Harry Manx, Väsen (SE), Dervish, The Chieftains, Breton musical pioneer Yann-Fañch Kemener, Québécois roots legend and master storyteller Michel Faubert, the Scottish folk band Breabach, and the trans-Mediterranean ensemble Constantinople. Not to mention all traditional Quebec bands they invite on stage on their annual  La Veillée de l’avant-Veille (music & dance party downtown Montreal).

Le Vent du Nord look beyond the standard approaches to tradition in their collaborations and they’ve also created a symphonic concert that, according to Voir Montreal, “puts all traditional folk naysayers to shame.”

On stage these five friends [Nicolas Boulerice, André Brunet, Réjean Brunet, Olivier Demers, and André Gagné replacing Simon Beaudry in march 2024] create intense, joyful and dynamic live performances that expand the bounds of tradition in striking global directions. This is the modern sound of tradition, a music of the here and now.

Fran Grace -Gospel - Toledo, OH

Fran “Lady Strings” Grace is among a small sisterhood of women trailblazers playing sacred steel guitar in African American Holiness-Pentecostal worship services. A masterful lap-steel guitarist, she leads a powerhouse family band specializing in the ecstatic, steel-guitar-driven gospel music she grew up with in church.

Sacred steel originated in the 1930s when brothers Troman and Willie Eason of Philadelphia, enamored of the Hawaiian lap-steel guitar, introduced electric steel guitar into House of God churches. Named for the metal bar slid over the guitar strings, the music is characterized by single-note melodies that mimic African American vocal styles. Distinct approaches emerged in two branches of the House of God, known as the Keith and Jewell Dominions. The Jewell Dominion style—in which Fran Grace was raised—is attributed to Bishop Lorenzo Harrison, and features chord changes, wah pedals, and uniquely tuned double and triple strings that imitate an organ. In both traditions, sacred steel music can take lead or provide accompaniment, but most importantly, it helps inspire and elevate the congregation to become filled with the Holy Spirit.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Fran Grace came up in the State Line Church of the Living God, a tiny church pastored by her grandmother, Bishop Ella Mae Dupree. A resilient woman, Bishop Dupree survived an accident that left her with one arm, but this didn’t stop her from marking the rhythm for her church services on an old bass drum. Fran remembers Dupree praying for her grandchildren to grow up and become her church band—and that’s exactly what happened. As a child, her older brother insisted that she start sitting in on piano with church bands to develop her confidence. With support from her parents, Fran taught herself to play multiple instruments, eventually focusing on lap steel. After decades spent mastering it and earning her community’s respect, in 2019 Fran was declared a Queen of Sacred Steel by the Sacred Steel Hall of Fame.

Fred Thomas
R&B/Funk - New York, NY

Fred Thomas grew up in Georgia.  He moved to New York City in 1965 and co-founded his own band with guitarist Hearlon "Cheese" Martin. He was the bassist as well as the lead vocalist of the group.

In 1971 James Brown saw the band at Smalls Paradise club in Harlem. Brown was in search of new musicians for his own band. He did an impromptu performance with the band and decided to hire the whole group. Thomas said his band used to cover Brown's songs and that joining Brown was a smooth transition for them. He recorded on Brown's releases during 1970s. The first album titled Hot Pants was in 1971. He also recorded on releases by the J.B.s. Many of these recordings were later sampled by Hip Hop artists, such as Pass the peas", "Gimme Some more", and "Escape-ism".

Fred Thomas occupies a very special niche in the history R&B. As James Brown’s principal bassist since 1971, he participated in one the most prolific periods in the Godfather of Soul’s incredible career as a member of Brown’s band, the J.B.'s. He can be heard on such hits as “Hot Pants,” “Papa Don’t Take No Mess,” “Make it Funky,” "Get on the Good Foot," "Doin' it to Death," and instrumentals like “Pass the Peas”, “Gimme Some More” and others. He's on seminal albums like "Revolution of the Mind: Recorded Live at the Apollo, Vol. III," and can be seen in many film and TV performances, including "Live in Zaire" and all the Soul Train appearances.


For details about the Montana Folk Festival, visit or on Facebook at mtfolkfest.  The Montana Folk Festival in Butte, Montana is produced by Mainstreet Uptown Butte with major partnership and support from Butte-Silver Bow County and the Imagine Butte Collaborative in cooperation with the BSB Tourism Business Improvement District.  Artistic programming services are provided by the National Council for the Traditional Arts.

Butte's Ghost Signs Part 1

Uptown Butte was once one of the largest urban centers in the Northwest and the bustling heart of a thriving Mining City. Here is the first in a series of some of the ghost signs you can see Uptown that have survived through the decades.

Gallery Credit: Gallery Credit: Tommy O/Townsquare Media

"Ghost Signs" of Uptown Butte Part 2

Gallery Credit: Gallery Credit: Tommy O/Townsquare Media

Food and Restaurants you will only find in Butte, MT Part 2

Gallery Credit: Gallery Credit: Tommy O/Townsquare Media

More From 95.5 KMBR