Montana Folk Festival 2018 kicks off Friday

BUTTE- The Montana Folk Festival is back and kicks off Friday night.

The festival is spread out through Uptown and business owners say the weekend is an economic boom for Butte.

Organizers say about 100,000 people are expected to attend this year's three day festival, with a lineup of performers - and attendees - from around the globe.

Jon Wick, owner of 5518 Designs called the festival "Christmas in July."

Uptown was bustling with activity Thursday afternoon in preparation for Friday night. Stores like 5518 and Butte Stuff have their limited edition festival merchandise on the showroom floor and owners say the merchandise is selling fast.

North 46 owner Casey McConnell says she is anticipating a packed weekend.

"It's our busiest weekend of the year," she says. "This will be our second Folk Festival being open in full with our restaurant and having our liquor."

North 46 celebrated their first Folk Fest last year, and they were so busy they ran out of food. McConnell says mastering the festival is a learning experience. "The restaurant is at full capacity of everything we could possibly put in here to prepare for you guys. We also cater a bar in from Macs Tavern."

Volunteers were busy setting up stages and blocking off streets in preparation for the concerts. Ted Ackerman the owner of the Miner's Hotel says all 12 of his rooms were booked out for this weekend, back in 2018, a full year in advance.

"This will be our fourth year with the hotel and Butte Stuff being open for the Folk Festival and it has seemed like it’s been growing each year and it’s been great," said Ackerman.

This year the Hotel has something new. Their speakeasy Fifty One Below is open for business and Ackerman says they're stocked up and ready to go for the weekend. "We're anticipating a lot of people coming in and checking us out. We're air conditioned so it should be really fun and we're anticipating a hot weekend."

The festival grounds will open Friday at 5 PM with an opening ceremony at the Original Stage at 6:30 PM.

For the full schedule of performances click here.

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