Outdoor recreation business champion and former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will be the keynote speaker at the second annual Last Best Outdoors Fest, Friday, Aug. 31 in Livingston. Jewell served as the 51st United States Secretary of the Interior from 2013-’17 and was president and CEO of REI (Recreation Equipment, Inc.) from 2005-’13.
The theme of this year’s event is Women in the Outdoors, showcasing the important roles women play in Montana’s outdoor recreation economy and the conservation movement, and highlighting their part in advocating protection of public lands as an asset to doing business in Montana.
“I look forward to returning to Montana to be part of the important conversation about how our public lands and outdoor values drive the economy, especially in Big Sky Country,” Jewell said. “The Last Best Outdoors Fest is celebration of values that bring us together as Americans, and I’m excited to join women whose businesses are a key part of Montana’s outdoor recreation economy.”
Headlining the event is U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, who will discuss his legislation to protect the Paradise Valley, expand access to outdoor recreation, and preserve clean air and water. Jewell and Tester make their remarks at 5 p.m.
Last Best Outdoors Fest schedule
The festival kicks off with the “Women in the Outdoors” Panel Discussion at 3 p.m. in the Civic Center, moderated by Sen. Tester. Panel participants are:
- Rachel Anderson, CEO of Markouture
- Ali Knapp, president of Wisetail
- Kelly Ramirez, founder and chief growth officer of Prismatic Growth Marketing
- Melissa Alder, co-owner, Freewheel & Wheel
- Beth Sullivan, store manager, Dillon Patagonia
- Jessica Parker, operations director, Wheelie Creative
Action moves outdoors to Miles Park and bandshell from 4-8 p.m. for music by two female-led bands, vendors, food trucks and a beer garden featuring Montana-made brews.
Livingston-based band Little Jane and the Pistol Whips deliver their toe-tapping brand of Americana/country, featuring original songs by Ashly “Jane” Holland, at 4 p.m.
The Two Tracks, from Sheridan, Wyo., perform “well-crafted, assertive Americana” after the keynote talks by Jewell and Tester at 5 p.m. “There is just enough twang in their music to make it country, and just enough rock to make it interesting,” writes No Depression.
The event, sponsored by Business for Montana’s Outdoors, Montana Mountain Mamas, the National Wildlife Association’s Artemis sportswomen initiative and the Montana Wildlife Federation, is free and open to the public.
The second annual Last Best Outdoors Fest builds on the success of last year’s inaugural event in Columbia Falls, which celebrated the importance of the $7 billion-per-year outdoor recreation industry and the 70,000 jobs it brings to Montana. For more info, visit the website or Facebook.