Miles City Bluegrass Fest turns 25

Bluegrass festival brings top-notch players to central Montana Sept. 15-17

On Stage

The annual Miles City Bluegrass Festival celebrates 25 years with a world-class lineup Sept. 15-17 at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds in Miles City.

Rick Faris brings original songs and award-winning licks to Miles City.
Rick Faris brings original songs and award-winning licks to Miles City.Photo © Molly Harmon

One of the Montana’s best-loved bluegrass festivals features main-stage performances  by The Special Consensus, The Edgar Loudermilk Band and Rick Faris. Joining the lineup are High Plains Tradition, The Woodpicks, and Montana’s own Lochwood Bluegrass Band. All bands perform multiple times throughout the weekend.

The Special Consensus has achieved a contemporary sound in their four decades of performing, making their music a modern classic. Band leader and founder Greg Cahill is a recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and was inducted into the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) Hall of Greats. Special Consensus has released 20 band recordings and received six awards from the IBMA and two Grammy nominations.

Compass Records released Great Blue North in May of 2023. The band has been touring in Canada for nearly four decades and this recording was made as a tip of the hat to all the friends and fans made throughout the country over so many years. All songs featured on the recording were written by Canadian writers and numerous Canadian musician friends of the band made guest appearances. The Gordon Lightfoot song “Alberta Bound” received an IBMA nomination for Collaborative Recording of the Year.

The Edgar Loudermilk Band currently includes Edgar Loudermilk (upright bass/lead & harmony vocals), Zack Autry (mandolin/lead & harmony vocals), Jamey Pittman (guitar/harmony vocals), Anthony Howell (banjo/harmony vocals). “Take a one of a kind voice, a commanding stage presence, and a killer songwriter who can conjure up the long lonesome feeling of bluegrass music with a stealth and hearty vocal like no other.”  – Bill Barnett, Saltymoss Media

Rick Faris spent 11 years with the globetrotting Special Consensus before launching a solo career. Under Greg Cahill he says he learned the meaning of professionalism and giving back to the Bluegrass community. “The Next Mountain,” released in November of 2021 has been on the charts since the release of the first single of Deep River which debuted at no. 2 on the Bluegrass Today charts and then went to no. 1 the following week.

He was also named the “New Artist of the Year” award at the 2022 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Awards ceremony last September.

Miles City Bluegrass Festival fans are encouraged to bring instruments and join in during an open stage, 6 p.m. Friday and after-hours open jams Friday and Saturday; and learn some tips and tricks from a band member at the Sunday morning workshop. The instrument raffle winner will be drawn on Sunday.

Tickets are $10-$30 per day or $50 for a weekend pass for adults, $5-$15 per day or $25 for a weekend pass for students, and free for kids 12 and younger.

Tickets are available at the door and at the Miles City Chamber of Commerce at 511 Pleasant St. in Miles City.

Call 406-234-2890 or visit for information.

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