Festival donations will help music students, veterans

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Even Stevens performs at the backyard of Sam’s Tap Room during the Red Lodge Songwriter Festival in June.

Thanks to the success of this summer’s second annual Red Lodge Songwriter Festival, organizers of the festival recently donated $8,500 to the Red Lodge Public Schools Music Department.

Festival co-founder and director Mike Booth said in a press release that the directors of the festival also donated $1,500 to Operation Second Chance, which helps heal wounded veterans through outdoor recreation. 

The three-day festival brought some of the best songwriters from Montana, Wyoming and Nashville to Red Lodge in June to share their stories and sing their songs.

Participating songwriters this year included Even Stevens, a member of the Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame, along with Kostas, Tony Lane, James Dean Hicks and Brice Long. Attendance was twice that of the inaugural event in 2016, Booth said.

The event included sold-out shows at the Backroom of the Red Lodge Pizza Company and the Roman Theater, and more than 350 fans listened to the Nashville songwriters in the backyard of Sam’s Tap Room. The Montana and Wyoming songwriters performed 11 standing-room only shows in Red Lodge pubs and restaurants, including an after-hours jam session at the Snag.

The festival is organized so that the costs to produce the event are paid through sponsorships and private donations.

“The business people and individuals who financially support our event are the real stars,” Booth said in the release.

The Red Lodge Songwriter Festival is a nonprofit whose mission is “to provide opportunities for people to learn, grow and heal through music and songwriting.” Its programs include songwriting festivals, songwriting classes, concerts and music classes. The third annual event is scheduled for June 21-23, 2018.

“Based on the success and growth trajectory over the last two years, we anticipate larger crowds and more songwriters than ever before at next year’s event,” Booth said. “We plan to turn that success into more donations like this one.”

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