Bozeman businesses weigh pros, cons of Music on Main


BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Downtown Bozeman Association wants to know what Main Street shops and restaurants think of Music on Main after a business reportedly complained of problems from the event. Music on Main happens every Thursday throughout the summer. The city closes off several Main Street blocks, opening them to musicians, food vendors and activity booths. For a couple hours people can walk around with alcohol in the street. Last month NBC Montana reported how Bozeman police said the event led to more problems for them. They reported dealing with an increase in crimes like vandalism and drunk driving after Music on Main ended. Now the Downtown Bozeman Association wants to see if businesses are also dealing with more issues.

Monte Hauer owns the Chocolate Moose on Main Street and is a big fan of Music on Main. "We love it," said Haurer. He said his revenue nearly doubles on event nights, compared to a typical summer evening. "We stay open late, until 9 p.m. to take care of the demand. We just think it's a really great thing for downtown," he said. Tuesday it was quiet on Main Street but on Thursdays in the summer it's jam-packed. That helps the bottom line for most businesses, but it's a trade off for others. The more people there are, there can also be more problems. Josh Bilges is the Assistant Manager at the Eagle, a local bar on Main Street. He said the problems start when people begin drinking early during downtown events like Music on Main and stay downtown longer than normal. Bilges also said they see fights break out and deal with people who are drinking too much. "We typically deal with turning away over-intoxicated patrons," said Bilges. "We have to cut people off." He said the issues don't outweigh the benefits. "We don't have any extraordinary incidents that we don't normally have when we're packed and full in here," he said. Like with the Chocolate Moose, Music on Main is a big money maker for the Eagle, Bilges said. On average, its profits double. That is important for their bottom line during the summer, when Bilges said revenue drops by 40 percent. "It really does help out our numbers," said bilges. At the Chocolate Moose, Hauer said while they know there are some problems that exist, Music on Main is a great event and worth it for his business. "I'm sure there's a candy bar or two that walks out of here when we're super busy and can't keep an eye on things, but for the most part it's just a really good thing for our business," Hauer said. The Downtown Bozeman Association survey about Music on Main is still open for feedback.

They will hold a meeting for downtown establishments to discuss the topic August 27. The association said they plan to talk about the survey findings and the future of Music on Main.