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Summer concert season kicks off at Kettlehouse Amphitheater

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MISSOULA - One of the first concerts of the summer season kicks off Thursday night at Kettlehouse Amphitheater.

Bon Iver is taking the stage in front of a sold-out crowd.

We visited the amphitheater earlier during preparations for the show, which is just one of the dozens of big acts helping turn Missoula into a music hub.

The amphitheater was buzzing with activity Thursday ahead of the sold-out Bon Iver concert. From the newly expanded kitchen to the stage, people were preparing for around 4,000 audience members to pack the seats.

Several other big names are set to follow, including Jason Isbell, Blondie, Sheryl Crow and Nathaniel Rateliff, to name a few.

Kettlehouse Amphitheater is hosting 18 concerts in its second year of operation, after hosting six in its first year.

Tripling the number of shows is a feel-good moment for Nick Checota, owner of Logjam Presents, the concert promotion company that's working to bring big names to Big Sky County.

"We're starting to get that reputation nationally as a kind of destination town to see music," Checota says.

The proof could be in the ticket sales - Checota says at least 20 percent of people who bought concert tickets online are from at least 250 miles from Missoula.

As result, the concertgoers could be giving Missoula an economic boost.

"All of those people go downtown, they eat at the restaurants downtown, they maybe grab a drink downtown," he says. "So you have a lot of activity downtown before the shows."

It's not just concerts at the Kettlehouse Amphitheater bringing in crowds. Pearl Jam will play Washington-Grizzly Stadium in August, and country star Luke Bryan is set to take the stage at Big Sky Brewing's amphitheater in September.

"All of a sudden, Missoula is really getting put on the map as a music town and particularly for a town our size."

Kettlehouse Amphitheater is also running a shuttle service from the Top Hat to Bonner to help get people there safely.

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