Shinyribs, the musical project of Kevin Russell, is headlining the Bob Marshall Music Festival this weekend in Seeley Lake.
Russell, one of the lead singers of The Gourds, an Austin group that made Missoula a frequent stop, has found wide success with his new group, built off his big voice and boisterous stage presence, winning best band in Austin, Texas, which surely is a competitive title.
Chris Stout, festival co-organizer, said the four-year-old event has "had about the worst weather we could hope for, but despite that, we've had a great turnout," with about 3,000 people over three days.
The event originally started as a fundraiser for Seeley Lake Elementary School's outdoors program. It's changed hands several times, said Stout, the superintendent and principal, since it's "out of the elementary school's realm to put on a music festival."
This year's organizing group is Lewis & Clark Brewing Co. in Helena, and it's more of a community event than anything else, he said. If there are any proceeds, they'll still go to the outdoors program.
In general, the Bob is geared toward a family-friendly atmosphere, including the line-up of 17 bands, which leans toward Americana and roots music. (No acts drop profanity.)
Besides Shinyribs (who play on Saturday), you can hear Kevin Galloway of Uncle Lucius, who describes his music as "Gulf Coast country soul," or John Roberts y Pan Blanco, led by a southeastern Montana native with pro experience in Los Angeles. Other regulars to the area include the Black Lillies and the Tony Furtado Band. The locals include Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs, Hawthorne Roots and the Dodgy Mountain Men.
In 2017, the festival was held just about a week before the Rice Ridge fire began burning, and so they've since moved it from mid-July to late June. The festival's unique offering, a 50K race series, was held last weekend, since Stout said the logistics of doing a festival and a large run were too tricky to pull off while doing a good job at both. (About 100 people showed up for the races.)
Festival-goers this weekend can still hit the lake for yoga, or take part in other bike and foot races. The festival grounds, just south of Cory's Valley Market, are hard to miss. "If you can miss it, might want to keep going," he said. The property has space for thousands of campers to stretch out for games of cornhole, badminton, hula hoops or more, plus a tiny creek that's big enough for cooling off but not so big that anyone could get swept away, he said.
The festival grounds themselves will have food and beer available for purchase.
The full music schedule, with and line-up are at thebobmusic.com. If anyone needs more information, they can reach Stout at 406-396-5880.