Montana Folk Festival performers prepare to take the stage
BUTTE, Mont. - The first acts are warming up, getting ready to take the stage welcome thousands of people to Butte for the 2014 Montana Folk Festival. The Montana Folk Festival is the first of three major summer festivals that bring thousands of people and millions of dollars to Butte. According to festival organizers, the 2013 Montana Folk Festival contributed $8 million to the immediate Butte area. Every dollar spent on stages, signs and performers, the festival makes $25. This weekend, as many as 175 thousand people are expected in Uptown, spending money that Chief Executive Matt Vincent said has a major impact on the economy. "Part of their economic impact is putting donations into the bucket so we can do this year after year," said Vincent. "But the money that they spend at our local hotels, stores, gas stations, restaurants, again, it's just enormously positive." More than twenty bands will play across seven different venues with many performers arriving today. The Stooges Brass Band arrived in Butte Friday afternoon. They traveled 2000 miles, all the way from Louisiana and are warming up. "We're always excited to perform," said Performer John Perkins. "And then we're performing in a new place this is our first time performing here so we'll definitely bring the funk to you guys." This is John Perkins and Dwayne Finnie's first time in Butte, they said locals have already shared a little of history. "The pit," said Perkins. "And the gold mines," said Finnie. "And the fact that when I sweat it evaporates right on the spot," added Perkins. One thing they already love, the Butte people. "When performers come here, they're so amazed by Butte and by the hospitality," said volunteer Noorjahan Parwana. Volunteers like Parwana are checking in all new performers this year, 21 in all. "They're just such wonderful people," she said. "And it's really exciting to meet them and they'll all meet each other and they'll jam." Vanessa Sanchez is part of a mariachi band. She said Butte wasn't a place she thought she'd perform. "They told me about it and my first well what's in Montana?" she said. "And I started doing research and I decided okay, okay I'm excited." She said she's excited to be bringing something new to the Mining City. "They really haven't brought out this genre to the festival and so we're very excited to be representing the genre," said Sanchez. Visitors to this year's festival will see a wide variety of music, from blues, to mountain ballads to western swing. "Once you hear it you'll be dancing," said Perkins. During the opening ceremony tonight Chief Executive Matt Vincent will announce national awards for two Butte parks.