Bynum is the place to be on Saturday, August 13 for the “Bynum (If You Got ‘Em)” music festival at JD’s Wildlife Sanctuary.
Hosted by Dawn Anderson of Butte and Izaak Opatz of Missoula in partnership with JD’s Wildlife Sanctuary owners Lisa White and Jonna Arnold, the music festival, now in its third year, will kick off at 4 p.m.
There is no charge but a $20 donation is suggested. A space around the tavern is available to camp for this family event.
Originally from Whitefish, Opatz is a “mountain man” who composed melodies in his head while working with a trail team in Glacier National Park. He then decided to take his music on the road, and had the opportunity to share the stage with artists such as Jackson Browne and James McMurty. Opatz takes a country style and peppers it with jazz and punk inflections to create a unique sound. He plays with a band from Los Angeles, California.
Anderson is the Music Director of KBMF Radio at Montana Tech in Butte and has friends in the Montana and area music scene. She was the longtime host of the Grassroots Show on KBGA-Missoula for a decade before moving to Butte about three years ago.
Several years ago, she and Opatz were having dinner at the Rose Room in Pendroy and came up with the idea of having a music festival in rural Montana. They selected Bynum and partnered with JD’s Wildlife Sanctuary to offer the first “Sub Rosa Weirdfest” concert in July 2019. They were unable to do the concert in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but were from back in 2021 and are happy to perform again in 2022.
This year’s lineup includes the Lucky Valentines, a husband and wife duo from Fort Benton; Prison Baby, a country music cover band from Butte; Opatz and his band; Nathan M. Godfrey and Mike Tod of Calgary, Alberta; Tift Merritt of Raleigh, NC, and Prison Baby musician Eric Haywood, playing pedal steel guitar; Austin Leonard Jones of Ojai, Calif., a low-fi pop and country musician who will play with Opatz’s band and released a new album in late July; and Junior, an all-girl group from Missoula featuring the talents of Caroline Keys, Hermina Jean and Jenny Lynn.
Anderson said the festival is an opportunity for musicians to learn more about rural Montana and for rural Montana to hear a wide variety of artists.
“It was just an effort to put Montana and especially rural Montana on the map and get artists thinking about coming to play in Montana,” Anderson said, adding that this concert will feature country music. , old songs, original and cover songs and more.
Godfrey and Tod, for example, form an acoustic folk duo reminiscent of the simpler times of cowboy songs around the fire, ragtime tempos and old Appalachian family ballads. They use a variety of instruments to create their retro sound, including resonator guitar, banjo, mandolin and “banjolin”.
Jones, who hails from Texas, just released “Dead Calm,” a nine-track album that “channels his eclectic talent into a soulful country groove,” according to a review on www.submithub.com.
Prison Baby will mainly play country western covers. This band is in the lineup in response to feedback from people who attended last year’s festival and wanted more country music, Anderson said.
She said she was glad the Lucky Valentines came from Fort Benton. They will attract family members from Choteau and Fairfield, and she is happy to be able to showcase musicians from that area.
The Lucky Valentines is made up of the duo Shaun and Jamie Carrier. They have been playing together for 11 years and released their second studio album, “Horses”, in 2020.
Their songs blend folk melodic sensibilities and taut harmonies. According to their website, Shaun sometimes uses a second-hand suitcase as a bass drum and Jamie’s dad’s shop rotary phone as a mic. Jamie mixes classical violin with folk passion.
They have performed hundreds of live shows together and have been featured on MTPR’s Musician Spotlight, Austin’s Iconic Hole in the Wall Cafe, the Red Ants Pants Music Festival side stage, and are expected to be one of the artists from PBS’s 11th and Grant. in its next season.
According to his website, performer Tift Merritt wanted to be a writer until his father taught him guitar chords and Percy Sledge songs. In her 20-year career, she has toured the world with her sound short stories and earned a reputation for charting her own path and establishing an interesting artistic table.
The New Yorker magazine calls her “the bearer of a proud country soul tradition that dates back to artists like Dusty Springfield and Bobbie Gentry.” Singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris calls it “a diamond in a coal mine”.
Merritt collects artist interviews about process and integrity on The Spark radio show for Carolina Performing Arts. A regular contributor to the Oxford American, she lives in North Carolina with her daughter Jean.
Anderson said the response to previous gigs has been overwhelmingly positive. “The support from Teton County has been tremendous and we appreciate it. JD’s girls are very easy to work with,” Anderson said.
JD’s will be serving food and beverages throughout the night of the festival. There are two sites available for tent camping at no additional cost. People are also free to bring motorhomes and motorhomes, but no hookups are available.
This year, Anderson said, organizers have hired a dedicated sound technician and stage manager who will help the concert run more smoothly.
Artist Somer Hahm of Fairbanks, Alaska designed the promotional poster for the third year. This year’s poster features a dinosaur piloting an old fashioned flying machine over Main Street in Bynum.
Anderson said last year, as they were preparing for the festival, someone flew over Bynum in a glider, just past the moon. This scene inspired this year’s poster.
Last year’s festival drew people from all over who would never have come to Bynum otherwise, Anderson said. They loved the Montana Dinosaur Center and the Rock Shop, she said. This year, concert-goers can also visit Big Sky Pottery, a new art studio on Main Street, just across the bar from the old Purkett’s grocery store. Fairfield artist Andy Watson opened the shop, which sells pottery, paintings, drinks and snacks.
Anderson said last year’s concert drew people from Missoula, Butte, Bozeman, Great Falls and other communities.
Arnold with JD’s Wildlife Sanctuary said the concert also attracted tourists who were traveling on US Highway 89 and saw all the vehicles parked at the bar and then stopped to investigate. “It’s exciting for one because most people don’t know where Bynum is,” she said last week. The other interesting thing is that tourists from California, Louisiana, Maryland and New York stopped by, she added.
“It’s just cool to meet new people, see new faces and see old faces too,” Arnold said, adding that some come every year the concert is offered.