Moods of the Madison Preview

Pat Hill

The town of Ennis is launching a new music festival dubbed Moods of the Madison the third weekend of July, and with headliners like Buddy Guy and Grand Funk Railroad, this venture is likely to be a barnburner.

The festival will be held within walking distance (just under a mile) from town, just north of Madison Foods on the west side of Highway 287. It has been organized by Tate Chamberlin and Chamberlin Productions of Bozeman, in conjunction with community leaders in Ennis, who are hoping a successful debut festival will make Moods of the Madison an annual summer event. And so far, it’s looking good: by July 7, there was no hotel/motel lodging left available in the Ennis area on July 18 and 19, when the festival takes place.

“We’re so excited,” said Chris Gentry of Madison Foods, which is helping to sponsor the event. “We’re looking for a big crowd...and hoping to bring many of those folks into Ennis as well.”

Moods of the Madison kicks off at noon on Friday, July 18, when access opens to the festival grounds and vendors, and to the adjacent campgrounds. The music starts on the main stage at 5:30 with the folk/rock sounds of Hollow Wood, a six-piece Indie band out of Boise, Idaho. Another Indie folk-rock band out of Deland, Florida, Roadkill Ghost Choir, hits the main stage at 6:45. From 8:00-9:00 the instrumental band Toubab Krewe will make the Madison Valley echo with the sounds of both Africa and America, specifically the music of Mali with a twist of the Southern United States added in. And Friday night’s headliner, Grand Funk Railroad, hitting the main stage at 9:30, should prove to be “some kind of wonderful.”

Though the music doesn’t start on the main stage until Saturday afternoon, other on-site events like an obstacle course, a “kids’ zone,” and more, will be featured at the festival. And there’s lots to see and do in Ennis, including dining (I strongly recommend the jerky at Deemo’s Meat Shop), shopping, or just sightseeing in this great little mountain town.Event sponsor Madison Foods is sure to be busy with campers looking to beef up their breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, refill their coolers, and get some snacks (and they have killer jerky, too!). The nearby Madison River and Ennis Lake will be beckoning bathers, floaters and fisherfolk alike, and there’s also plenty of hiking and history in the area.

At 4:30 pm, Trap Door Project hits the main stage. This Missoula-based dance group combines electronic dance music and tap dancing for an energizing and innovative live show. They are followed at 5:15 by the Molotov Quintet, an acoustic flamenco group who blend jazz with hip-hop, Latin, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European folk music. At 6:00 Bozeman’s own Booze Hounds hit the main stage, belting out originals and covers with the best of them. The Booze Hounds will be joined onstage at Moods of the Madison by Tom Rhodes, a well-loved Bozeman rocker of John Colter Band fame. They will be followed up at 7:00 by another Bozeman band with a John Colter Band connection of sorts, Golden Grenade, a trio featuring the late Tex Tucker’s (another John Colter Band founder, and Bozeman singer-songwriter extraordinaire) son Dustin Tucker on guitar and vocals. At 8:15, Screen Door Porch will entertain the crowd with their Wyoming-inspired Americana music. Buddy Guy, with his legendary, award-winning blues sound, will hit the main stage about a quarter to ten, and rock the crowd until the end.

Don’t miss this debut event that seems certain to become an Ennis mainstay. General admission ticket prices range from $50-$75, and VIP tickets for Moods of the Madison, which include a fully furnished VIP lounge with complimentary beer and viewing platform, are $100. Tickets are available at Cactus Records in Bozeman, Madison Foods in Ennis, and Headframe Spirits in Butte. Camping located conveniently adjacent to the venue is $5 per person, and that price covers camping from 3:00 on Friday, July 18, to noon on Sunday, July 20. Vendors onsite at the festival will be offering food and beverages as well as arts and crafts, and access to the vendors and the kids zone will be open to the public free of charge all weekend.

For more information on Moods of the Madison, find online. Ennis is ready for a festival! Are you? See you on the Madison!

This was made by

Pat Hill

Pat Hill is a freelance writer in Bozeman. A native Montanan and former advisor to Montana State University’s Exponent newspaper, Pat has been writing about the history and politics of the Treasure State for nearly three decades.

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