Big Sky Big Grass: Music in the mountains

Big names in bluegrass perform at Big Sky Resort Feb. 9-12

New & Notable

Big Sky Resort is hosting its 11th annual Big Sky Big Grass festival Feb. 9-12. Grammy-Award winner Sam Bush, the Travelin’ McCourys, Billy Strings, Sierra Hull, the Drew Emmitt Band, and many more take turns on stage.

The four-day festival includes a mix of small-stage and large-venue shows at the Montana Jack, Chet’s Lounge, the Carabiner and the Missouri Ballroom, with most of the shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Big Sky Big Grass
Big Sky Big Grass performers include some of the top names in bluegrassPhoto © Frank Douglas

Mandolin-extraordinaire Bush is often credited as the father of “Newgrass,” a bluegrass style that electrifies common bluegrass instruments. Critics say his latest album, Storyman – his first solo studio project since 2009 – “gives fans a reason to get excited.”

Billy Strings delivers an unlikely pairing of punk and bluegrass. Take his popular song, “Dust in a Baggie” – a cleverly written tune about a destructive substance that he translates into bluegrass vernacular.

Revered as one of the most energetic and innovative mandolin players on the jamband/newgrass scene today, Drew Emmitt’s talents don’t end with the instruments that he picks. His storytelling and versatile vocal abilities are incomparable.

Sierra Hull has been recognized from age 11 as a virtuoso mandolin player, astonishing audiences and fellow musicians alike. Now a seasoned touring musician nearing her mid-20s, Hull has delivered her most inspired, accomplished and mature work to date with Weighted Mind, produced by Bela Fleck and nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award.

The Travelin’ McCourys can’t stand still. The band is on the road – and online — entertaining audiences with live shows that include some of the best musicians and singers from all genres.

The Colorado-based Jeff Austin Band has played the stages of the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco and Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. But with the launch of his solo career in 2014, Austin is now building on the foundation of previous ventures while honing his own sound.

Other performers include Darol Anger and the Furies, The Good Time Travelers, Tyler Grant, the Gallatin Grass Project and the Two Bit Franks.

A Live Big package offers the biggest discounts on lodging and tickets: three nights in the Huntley Lodge, two three-day ballroom passes for two adults, two free t-shirts and a free Big Grass poster. For tickets and details, call 800-548-4486 or visit